William Holden

Highest Rated: 100% Executive Suite (1954)
Birthday: Apr 17, 1918
Birthplace: O'Fallon, Illinois, USA
The son of a chemical analyst, American actor William Holden plunged into high school and junior college sports activities as a means of "proving himself" to his demanding father. Nonetheless, Holden's forte would be in what he'd always consider a "sissy" profession: acting. Spotted by a talent scout during a stage production at Pasadena Junior College, Holden was signed by both Paramount and Columbia, who would share his contract for the next two decades. After one bit role, Holden was thrust into the demanding leading part of boxer Joe Bonaparte in Golden Boy (1939). He was so green and nervous that Columbia considered replacing him, but co-star Barbara Stanwyck took it upon herself to coach the young actor and build up his confidence -- a selfless act for which Holden would be grateful until the day he died. After serving as a lieutenant in the Army's special services unit, Holden returned to films, mostly in light, inconsequential roles. Director Billy Wilder changed all that by casting him as Joe Gillis, an embittered failed screenwriter and "kept man" of Gloria Swanson in the Hollywood-bashing classic Sunset Boulevard (1950). Wilder also directed Holden in the role of the cynical, conniving, but ultimately heroic American POW Sefton in Stalag 17 (1953), for which the actor won an Oscar. Holden became a man of the world, as it were, when he moved to Switzerland to avoid heavy taxation on his earnings; while traversing the globe, he developed an interest in African wildlife preservation, spending much of his off-camera time campaigning and raising funds for the humane treatment of animals. Free to be selective in his film roles in the '60s and '70s, Holden evinced an erratic sensibility: For every Counterfeit Traitor (1962) and Network (1976), there would be a walk-through part in The Towering Inferno (1974) or Ashanti (1978). His final film role was in S.O.B. (1981), which, like Sunset Boulevard, was a searing and satirical indictment of Hollywood. But times had changed, and one of the comic highlights of S.O.B. was of a drunken film executive urinating on the floor of an undertaker's parlor. Holden's death in 1981 was the result of blood loss from a fall he suffered while alone.

Photos

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

CREDIT
86% S.O.B. Tim Culley $14.9M 1981
No Score Yet The Earthling Patrick Foley 1980
0% When Time Ran Out Shelby Gilmore 1980
No Score Yet Ashanti Jim Sandell 1979
No Score Yet Escape to Athena Prisoner 1979
73% Fedora Barry Detweiler 1978
41% Damien---Omen II Richard Thorn 1978
92% Network Max Schumacher 1976
No Score Yet 21 Horas en Munich Chief of Police Manfred Schreiber 1976
71% The Towering Inferno Jim Duncan 1974
No Score Yet Breezy Frank Harmon 1973
No Score Yet The Revengers Actor 1972
94% The Wild Bunch Pike Bishop 1969
No Score Yet The Christmas Tree Laurent Segur 1969
60% The Devil's Brigade Lt. Col. Robert T. Frederick 1968
No Score Yet Alvarez Kelly Alvarez Kelly 1966
No Score Yet The 7th Dawn Major Ferris 1964
50% Paris When It Sizzles Richard Benson 1964
No Score Yet The Lion Robert Hayward 1962
No Score Yet Satan Never Sleeps Father O'Banion 1962
50% The World of Suzie Wong Robert Lomax 1960
89% The Horse Soldiers Major Henry Kendall 1959
No Score Yet The Key David Ross 1958
95% The Bridge on the River Kwai Shears 1957
No Score Yet Toward the Unknown Maj. Lincoln Bond 1956
57% Picnic Hal Carter 1955
50% Love Is a Many Splendored Thing Mark Elliott 1955
86% The Country Girl Bernie Dodd 1954
92% Sabrina David Larrabee 1954
100% Executive Suite McDonald Walling 1954
No Score Yet Forever Female Stanley Krown 1954
No Score Yet Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto Narrator 1954
80% The Bridges at Toko-Ri Lt. Harry Brubaker 1954
No Score Yet Escape From Fort Bravo Capt. Roper 1953
38% The Moon Is Blue Don Gresham 1953
97% Stalag 17 Sefton 1953
No Score Yet The Turning Point Jerry McKibbon 1952
No Score Yet Boots Malone Actor 1952
No Score Yet Submarine Command (The Submarine Story) Commander White 1951
No Score Yet Force Of Arms Peterson 1951
95% Born Yesterday Paul Verrall 1950
98% Sunset Boulevard Joe Gillis 1950
No Score Yet Union Station Lt. William Calhoun 1950
No Score Yet Dear Wife Bill Seacroft 1949
No Score Yet Miss Grant Takes Richmond Dick Richmond 1949
No Score Yet Streets of Laredo Jim Dawkins 1949
50% The Dark Past Al Walker 1949
No Score Yet The Man from Colorado Capt. Del Stewart 1949
No Score Yet Apartment for Peggy Jason Taylor 1948
67% Rachel and the Stranger David Harvey 1948
No Score Yet Variety Girl Himself 1947
No Score Yet Dear Ruth Lt. William Seacroft 1947
No Score Yet Wings Up! Actor 1943
No Score Yet Meet the Stewarts Michael Stewart 1942
No Score Yet The Fleet's In Casey Kirby 1942
No Score Yet Young and Willing Norman Reese 1942
No Score Yet The Remarkable Andrew Andrew Long 1942
No Score Yet Texas Dan Thomas 1941
No Score Yet I Wanted Wings Al Ludlow 1941
83% Our Town Geogre Gibbs 1940
No Score Yet Arizona Peter Muncie 1940
No Score Yet Invisible Stripes Tim Taylor 1939
No Score Yet Golden Boy Joe Bonaparte 1939

TV

CREDIT
No Score Yet I Love Lucy
1951-1957
Himself
  • 1955

QUOTES FROM William Holden CHARACTERS