William Holden

William Holden

Highest Rated: 100% Executive Suite (1954)

Lowest Rated: 0% When Time Ran Out (1980)

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
82% 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
71% Fedora Barry Detweiler 1978
44% Damien---Omen II Richard Thorn 1978
91% Network Max Schumacher 1976
No Score Yet 21 Horas en Munich Chief of Police Manfred Schreiber 1976
69% The Towering Inferno James Duncan Jim Duncan 1974
67% Breezy Frank Harmon 1973
No Score Yet The Blue Knight Bumper Morgan 1973
No Score Yet The Revengers Actor 1972
90% 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
38% The World of Suzie Wong Robert Lomax 1960
91% The Horse Soldiers Major Henry Kendall Maj. 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
No Score Yet The Proud and Profane Lt. Col. Colin Black 1956
50% Picnic Hal Carter 1955
53% 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
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
97% Born Yesterday Paul Verrall 1950
99% 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
57% Streets of Laredo Jim Dawkins 1949
57% 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 I Wanted Wings Al Ludlow 1941
No Score Yet Texas Dan Thomas 1941
86% 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 Celebrity Family Feud
2015
Appearing 2015
No Score Yet I Love Lucy
1951-1957
Himself 1955

QUOTES FROM William Holden CHARACTERS

Joe Gillis says: Funny how gentle people get with you once your're dead.

Joe Gillis says: The last week in December the rains came. A great big package of rain. Oversized, like everything else in California.

Max Schumacher says: After living with you for the last six months, I'm turning into one of your scripts. Well, this is not a script, Diana. There's some real, actual life going on here.

Max Schumacher says: Four hours ago I was the Sun God at CCA, Mr. Jensen's handpicked golden boy, the heir apparent. Now I'm a man without a corporation.

Max Schumacher says: She does have one script in which I kill myself: An adapted for television version of "Anna Karenina", where she's Count Vronsky and I'm Anna.

Diana Christensen says: I'm sorry for all those things I said to you last night. You're not the worst fuck I ever had. Believe me, I've had worse. You don't puff or snorkel and make death-like rattles. As a matter of fact, you're rather serene in the sack.

Max Schumacher says: Why is it that a woman always thinks that the most savage thing she can say to a man is to impugn his cocksmanship.

Diana Christensen says: I'm sorry I impugned your cocksmanship.

Max Schumacher says: I gave up comparing genitals back in the schoolyard.

Louise Schumacher says: Do you love her?

Max Schumacher says: I don't know how I feel. I'm grateful I can feel anything. I know I'm obsessed with her.

Louise Schumacher says: Then say it. You keep telling me that you're obsessed, you're infatuated. Say that you're in love with her.

Max Schumacher says: I'm in love with her.

Diana Christensen says: The time has come to reevaluate our friendship, Max.

Max Schumacher says: So I see.

Diana Christensen says: I don't lime the way this script of ours has turned out. It's turning into a seedy little drama.

Max Schumacher says: You're going to cancel the show?

Diana Christensen says: Right.

Max Schumacher says: Howard, I'm taking you off the air. I think you're having a breakdown, require treatment.

Howard Beale says: This is not a psychotic episode. This is a cleansing moment of clarity. I'm imbued, Max. I'm imbued with some special spirit. It's not a religious feeling at all. It's a shocking eruption of great electrical energy. I feel vivid and flashing, as if suddenly I'd been plugged into some great electromagnetic field. I feel connected to all living things. To flowers, birds, all the animals of the world. And even to some great, unseen, living force. What I think the Hindus call prana. But it's not a breakdown. I've never felt more orderly in my life. It is a shattering and beautiful sensation. It is the exalted flow of the space-time continuum, save that it is spaceless and timeless and...of such loveliness. I feel on the verge of some great, ultimate truth. And you will not take me off the air for now or for any other spaceless time!

Max Schumacher says: He's saying that life is bullshit, and it is, so what are you screaming about?

Howard Beale says: I'm gonna blow my brains out right on the air, right in the middle of the seven o'clock news.

Max Schumacher says: Well, you'll get a hell of a rating, I'll tell you that. A 50 share, at least. We could make a series of it. "Suicide of the Week." Aw, hell, why limit ourselves? "Execution of the Week."

Howard Beale says: "Terrorist if the Week."

Max Schumacher says: I love it. Suicides, assassinations, mad bombers, Mafia hitmen, automobile smash-ups: "The Death Hour." A great Sunday night show for the whole family. It'd wipe that fuckin' Disney right off the air.

Sefton says: If I ever run into any of you bums on a street corner, just let's pretend we've never met before.

Sefton says: There are two people in this barracks who know I didn't do it. Me and the guy that did do it.

Alvarez Kelly says: Using me seems to be the national pastime of the Confederate Staes of America.

Max Schumacher says: You're madness Diana. Virulent madness. And everything you touch dies with you.

Joe Gillis says: 10086 Sunset Boulevard!

David Larrabee says: Oh Sabrina, Sabrina, where have you been all my life?

Sabrina Fairchild says: Right over the garage.

Max Schumacher says: "You are television incarnate, Diana"

Max Schumacher says: You are television incarnate, Diana.

Maj. Warden says: The most sensible thing for Major Shears to do is go ahead and jump and hope for the best

Maj. Warden says: The most sensible thing for Major Shears to do is go ahead and jump and hope for the best.

Shears says: With or without a parachute........

Shears says: With or without a parachute...

Pike says: come on you lazy bastard!

Pike says: Come on you lazy bastard!

Dutch says: I"m coming damn it!

Maj. Hank Kendall says: "ding dong, ding dong"

Maj. Hank Kendall says: Ding dong, ding dong.

Max Schumacher says: It's too late, Diana. There's nothing left in you that I can live with. You're one of Howard's humanoids, and, if I stay with you, I'll be destroyed. Like Howard Beale was destroyed. Like Laureen Hobbs was destroyed. Like everything you and the institution of television touch is destroyed. You are television incarnate, Diana, indifferent to suffering, insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War, murder, death are all the same to you as bottles of beer. The daily business of life is a corrupt comedy. You even shatter the sensations of time and space into split-seconds and instant replays. You are madness, Diana, virulent madness, and everything you touch dies with you. Well, not me. Not as long as I can still feel pleasure and pain. And love.

Pike says: Let's go!

Lyle Gorch says: Why the hell not?

Dutch says: They'll be waitin' for us.

Pike says: I wouldn't have it any other way

Dutch says: Pike; "I wouldn't have it any other way", *either*!

Dutch says: Pike, I wouldn't have it any other way either!

Dutch says: Well, I'd say those fellas know how to handle themselves!

Sykes says: They been fightin' Apaches for a thousand years; That's a sure way to learn.

Sykes says: They been fightin' Apaches for a thousand years. That's a sure way to learn.

Pike says: They ever get armed, with good leader*, this whole country'll go up in smoke!

Pike says: They ever get armed, with good leader, this whole country'll go up in smoke!

Sykes says: That it will son, that it will.

Pike says: We're not gonna get rid of anybody! We're gonna stick together, just like it used to be! When you side with a man, you stay with him! And if you can't do that, you're like some animal, you're finished! *We're* finished! All of us!

Pike says: He gave his word.

Dutch says: He gave his word to a railroad.

Pike says: It's his word.

Dutch says: That ain't what counts! It's who you give it *to*!

Pike says: I'd like to make one good score and back off...

Pike says: I'd like to make one good score and back off.

Dutch says: Back off to what?

Joe Gillis says: You used to be big.

Norma Desmond says: I am big. It's the pictures that got small.

Joe Gillis says: I knew there was something wrong with them.

Maj. Albert Stedman says: Money, whiskey and women... your three deities. Tell me something, Mr. Kelly. Have they made you a happy man?

Maj. Albert Stedman says: Money, whiskey and women... your three deities. Tell me something, Mr. Kelly. Have they made you a happy man?

Alvarez Kelly says: No, but not as miserable a one as you.

Alvarez Kelly says: God deliver me from dedicated men.

Pike says: If they move, kill 'em.