Friday, November 4, 2011

THE LAST DAYS OF WILLIAM HOLDEN

It is hard to believe that William Holden has been dead now for 30 years. Holden was one of the greatest actors of our times. He burst onto the scene with his role in Golden Boy in 1939. He followed that film up with a screen version of the movie of Our Town. By the 1950s, he was starring in hit after hit like: Sunset Boulevard (1950), The Country Girl (1954), Picnic (1955), and The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) to name a few. Despite the fame and winning an Academy Award in 1954, William Holden faced a lifelong battle with drinking and alcoholism.

The years of his drinking started taking its toll on Holden's chiseled looks by the 1960s. Despite being relatively young still, he was considered Hollywood old school and began losing roles to younger stars like Steve McQueen and Paul Newman. This in turn caused Holden to drink more. He did continue to make some good movies like: The Wild Bunch (1969), The Towering Inferno (1974), and his last movie S.O.B. (1981). However, by that time he was no longer the handsome leading man of movies.

In 1981, Holden was living in Santa Monica, California, on Ocean Avenue. He was partial owner of the building at #535. The Shorecliff Towers. Holden's apartment was on the fourth floor, number 43. He was notoriously private. Even neighbors of many years only received a quick nod from the elusive actor. He also had the habit of disappearing for many days, without notice. That's why it took so long for someone to find him.

According to the autopsy report, Holden was last known to be alive about one week beforehand, when he spoke to his girlfriend Stephanie Powers on the telephone. She indicated that he was drinking, but seemed his normal self and was without complaints.


On Monday November 16, 1981, the building manager, Bill Martin, let curiosity get the best of him. He hadn't seen Holden in many days, and became very concerned, so he let himself in, via the passkey. As we all know, curiosity killed the cat, and Mr. Martin was sure taught a lesson that day.

From the report: "All the lights were off, except for the television, so they used flashlights to get around. Holden was found in a robe and shirt, on the floor. The robe was folded back and beneath the body, with the right arm placed through the sleeve, and the left arm "wadded up" and beneath the body, suggesting that he may have been attempting to dress himself. Examination revealed an apparent laceration on his forehead approximately 3 inches in length. Holden’s doctor showed up and theorized that he provably started vomiting blood, and possibly lacerated the lower portion of his esophagus.


On the scene they found an empty vodka bottle in the trash can, along with 4 beer bottles and a partially full bottle of vodka on the kitchen sink. There was a large quantity of blood surrounding the body as well as all over the bedding and blankets." From the condition of his body, it was decided that he had been dead for at least 4 days.

According to the medical examiner, Holden had tripped on a throw rug and hit his head on the nightstand. The scary part is that he hit it so hard, that it jammed into the wall, and left an indentation of two or three inches into the plaster. There were 8 bloody Kleenex's found next to his body, and a working telephone just inches away from him. The examiner reckoned that Holden didn't comprehend the seriousness of his injury, tried to stop the bleeding himself, and passed out from blood loss. He was probably dead within 15 minutes.

William Holden was only 63...

107 comments:

  1. I totally adore William Holden and have always thought the circumstances of his death were so very sad.

    And, yes, his drinking definitely altered his looks. Perhaps that's why I generally stay away from his 70's films. It pains me to see how poorly he aged.

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    1. I just discovered Bill H. a couple months ago and watched as he aged from Golden Boy, through the 1950's, 60's and 70's and am not so sure drinking aged him. He always looked about 10 years older than he was, even in the late 1940's/early 50's. If you look close esp. in Sizzles in Paris, you can see that he had a lot of sun damage to his skin. I think his aging is more from the sun damage than anything else. He was out doors a lot and no one used sun screen then. Also, I am sure he did drink a lot, which was common back then, but he also performed at a high level. As his character said to Bing's character in Country Girl, "I need an actor who can remember his lines and show up for work", Holden obviously remembered his lines and showed for work. A true alcoholic ( my brother) could not hold a job at a fast food restaraunt. Plus he continued to be hired his whole career, even at 60 years old, to make movies. Hard to believe any director would hire him if it was an uncontrolable problem. Another observation about him is that he was in incredible shape for the times. Easy to tell the guy worked out/lifted wieghts. Even when he was in his 40's he had a great body. Tough to work out if he was drunk. I think the combo of naturally looking older and the sun is why he appeared to age poorly. But, he was still getting good roles untill he died.

      Dan

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    2. I'm watching "Love Is A Many..." right now...such a GREAT movie overall. He's so believable in all of his roles, no matter how much fluff there was in the script or how insignificant the role might have been performed by another actor. He has that charm, that authenticity, which so few actors have, where they can play whatever the part is called for: Cary Grant, Robert Mitchum, some of Bogart's films, Bing Crosby in several earlier roles, as well as some of the later actors closer to my generation: Jeff Bridges, Paul Newman, Michael Douglas in some earlier films, Richard Gere, and a few others can play the soldier, the hero, the crusader, the reporter, the villain, the jaded coworker...all of them so convincingly. Love him!!

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    3. I believe Barbara Stanwyck adored him...I remember her accepting an award for him and calling him her golden boy. I think that was his first movie and she helped him get the part and with his portrayal.
      That Barbara....She loved those good looking men. Her husband Robert Taylor was handsome too.
      I loved Holden's rugged good looks and his acting. It is so sad that he had the disease of alcoholism...it did take a toll on his looks imo and his health too, no doubt.

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    4. The source of Bill's haggard appearance was largely due to sun damage and cigarettes. He not only was a "sun-worshipper," outdoors, but according to "The Golden Boy" biography, he had a sunlamp installed over his toilet so he wouldn't miss a minute of exposure. Add to that a life-long cigarette habit and you have the lizard appearance he had late in life.

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    5. Love is a many splendor things one of his greatest accomplishment....but he could not find The Greatest love all ! Self

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    6. What also aged him was the bad eye lifts he got which took way the normal bags under his eyes, making his face appear gaunt and old before his time. Actors should never have surgery done on the eyes.

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    7. Great Actor.Foul play was the talk in Hollywood at time.

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    8. Wow he did age badly! So sad, he was extremely handsome. He looked much older.

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  2. He was still William Holden. I think his later movies were as great as his first. I thank him for the legacy he left us. He had so many inner demons like so many of us. He did the best he could and to me there will never be another to compare to william Holden. There was one Elvis and only one William Holden.
    Miss you,
    Dottie K.

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  3. Great memories! However William Holden died - he was really a great actor.

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  4. Wow. He had everything, and didn't realize it. Money, fame, looks, and talent. And still so depressed he had to constantly drink. So sad. He was a wonderful actor.

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    1. It's a terrible thing to be put out tp pasture.......

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    2. I think a case can be made for the idea that he was depressed because he drank.

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  5. He is one of the greatest actors of all times
    I wish he had not spoilt his looks on account of heavy drinking He steals your heart in Sunset Boulevard Born Yesterday Love is a many splendored thing and most of the movies in the sixties. I wish there was someone besides him at the end but he is irreplacable Love you William Holden ~ Kiran

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    1. I truly believe that he aged due to the sun and cigarette smoking.

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  6. Always one of the saddest ends for a great classic film star.

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  7. Why does fame and wealth destroy so many people?

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  8. love is a many splendored thing - what a feat

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  9. Holden's ravaged looks later in life actually worked for him in The Wild Bunch and Network. He was terrific in both of those films. A most interesting and complex actor who left us with a long list of great movie roles to remember him by.

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    1. Agree. If he wasn't drinking, he would probably not be so convincing when acting disappointed, but proud "old-fashioned" Pike Bishop. His role in TV Net is basically the same. Drinking and his smooth nature left a great legacy. I love him.

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  10. Happy Birthday today William!!! You would have been 95! You were such a great man on and off the screen!

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  11. I will never forget that dance scene in "Picnic" with Kim Novak. The music and the scene touches me so much, as a man I shed tears every time I view it. I can't explain why it makes me so emotional. Mr. Holden, thanks for the memory. Wayne Clanton

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    1. In an auto-bio he stated he was a very poor dancer, and had to get very drunk to do that scene.

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    2. The dance scene with Kim Novak in Picnic.......Ahhhhh! Makes me emotional, as well. Maybe because I long to find "my" William Holden. Sighhhhh.......

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    3. Picnic is one of my favorite movies. I saw it again just last week on TCM. In that sexy dance scene, the lights + camera angle show how bloated William Holden's face was, which is typical of people who drink too much.

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  12. With the right direction and material, Bill Holden was as good an
    actor as any at the time. His performances were always believable
    and his lines delivered with an honesty and sincerity that were
    always convincing. Truly one of the best, and, in my opinion much
    under appreciated today.
    God bless you Golden Boy

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  13. I still enjoy watching William Holden's movies. Two of my favorites were Alvarez Kelly and Horse Soldiers. He was a great actor. I miss him.

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  14. What can i say about William Holden my father took me to see "Picnic" i told my father i want her job! (Kim Novak) his reply was take a number. I my very first crush was William Holden.
    Later on in life i met some of William Holden's friends we all came to the conclusion that "underneath it all there was pleasurable soul". We all miss him.

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  15. I have just discovered William Holden and I can't get enough of his beautiful soul that comes through in his acting roles. Loved him in Picnic, Love is a Many Splendored Thing and Born Yesterday. He truly let his light shine. I love you Bill.




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  16. He was great in every movie I've seen him in. The Wild Bunch is my favorite, followed by Stalag 17 and The Bridges at Toko-Ri. Thank goodness for digitized movies like DVD, where I can watch him anytime. God Bless you Bill. Mike Couch

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  17. Classy guy with intelligence.
    Excellent actor.
    Greatly missed.

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  18. Just saw "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" and loved William Holden and always remembered him for his roles with Asian women, like "World of Suzi Wong" -- Of course, I am Chinese and would have done anything for him. I did not know that he was an alcoholic until today and I am 66! I don't pay much attention to Hollywood rumors factual or otherwise. Are his children as good looking as he was?

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  19. Holden was/is one of my favourite actors.Nearly met him in late 1979 while working at the bar "Theatre Royal".He walked in on my day off and bought a bottle of Champagne after seeing Deborah Kerr (former costar) in her play "After The Fair".Kerr toured Australia with this production and Holden was in Sydney,Australia to film one of his last motion pictures "The Earthling". I believe there may have been FREEMASONRY Generational curses over Holden for him to drink so much.Any male born with the names "William""Frederick""Mason""Tyler" come automatically under the spiritual covering of Freemasonry worldwide(William of Orange,Frederik of Prussia) I think he was an aloof ,distant father to his two sons from what I've read. Holden died young but due to the decades of alcohnolic poisoning he really looked alot older.RIP Mr Holden.Now In Gods Care . (WW-Australia)

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  20. I actually prefer Holden in his later years as he really had honed the craft of believable acting. Breezy was a bit cheezy (tee hee) but I don't think any other older actor could have pulled off the role of Frank Harmon the way he did. I loved him as Max in Network, but the dialogue was way too wordy. Talk about lengthy speeches. Booze or not, he was still gorgeous even in his older years. Vodka Martini in Heaven

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    1. I prefer him in his older years too. I thought he had lost his sex appeal eventhough he was a heavy drinker. Loved him!

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  21. I just discovered William Holden in November of 2013. Watched Stalag 17 with my wife and two teenage sons. My sons said it was the best black and white movue he had ever seen. Since then we have been looking for and watching every Holden movie we can rent or buy. My 14 year old asked for Stalag for Christmas this year. We now have Stalag, Toko RI, Bridge on River Kwi, Paris, Sabrina, and Picnic under our belts. Stalag is my favorite but have liked them all. Wish I discovered Bill years ago.

    Dan

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    1. Hey Dan,
      Do yourself a favour and check out The Country Girl from the same era. Bill Holden was great with Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly!

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    2. David,
      Thanks, bought the movie on Amazon and we watched it twice this weekend. Loved the begining scene, the acting was so good. What a pleasure to watch Holden, Crosby and Grace Kelly in the same picture. Told everyone at work about it and one bought it also. I also watched Golden Boy and Horse Soldiers this weekend. Both very good. Dan

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    3. Dan, have you watched Born Yesterday where he starred with Judy Holliday and Broderick Crawford? I know your comments above were posted a year ago, but if you haven't seen it yet you should. It is such a good movie and William Holden was at both his comedic & dramatic best starring opposite those two. And if. you aren't familiar with Holliday or Crawford, you are in for a treat... Judy Holliday is another great actress who died much too soon & tragically. And Broderick Crawford was a really good actor who could have been even greater had it not been for his alcoholism. I think you & your sons would really enjoy the movie if you haven't already seen it by now. :)
      Nancy

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  22. Years ago, as a teenager, I worked at Blockbuster Video (when they were still around), and I was/still am a huge Quentin Tarantino fan. I remember reading an interview in which Tarantino said one of his favorite films was "The Wild Bunch." I immediately checked it out from the store (on VHS), and was completely blown away by the performance of William Holden. He had such a natural way of presenting himself, that even in the company of the other co-stars like Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Warren Oates, and Ben Johnson he still appeared to be the one you turned your focus on. He was just so damn believable. After doing some internet research, and learning about the manslaughter issue he had in Europe, I wonder if that accelerated his dependence on alcohol. In the end, though, I guess no one really knows to the full extent why people do the things they do. It's unfortunate, but at least his work can still be enjoyed to this day.

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  23. Cry your heart out Leonrado Di Caprio. . . .Bill Holden was the real deal.

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  24. Long gone, but never forgotten. I shall always have great memories... Thanks for a lifetime filled with magical memories of life as it was and could be.
    .

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  25. Thanks for all the magical memories.

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  26. One of my late Mom's favorite actors. Born the same year as her. Great actor, troubled soul. God bless you, Mr. Holden. They don't make them like that anymore







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  27. Also fantastic movie never mentioned here "Earthling" probably 1981.

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    1. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080671/?ref_=nv_sr_2 link to info about above movie

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  28. I too have discovered William Holden very late, just the past year and I've seen a few of his films and have become a great fan in the process. Picnic, The moon is blue, Golden boy, Breezy, The world of Suzie Wong, Love is a many splendored thing, Born Yesterday (my favorite so far), Escape from Fort Bravo, Streets of Loredo, The country Girl and Sabrina. Such a versatile and wonderful actor.

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  29. I rank Bill Holden & Gregory Peck, equally as the greatest actors I have ever seen. These guys didn't act, they lived the parts. Holden in Stalag 17 & Peck in The Guns Of Navarone....just magnificent!

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  30. agree with Gary R... One of my favorite was the I Love Lucy show in 1955. Thanks for the memories. You are truly missed Mr. Holden.

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  31. I Love William Holden. We all have issues just being a regular person or a actor and what a great actor but a human man , no one is perfect , we all have our issues , Love you Mr. Holden thank you for all the movies I still watch. No matter what the world thinks you were a good actor and man.

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  32. Only he could make Pike Bishop so believable!

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  33. He was the best ....as Nancy Olsen (young co-star in SUNSET BOULEVARD) stated about him , " He was the perfect movie star !"

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    1. She did 5 movies with him, so you know she thought he was good.

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  34. Loved William Holden and I am heading to Santa Monica in January 2015.My dream has always been to get to California and to see his hand and footprints somewhere in Hollywood. They do not make movie stars like him anymore. I watch his movies time and time again and my favourite is "Picnic". The Theme from Picnic and Moonglow I can listen to for hours.

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  35. Bill Holden was a beautiful classy man, loved the wild life of Africa, brilliant actor, will always be handsome, and that wonderful voice. His films are classics. I always feel as though he and the other wonderful actors, actresses, dancers of the period are friends they had brought me so much joy, understanding, laughter and I cry whenever I read of another passing of these talented souls. We are grateful to you Bill, and all the others. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you for your lovely remarks. It is so sad to read of the passing of these wonderful actors and actresses of the Golden Age. We will never see their kind again.

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  36. Why didn't S.Powers do anything when she hadn't heard from him in four days? Or his children? I find it both sad and very odd that it was the building manager who was the first to be concerned about his absence and investigate. Perhaps he and Powers were not on good terms or perhaps she was traveling for work or perhaps it is normal in their relationship to go so many days without contact. Or perhaps he isolated himself from all who cared for him.

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    1. Look, Bill was a loner by nature. Bill and Stef had been in a relationship for 9 years by this point. When he wanted to be left alone to drink, he made it known that he wanted to be alone. Don't you think Stefanie has regrets over this? Jeez. If you want the truth, read her book, One From the Heart.

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    2. Agreed! I hate it when people post hurtful things, when the information is out there to ease them from their ignorance!

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    3. My big brother, brilliant, witty,learned and kind, died from complications from alcohol, varicies, taking advil for a painful him and cigs. His doc told him to quit drinking alcohol and coffee, no more advil and no more smoking. He tried and tried - we'd go weeks without hearing from him and then he'd resurface detoxed (by himself - ALONE - many, many times. He was drinking again, and coming out of his bender, but his body gave out. Alcohol is the devil's potion. They want to be alone to do their thing....we all wished we'd stepped in. But he would have none of it. Every time he would say he'd never have another drink. It's power is greater than the human will. RIP Mr. Holden and Mr. McElfay. You did your best, I am sure.

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  37. Bill Holden will always have a special corner of my heart so much so, that I look forward to seeing him on the other side. His acting is so honest and sincere that it just rivets me. There are wonderful actors today - Javier Bardem comes to mind - but they broke the mold with Bill.

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  38. Sir Johnny Buttcracke Esq.October 9, 2014 at 2:02 PM

    This reminds me of the cartoon I saw many years ago. It was the William Holden drinking helmet ( a crash helmet with springs attached ) if memory serves that cartoon was in Hustler, f*****g hilarious. As for tonight I will enjoy watching The Bridge on the River Kwai. Great actor,bad drinker, too bad.

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    1. How unbelievably crass you are.

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  39. The great and the splendid have all passed (except for Doris) and we are left with the dregs! However, so happy that I lived during the 'glamorous' years when the world was a much nicer place and the likes of Bill Holden, Cary Grant, Paul Newman, Rita Hayworth, Ingrid Bergman et al were there for us - on a weekly basis - at the local cinema. Have lived all over, including Africa, and love "African Queen", but the best is "Casablanca" where the ending holds such promise as they both stroll off into the swirling mist and a new beginning - well, that's my plan!!

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    1. We have Kirk Douglas and Olivia Dehavilland, Leslie Caron, Sophia Loren

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  40. Really great in Bridge Over the River Kwai.

    Beautiful girlfriend too (Stefanie Powers).

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    1. A Fan of Both & AnonymousFebruary 10, 2015 at 8:49 AM

      Yes, gorgeous, intelligent, well traveled - the best.

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  41. Mr.Holden had that unique gift of being so manly and believable in any role he played. He delivered killer performances again and again. He was a product of the studios,but his fame has transcended those years. He was one of the best ever to do films. His work lives on, and I'm so glad he continues to be rediscovered and enjoyed by new fans. I think he would like that a lot. He owned the films when he walked on screen!

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  42. I was born in 57 so I was very young when Bill Holden was in his heyday but my mother use to watch picnic with me and even though she was very religious she would always say " Watching Bill Holden makes me want to buy
    new underwear"

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  43. I always loved Bill Holden in every picture he was in. The consummate actor, a 'man's man' as they used to say...he made women swoon & looks at their husbands & shake their heads. I honestly thought he was older than 63 when he died, but years of sun & alcohol take their toll on the best of us. Hard to believe he would be 96 if he were alive today...wow!

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  44. Interesting how the comments section of so many articles are filled with negativity and that there are only positive comments and memories about this true "movie star". Says something about him! I remember his name, but a little too young to remember anything else.

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    1. Anne January 23, 2015 4:30 PM

      Cathy, if you want to find out everything about Bill Holden try to find the book 'Golden Boy' The Untold Story of Bill Holden, by Bob Thomas. You find his whole life story where he was born, how he got started in acting, his loves (yes there were quite a lot) and, of course, always the drinking. According to the book he started early to get enough courage to act. He was actually a very shy man which is hard to believe. He and Audrey Hepburn fell in love during filming of Sabrina. She wanted to marry him and have kids but he was already married and couldn't have any more kids. When he and Audrey had to do one more film 'Paris when it Sizzles', supposedly he was drunk all the time because he could not handle it. During the filming they had to sent him to a clinic to dry out for a week. He did a movie when he was 53 'Breezy' and he still looked damn good. In 'Network' 'Towering Inferno' and, of course, his very last movie in 1981 'S.O.B.' he looked terrible, he had aged a lot. But one thing I have to say, he did not deserve to die all alone in November 1981, not with all the friends he had. And were was Stefanie Powers? She said she had talked to him a week before and that he was drinking. Well, I would have been concerned and checked up on him. Later she said she heard the news that he had died on her car radio. When you watch his movies and look at pictures of Bill you just want to reach out and hug him. He was such a handsome man but, according to that book, his life was far from happy. His marriage was not a happy one. Cathy, I hope this helps a little bit to give you an idea what Bill Holden was like. A wonderful man! William RIP

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    2. That's how I felt when I watched PICNIC for the first time on TCM this past June. I knew his name but never saw any of his
      pictures. Now I'm obsessed with him. He was gorgeous and talented. Sometimes I wonder what his life would have been like if Audrey Hepburn was apathetic about having children. Alcoholism usually trumps having any long lasting happiness. Oh though, how I would have readily given away my first born for just ONE night with Bill Holden.

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    3. Anne - you have no idea what Bill was really like. If you think a book written by someone who never knew the man will give you answers, I need to talk to you about a bridge I have available for purchase.

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  45. As a 100 percent heterosexual man, I loved that guy like a brother. His acting, his voice, his looks; he had everything.

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  46. Aside from swooning from his looks ever since I was a kid, I miss hearing his wonderful deep voice. I watch his movies whenever they're on, and I am a happily married woman....but I'm also human, like Jimmy Stewart said in reference to his attraction to Grace Kelly, and beauty is always appreciated.

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  47. There aren't any "movie stars" left. I was young when Holden and the others were making movies. I didn't appreciate them then like I should have. The "stars" of today just don't have "it".

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  48. Tomorrow, April 17, 2015 is his birthday and TCM is showing a bunch of his movies, starting in the morning. I have most of his movies on my iPad but I take advantage when either TCM or Encore's western channel show one of his movies. I just read the book 'Audrey and Bill' a romantic Biography of Audrey Hepburn and William Holden. They really should have been together, neither Bill nor Audrey were happy the rest of their lives. Audrey had problems with Mel Ferrer and then with her second husband Andrea Dotti, they were both cheating on her. She was devastated when Bill died in 1981. Her last great love of her life was Robert Wolder and, of course, Bill's last love was Stephanie Powers but that relationship by that time was slowly dissolving because of his drinking. He was insecure all his life, that was one of the reasons he started drinking at a real early age. I have been reading any books and articles I can get on Bill Holden and almost have the feeling that when he slipped and fell he did not want to call for help. Sad.

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  49. What a fine actor Bill Holden was, so handsome with his chiselled good looks. Such a shame he died like he did.

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  50. He was a wonderful actor, as was John Barrymore. Both destroyed themselves with alcohol and died early & painful deaths. Breaks my heart.

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  51. I've read that Bill Holden had an apartment in Hong Kong as well as one in CA. Does anyone know if he still had the HK apt. at the time of his death? I suppose he got the HK apt. during the making of Suzie Wong.

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  52. I got to Santa Monica and LA in December 2014,my lifetime dream, and did a tour of Paramount studios and saw the office where Joe Gillis stood in Sunset Boulevard.
    I was going to walk along Ocean Ave to Alta St but became ill on the day I had planned to go.
    I went to the Pasadena Rose Parade and a man standing behind me said"here comes my home town,O`Fallon Illinois and I said that is where William Holden was born.
    He looked at me and I told him Bill`s real name and date of birth and he at first did not believe me.I told him to Google him and when he saw the results he said to me "What a fan "I even found the Pasadena Playhouse where Bill first performed.That was also a thrill.At my age i have virtually fulfilled my dreams ,now just to meet Doris Day.I missed her when I got to Carmel.
    They do not make movie stars like Bill and Doris anymore.
    It was worth my long trip from Australia.

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  53. I always thought Bill Holden was a bell-weather actor. Before him, the heroic leads were usually less complex men, go-get 'em types who either started out "bad" and became "good" or stayed good all the way through. Bill played the early anti-heroes, the guy who only looked out for number one, the selfish, lazy, opportunist. Against his better nature, the real hero would eventually come out but next to his predecessors, Holden's heroes were complex, ambiguous men. I think he played these parts so well because he understood those characters. The same holds true for his later parts when he was an older, compromised man with a noble vision still fighting past that disappointed, craggy (wonderful) face. His death was ignominious and far too soon (And The Earthling was his last released film) but I doubt if he would have hated it. It was just silly and random enough to fit a man uncomfortable with his random, often silly, world. He left a legacy of thoughtful work worth seeing and the animal refuge in Africa. If only the rest of us could leave as much

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  54. To goldiesgirl who said: "The "stars" of today just don't have "it"
    you're blowin' smoke darlin'

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    1. I'm sorry but the latest movies are the pitts

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  55. I agree that most of the "stars" of today just don't have it. Many of the old timers had more talent and natural good looks. Ava, Hedy, Grace and others. Tyrone, Robert Taylor and others. Many of these people didn't have connections and nepotism to get their start. I don't even watch tv or go to movies anymore because most of the stars are so plain looking and have so little talent. Many have had tons of plastic surgery and still look horrible. I just got too tired of looking at people's ugly, no-talent sons, daughters, cousins, etc. I will stick to the old movies when I want to watch something good!

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  56. I remember my girlfriend and I sitting in the theatre through "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing" twice. We both had a crush on him. Can't watch it anymore - the ending is too sad. I sure wish that people who have that damnable disease of alcoholism could see the way they change under the influence - perhaps they might realize that it certainly doesn't add anything to their demeanor or looks. Will still remember Bill as the handsome, sexy guy in his prime. RIP

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  57. Please take the time to investigate his other occupation, longtime CIA operative. Those absences for weeks at a time...well, he wasn't doing nothing. I'm surprised no one here has mentioned it.

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  58. Like so many other alcoholics, William Holden continued to drink until it destroyed him and eventually took his life. He knew what he was and couldn't find a way to stop.

    The senseless war on drugs perpetuates the myth that because drinking is legal it is somehow more innocent than the other drugs that destroy lives and kill. Addiction is a disease and we can put every person on the planet in jail and nothing is going to change until we mandate that the only answer is education, 10% of the population have the addiction bug, and it's a total waste of lives and resources to put people in jail for drug use when only that addictive 10% are going to abuse alcohol and other drugs, and it's pointless to imprison all that use when a small fraction destroy themselves whether it is legal or not. Educate to the point where no one can deny
    .that people who act stupid when drinking or drugging are addicts, and when that education light shines bright enough and continually, denial will not be possible by anyone. Enough education and the symptoms will be easily recognizable. The truth is every illegal drug could be left lying around and only those with the addiction bug are going to abuse them. What most people don't understand and addicts try to fool themselves about drugs like speed and cocaine, is they actually make a person feel incredibly depressed up to several weeks. Exusers They feel good for a short period of time and then they feel so terribly bad that they will do literally anything to escape how depressed and bad they feel later. Take your most depressed moments in life where your parents, your children and your spouse have died and you've lost them forever, multiply that by a thousand, and you're getting an idea of the type of feelings a drug addict has. What person in their right mind would go back for more of that.
    That's right, no one. And addicts that are able to get help and education about that evil process so they can clearly see that there is nothing in that world for them, they want to invest in themselves in the behavior modification that's required to make changes in their lives. In other words, live enough time and do different things without wrecking one's life for a while and different patterns for living are learned and one looks back and sees there was nothing there for them but terrible grief and unhappiness. No need to make any drugs illegal when people learn what they have to offer them. Non-addicts learn all drugs are used in moderation, and addictive people learn quicky what makes them feel terribly

    In the early 1980s, many Alcoholics Anonymous meetings began to see younger and younger people coming in to meetings and it quickly became apparent that it was drugs like cocaine that were causing this to happen. People, especially kids, were staying up longer drinking and drugging more and longer because the cocaine wired them up to the point they would stay up for days doing it, and when it was finally over, these people were incredibly depressed for days and weeks, and would do it many times, sometimes for years, until they couldn't take the horrific depression anymore, and would come crawling in for help, and all they knew was that they couldn't control their own lives anymore because all they did was return to the painfully detructive behavior. If education was facing these people everywhere they looked, and success stories were all around them, the sooner they would seek help and realize they didn't have to live like that.

    No, I take that all back. I'm wrong. What we need to do is continue the enlightened war on drugs for another 50 years, put millions more in jail (mostly blacks males), keep the DEA and all the other enforcement agencies employed that do not produce a single product except unemployable felons, and take another look in 2065 when we have turned the tide on global warming.

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  59. For the diehard William Holden fans, you will know this. William and his wife, Brenda Marshall were the two witnesses for Ronald and Nancy Reagan's wedding in 1952. There is even a picture of them in the Reagan Library. With Nancy's passing, it is so sad that she left, but glad that she will be with Ronnie. And hopefully William is up there with Ronnie too.

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  60. William Holden is my favorite actor. Have seen most of his top rated movies, and this week for the first time saw Breezy, the 1973 movie he made with starlet Kay Lenz, directed by Clint Eastwood. It's a wonderful movie. Was never marketed properly when released by Universal. I understand that Clint has said it is one of his favorites. Well, now it is one of my favorites. Very underrated. Perhaps its time has come, as they say. It will tug at your heart.

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  61. William Holden had an affair around 1937 to 1939 ..actually a seven year affair with a lady named Eve Farrell...actress..they had two kids together...during the time she was married to Emil Newman....composer and brother to Alfred Newman composer at 20th Century Fox...the female was Arleen Newman who later married Bing Crosby's son...Dennis.....he later killed himself....by shotgun....his son by Pat Sheehan ...Patrick Crosby later died recently of AIDS.

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  62. If you read the book by Scotty Bowers William Holden's affair with Eve Farrell (married name Newman) is documented in the book Full Service.

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  63. Excellent actor...but who can have any sympathy for an otherwise loser who literally drank himself to death? I believe that part of the reason he drank was from guilt; his brother was an Army Air Corps pilot who was shot down and killed during a WW II mission, while big shot actor Bill, though in the service, had a nice cushy job. If he had so much guilt, he should have done what JFK did and left the cushy job and made certain he got into action. By the way: I'm surprised his late-life girlfriend SteFanie Powers didn't have a Hart-to-Hart talk with him.

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  64. An alcoholic drinks because he/she is an alcoholic. No one else drinks to that point.

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  65. Watched the bridge on the river kwai last night and enjoyed Holdens performance again. He was so good.

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  66. He was one of the handsomest men on the screen, be it black and white and color. Sunset Boulevard, Love is a many splendored thing. He brought so much to every picture he appeared in. A treasure.

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  67. I loved William Holden, he was one of those actors who just commanded the screen, he had talent, looks, and charm...he's among my favorites like Tyrone Power, and Robert Taylor, beautiful to watch and enjoy!

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  68. When William Holden was on screen, everyone else fell back in shadow. I love Daniel Day Lewisand Christian Bale, but they still don't hold a candle to William Holden. It's all about charisma and lumininesce. They are great actors. He was a great actor and a star. Watch the dance sequence from "Picnic." Timeless.

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  69. He was just another drunk bum. Nothing more nothing less.

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    1. NICE! Didn't your mother teach you anything? If you have nothing nice to say about anybody, DON'T say anything at all.

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  70. I am 76 years old and fell in love with William Holden when I was in my early teens; no one ever replaced him, not even close. He was the ultimate talented handsome movie star, and will never be replaced. Amen!

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  71. William Holden still resonates with fans around the world. Based on all the comments in here, he truly was one of the greats. He started early around age 18 or 19. I have yet to find a truly complete biography of him.
    He drank and smoked a lot because that is what men did at that time. He was best man at Ronald Reagan's wedding to Nancy Davis. Few people recall that today. His body of film work still attracts the public. His films were well written, well directed, and cast correctly. Remember actors then worked all the time either on the films for their studios or were loaned out. You learned your craft by doing it a lot. The studios made films like we make cars today. The assembly line was always running. Most stars knew each other, and they usually worked with each eventually. I think this resulted in great on screen chemistry. Barbara Stanwick was simply awesome. Mr. Holden's films should be released as a boxed set of ten or twelve of his best works. You cannot ignore his acting, and he turned in so many brilliant performances consistently film after film. I struggle with writing screenplays today, and sadly many of the greatest films in the past would NOT be made today. Why? The studios are aiming for the audience of teens or folks under 25. If you write screenplays that are Westerns, period pieces, serious drama--you will never get hired. I'm 60 so I recall great films from the 60s and 70s. I treasure Mr. Holden's work and I'll buy every film of his I can find. He never fails to deliver. I'm only sorry he has no idea how many of us today still enjoy and admire his films.

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  72. The true measure of a great actor is to see them make middling material shine. Indifferent directing, little known costars, minimal budget... how does the actor do under such paltry circumstances? In William Holden's case, he could make a run-of-the-mill quickie film noir really pop. If you want to see a gripper, check him out in "Union Station" of 1950. This may well have been the last small film he was stuck in, and had it not been for his acting prowess, the film would likely not even have been released. In this film you can really see Holden's chops as a consumate performer.

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