Born: 17 April 1918
Died: 12 November 1981 (brain injury)
Birthplace: O'Fallon, Illinois
Best known as: The Oscar-winning star of Stalag 17
Name at birth: William Franklin Beedle, Jr.
William Holden was a major leading man of the 1950s, when he played heroic cynics in the war movies Stalag 17 (1953) and Bridge On the River Kwai (1957), and the not-so-heroic cynic Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard (1950). In 1954 alone he starred with Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn in the romantic comedy Sabrina, with Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby in The Country Girl, and with Kelly and Mickey Rooney in The Bridges at Toko-Ri. A steady star, Holden had a career resurgence in the 1970s, winning an Oscar nomiation as best actor for Network (1976, co-starring Faye Dunaway). Holden died in 1981; he was found in his apartment after he fell, hit his head on a bedside table and bled to death.
Holden enlisted in the U.S. Air Force during World War II… He won a best actor Academy Award for Stalag 17, directed by Billy Wilder; Holden was also nominated for Sunset Boulevard (also by Wilder) and Network… Holden was best man at the 1952 wedding of Ronald and Nancy Reagan… In the 1970s Holden had a long romantic relationship with the actress Stefanie Powers.
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