A hugely popular and well-liked American actors was William Holden (William Franklin Beedle, Jr.) born on April 17, 1918. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Stalag 17 (1953). Holden stared in some of the most popular films of all time. These include Sunset Boulevard, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Towering Inferno, The Wild Bunch and Network. He was one of the top 10 stars of the 1950s and 1960s.
Holden was spotted by a talent scout from Paramount pictures in 1937 while playing the part of Marie Curie's 80 year old father-in-law. He made his first film Prison Farm in 1938. His first starring role was Golden Boy (1939) and he followed that role in the film adaptation of Our Town. Holden played in different minor films until he joined the Air Force during WWII. He acted in training films.
In 1950 Billy Wilder asked Holden to be the lead in Sunset Boulevard. This was his first best actor Oscar nomination. Holden's good looks and cynical detachment made him the perfect star in Executive Suite in 1954 and The Country Girl also in 1954. In 1954 he also made The Bridges at Toko-Ri, Sabrina, and Picnic (1955). He was a dashing war reporter in Love is a Many Splendored Thing in 1955. In 1957 he played in The Bridge on the River Kwai and in 1959 with John Wayne in The Horse Soldiers.
Holden also started with Paul Newman and Steve McQueen in the disaster film The Towering Inferno. In Network (1976) he was nominated for an Oscar. His final film S.O.B. was a Golden Globe nominated best picture.
Holden and Ardis Ankerson were married from 1941 to 1971. They had two sons. He was best man at Pres. Ronald Reagan's wedding. He lived with Stefanie Powers for nine years which sparked an interest in animal welfare for both of them. Holden died on November 12, 1981 of exsanguination after a fall.