We’ve written extensively in the past about William Holden, whom we like a lot, but have not until now made this superb actor the focus of our Quiz format. Shame on us!
Born William Franklin Beedle Jr. in Illinois in 1918, he was once revered by classic Hollywood as “Golden Holden.” His acting career almost from the start was just that successful (some 75 credits overall from 1938 to 1981).
The Beedle family moved to California when Bill was around four years old, and Holden became in many ways a California boy. Always more interested in sports than acting, he more or less fell into acting during his days at South Pasadena Junior College, where he was spotted by a Paramount Pictures scout who signed him up and provided the new name.
Holden’s physical presence was magnetic from the start, and it was actually rival Columbia Pictures that provided his first big career break, casting him in a leading role opposite the popular veteran Barbara Stanwyck.
Enough said that Holden starred throughout his career in a series of unforgettable pictures, many of which are Hollywood classics. And he seemed to get better as he got older, and the hits kept coming.
So did the onslaughts of the actor’s personal demons, which ultimately caused his bizarre and much publicized death in the fall of 1981.
So let’s see how much you know about this essential actor. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
Question: Although nominated twice Holden actually won a best actor Oscar for which one of the following movies? a) 1950’s Sunset Boulevard; b) 1976’s Network; c) 1957’s The Bridge on the River Kwai; or d) 1953’s Stalag 17.
2) Question: Holden, who was wed only once in his life, was said to have enjoyed one of Hollywood’s most stable marriages. Which one of the following B-list actresses was his longtime wife? a) Gail Russell; b) Barbara Payton; c) Lili Palmer; or d) Brenda Marshall.
3) Question: Holden worked under many important film directors over his more than 40-year career, but one stands out as especially influential. Who is he? a) Otto Preminger; b) David Lean; c) Billy Wilder; or d) George Cukor.
4) Question: Holden said that he was indebted throughout his Hollywood career to a big female star who was most instrumental in getting him started in the business. Who is she? a) Bette Davis; b) Barbara Stanwyck; c) Joan Crawford; or d) Mary Astor.
5) Question: Holden’s death in 1981 at age 63 sparked a flurry of press reports and at least one official investigation. Why?
ANSWER TO FRIDAY’S ‘MYSTERY STAR’ QUIZ: That was our pal, the late Patricia Williamson, helping our star of the day sell war bonds. The photo is part of a wonderful vintage collection the late Williamson of Tucson, Arizona generously shared with us before her death. The star in Friday’s photo is, of course, is 20th Century Fox’s ice-skating moneymachine, Sonja Henie.
In 1943 Pat, then Patricia Nanette Hawkins, fresh out of high school, had been signed up by the Standard Oil Company of California to be a “Chevronette.” These young women were part of the company’s second world war effort. Pat and the other “Chevronettes” were photographed with stars and other dignitaries, and the pictures were circulated nationwide.