Picnic, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Sunset Boulevard, Fedora, Paris When It Sizzles, S.O.B, The Wild Bunch, Sabrina, Stalag 17, Network.

William Holden starred in them all.  They were among his some 75 credits rolled up over more than 40 years, mostly spent as one of Hollywood’s biggest male stars at the box office.  The public liked this guy as did the critics — who particularly admired his work as he got older.

Holden had his share of offscreen woes.  His end was both untimely and ungainly.  He was married for some three decades, a union that ultimately came to be seen as part sham, at least at the end.

He had affairs with costars Capucine, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. His final romance was with tv actress Stefanie Powers, his partner in African wildlife preservation via the William Holden Wildlife Foundation in Kenya.

There’s no gainsaying that Holden was a BIG male star for many years.  Still, how much did you know about him? Let’s get to our Mini-Quiz answers to find out.  To refresh yourselves about the questions, just scroll down to the blog below.  Here we go:

1) Answer:  Holden was Oscar nominated as best actor for 1950’s Sunset Boulevard and for 1976’s Network.  But he won the award for 1953’s Stalag 17. (Typically underrating his abilities, he felt he didn’t deserve the win.)

2) Answer:  Holden was married to d) actress Brenda Marshall. Fact is that for three decades, they were one of Hollywood’s best looking married couples. (See photo below.) But, despite its durability their union (1941 to 1971) was far from happy, marred by multiple separations and infidelities on both sides. No question, though.  They were a handsome sight to behold (see below). Marshall died of cancer at age 76 in 1992, 11 years after Holden’s death.

3) Answer:  c) Billy Wilder, who directed Holden in Stalag 17, Sunset Boulevard and the much underrated Fedora. Need we say more?

4) Answer: b) Barbara Stanwyck , who pushed for an inexperienced Holden’s hiring for the lead as the musician-turned-boxer in 1939’s Golden Boy. The movie was a big boost to Holden’s fledgling career for which he was forever grateful.  It’s been reported that he sent Stanwyck flowers each year marking the first day of the movie’s filming.

5) Answer:  By 1981, Holden, an inveterate world traveler, was in the U.S. where he maintained a Palm Springs home and a co-op apartment on the fifth floor of 535 Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, California.  The actor, who had multiple business investments, had a piece of the 12-story building. In mid-November, 1981, Holden’s dead body was discovered in a bedroom floor in a pool of blood.  He had been dead for four to five days.  A subsequent County Coroner’s investigation ruled that Holden — a heavy drinker for much of his career — had been drunk, and evidently banged his head against a night table on getting out of bed, and had passed out before he could get help.


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