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Inside William Holden’s Frightening Final Moments

It’s kind of hard to believe but William Holden has been dead now for almost 4 decades. He was one of the finest actors of his time. He first came onto the scene with his 1939 hit film Golden Boy. After that, he starred in a screen adaption of the film Our Town that further established him as one of Hollywood’s leading men.

By the early to mid-1950s, he was starring in one hit film after another such as Sunset Boulevard in 1950, The Country Girl in 1954, and Picnic in 1955. And who could forget the epic period piece The Bridge on the River Kwai in 1957? 

Despite his far-reaching fame and the fact that he won an Academy Award in 1954. William Holden’s life was full of struggle and hardship. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the Inside William Holden Frightening Final Moments.

One of the biggest hurdles that he faced was his lifelong, very public battle with drinking and alcoholism. It would seem that his one weakness was always the bottle. Once he took that first sip, it was off to the races, and eventually, this affliction started to take a toll on his personal and professional life.

Holden’s problematic drinking started negatively affecting his chiseled good looks in the 1960s. Although he was still relatively young by Hollywood’s standards. He was considered an old-school actor and started losing roles to younger up-and-coming actors like Paul Newman and Steve McQueen.

In turn, this led to Holden feeling compelled to drink more and more. He did continue to star in a few good films like The Wild Bunch in 1969, The Towering Inferno in 1974, and S.O.B in 1981. Although by that time he no longer had the youthful veneer of a handsome young leading man like he used to. 

The years of heavy drinking had seriously taken a heavy toll on his physical appearance not to mention his physical and mental well-being. After drinking like a fish for decades on in, Holden found himself pretty much washed up.

Holden called Santa Monica, California his home in 1981. He was part-owner of The Shorecliff Towers high-rise apartment building on Ocean Avenue. William Holden himself lived on the building’s fourth floor at unit number 43. He was well-known for being a very private individual. Even his neighbors reported only ever receiving the occasional head nod from the elusive actor.

He was also notorious for having the bad habit of dropping off the face of the earth from time to time. His disappearing acts became more and more frequent towards the end of his life. And he would hardly ever give anyone notice before vanishing for weeks at a time. That’s actually, exactly why it took so long for anyone to find him.

According to the autopsy report, Holden was already dead for a week before his body was discovered. Its been shown that he spoke to his girlfriend Stephanie Powers seven days before he likely passed away. She reported that he was drinking at the time when he gave her a ring. But beyond that, he seemed like his normal self and was without any complaints or major concerns. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the Inside William Holden Frightening Final Moments.

On Monday, November 16, 1981, the apartment buildings manager Bill Martin decided to investigate Holden’s absence and let himself into his apartment via a passkey. What he saw when he walked through that door most certainly stuck with him for the rest of his life.

According to the report he gave the police when Mr. Martin entered the apartment. All of the lights were off, except for the television set which was still blaring. He used a flashlight to navigate the apartment. Holden’s corpse was found in a robe and shirt laying on the floor.

The robe was reportedly folded back and beneath his body with his right arm was placed through the robe’s sleeve while his left arm was curled up beneath his body. It would seem that Holden was attempting to dress himself when he either loss consciousness or tripped and ultimately passed away after sustaining major head trauma.

Further examination revealed a deep gash on his forehead approximately 3 inches in length. Holden’s doctor arrived on the scene and speculated that he might have started vomiting up blood and potentially lacerated the lower portion of his esophagus.

At the scene, investigators recovered a large empty bottle of vodka in his trash can as well as 4 beer boles and a mostly full bottle of vodka on his kitchen counter. Disturbingly, there was a large amount of blood surrounding his body and soaked into his bedding and sheets. Judging from the condition of his body, investigators estimated that he had been dead for approximately 4 days before being found.

According to a report put out by the chief medical examiner, Holden appeared to have tripped on a throw rug before hitting his head sharply on the nightstand. He slammed into the piece of furniture with such force that it was jammed about three to four inches into the plaster wall. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the Inside William Holden’s Frightening Final Moments.

Holden likely didn’t realize the extent of his injury and apparently tried to stop the bleeding on his own. 8 blood-soaked tissues were found next to his body and so was a working telephone which he could have used to call for medical help. But instead, he likely died of blood loss within about 15 minutes of his accident.

William Holden was only 63 years old when he passed away. But enough about his death, let’s take a moment to celebrate his life.

But before we dive into his early years and accomplishments, take a moment to show us a little support by giving this video a like and subscribing to our channel if you haven’t already.

William Holden’s Early Life And Career 

On April 17, 1918, William Franklin Beedle Jr of O’Fallon, Illinois came into the world. He was the eldest child of three. His father William Franklin Beedle St was an industrial chemist and his mother, Mary Blanche Ball was an educator. The Beedle family made the move to Pasadena, California when William was just three years old.

Holden was of English descent, and his paternal Great-Grandmother, Rebecca Westfield who was born in England in 1817. And was one of his first ancestors to immigrate to America. Some of his mother’s ancestors found their way to the States in the 17th century. And they all hailed from Milenback, Lancaster, England.

While in high school and junior college, Holden immersed himself in sports. He thought he could somehow ‘prove himself’ to his demanding father through athletic achievement.

While studying chemistry at Pasadena Junior College, he involved in local radio programs and earned himself roles in several productions put on by the Pasadena Playhouse. He was ‘discovered’ by a Paramount Pictures talent scout in 1937.

As a young-buck actor who was easy on the eyes but not quite refined yet as a performer. Holden landed small bit parts in films like Prison Farm in 1938 and Million Dollar Legs in 1939. He was then chosen out of 65 other candidates to play Joe Bonaparte in the Columbia pictures production of Golden Boy. And it which proved to be the film that landed him on the proverbial map. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the Inside William Holden’s Frightening Final Moments.

Hollywood’s Shining “Golden Boy”

It’s not particularly common for a Hollywood star to be made overnight. But William Holden beat all the odds by achieving his instant stardom with his very first leading role. 

Yes, the part that established him as a Hollywood powerhouse was the wholesome young prizefighter who just wants to be a violinist in Golden Boy.

Even though he clearly had talent, his lack of experience made shooting very difficult and after just two weeks of filming. Columbia’s president Harry Cohn had half the mind to fire him. But his co-star Barbara Stanwyck, who had a great deal of respect for Holden. Managed to convince the executive to rethink his decision.

Holden’s performance in that film received with almost unanimous acclaim. And he was forever in Stanwyck’s debt for believing in him enough to ‘pull him through’ that picture. After Columbia Pictures signed him to a contract, he suddenly one of the most in-demand polished leading men in Tinseltown.

His early films didn’t necessarily take full advantage of his talents but he amassed a sizeable fan-following nonetheless that was quite impressive. One of his early feats after Golden Boy Our Town in 1940 followed by hit features like I Wanted Wings in 1941. The Remarkable Andrew, The Fleets In and Meet The Stewarts all in 1942, and Young and Willing in 1943.

During World War II, Holden served in the Army Air Corps where he acted in training films. And promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. After the war, he returned to the screen in 1947, first with a cameo appearance in the film Variety Girl then in a leading role in Blaze of Noon. He rounded out the remainder of the 1940s starring in films like Streets of Laredo, Miss Grant Takes Richmond, and Dear Wife.

In 1950, he played Gigolo Joe Gillis in Sunset Blvd and then a tutor in Born Yesterday later that year. He followed these roles up by playing a cynical military sergeant in the Oscar-winning 1953 film Stalag 17. He remained popular throughout the 50s. Appearing in films like Picnic in 1955 and The Bridge on the River Kwai in 1957. The latter proved to be one of his most financially lucrative film roles making him an instant multi-millionaire. He invested much of his earnings from that film into various business ventures including a radio station in Hong Kong.

By the end of the decade, Holden had relocated to Geneva, Switzerland. But spent the majority of his free time traveling the world. In the 60s, Holden founded the exclusive Mount Kenya Safari Club with his oil-tycoon billionaire friend Ray Ryan and Swiss financier Carl Hirschmann.

Right around this time, Holden’s films dropped substantially in quality as he spent more and more of his free time focusing on his hobbies and business dealings. By the 1960s, Holden’s drinking had already started to detrimentally affect his physical appearance. His face was so heavily lined in 1969 when he appeared in The Wild Bunch. That one critic likened it to a map of the United States.

His last two commercial hits, 1974s The Towering Inferno and 1976s Network pretty much wrapped up his decades-long career. Following his passing, Stefanie Powers, William’s girlfriend at the time of his death. Helped set up the William Holden Wildlife Foundation and Educational Center in Kenya. He also earned himself a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

It really is disturbing how William Holden died. It’s pretty safe to say that his heavy drinking is what led to his accidental injury. But that really shouldn’t be cause for any judgment. Alcoholism can be a fickle foe, and in Holden’s case, it was a mortal enemy. Join Facts Verse to learn more about the Inside William Holden Frightening Final Moments.

But now’s the time for you to shine! Let us know in the comments section which one of his films you appreciate the most between The Towering Inferno and Sunset Blvd.

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