Tim Holt, 1948
|Born||Charles John Holt III
February 5, 1919
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
|Died||February 15, 1973
Shawnee, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Birdee Stephens (1952-1973) (his death)
Virginia Ashcroft (?-?) (divorced)
Alice Harrison (?-?) (divorced)
Tim Holt (February 5, 1919 – February 15, 1973) was an American film actor best known for his youthful leading roles in Western films and his co-starring role opposite Humphrey Bogart in the 1948 film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
Charles John Holt III was born February 5, 1919 in Beverly Hills, California, the son of actor Jack Holt and Margaret Woods. During his early years, he accompanied his father on location, even appearing in an early silent film. Holt was educated at Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, graduating in 1936. Immediately afterward, he went to work in the Hollywood film business.
Holt was signed to a contract by Walter Wanger in January 1937. Wanger gave him a small role in I Met My Love Again and was going to use him in Blockade, but that film was postponed. In between he portrayed Anne Shirley's suitor in Stella Dallas (1937) for Sam Goldwyn, attracting the attention of RKO. They cast him in the Western The Renegade Ranger supporting George O'Brien, who was their leading star of B-westerns. RKO tried him again in The Law West of Tombstone. Wanger then used Holt in the role of young Lieutenant Blanchard in the 1939 classic Stagecoach, then his contract expired. However RKO signed Holt to a seven year contract in December 1938.
Holt soon became a favorite with RKO management, starring opposite Ginger Rogers and playing important roles in films such as The Girl and the Gambler and Swiss Family Robinson. Although he initially appeared in a number of different genres, he was particularly effective in Westerns and RKO decided to star him in a series of low budget B-westerns. These proved highly popular and Holt wound up making 46 of them for the studio in all. Holt usually played a cowboy who had one or two friends, who occasionally sang. His most frequent director was Lesley Selander.
Holt would occasionally make other movies. His best known one was the lead in Orson Welles's The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). He also starred as a Nazi in Hitler's Children (1943), which was one of RKO's most profitable films during the war.
Holt became a decorated combat veteran of World War II, flying in the Pacific Theatre with the United States Army Air Forces as a B-29 bombardier. He was wounded over Tokyo on the last day of the war and was awarded a purple heart.
Holt was next cast in the role that he is probably best remembered for (in a film in which his father also appeared in a small part)—that of Bob Curtin to Humphrey Bogart's Fred C. Dobbs in John Huston's The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948).
Before the film was released, Holt did another four westerns and afterward made two dozen more up until 1952, when television eroded the B-western market.
Holt was then absent from the screen for five years until he starred in a less-than-successful horror film, The Monster That Challenged the World, in 1957. Over the next 16 years, he appeared in only two more motion pictures. However he kept busy managing theatres and making personal appearances. He worked as a builder, produced rodeos, staged and performed Western music jamborees, and worked as an advertising manager for a radio station.
Holt was married twice and had four children: three sons (one to his first marriage), and a daughter.
Tim Holt died from bone cancer on February 15, 1973 in Shawnee, Oklahoma, where he had been managing a radio station. He was interred in the Memory Lane Cemetery in Harrah, Oklahoma. Tim Holt Drive in Harrah, where he and his wife had lived, was subsequently named in his honor.
Robert Mott of the Washington Post later said of Holt:
Holt was the hero, strong and silent and always more comfortable in the presence of boots and saddles, horses and he-men, than with the heroine – though he almost invariably ended up marrying her... Like many sons of famous entertainers, Tim Holt never achieved the stature of his father, and projected a bland image in contrast with the elder Holt's strong characterisation.
- "Tim Holt". The New York Times. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
- "Tim Holt". B-Westerns. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
- Graham, Sheilah. "Schulberg Casts Sylvia Sidney in Krasna Feature". Los Angeles Times (1923–Current file). 07 January 1937: 8.
- "Screen News Here and in Hollywood: Plans to Produce 'Personal History' Are Abandoned for the Present by Wanger – 'Tropic Holiday' to Open, Bob Burns and Martha Raye to Be Featured in Picture at Paramount This Morning Of Local Origin, Special to the New York Times". New York Times (1923–Current file). 29 June 1938: 15.
- Schallert, Edwin. "James Foran, Brother of Dick, Will Make Debut as Comedy Star: John Howard Latest Choice for 'Drummond'". Los Angeles Times (1923–Current file). 14 June 1937: 6.
- Holt played young Lieutenant Blanchard in the 1939 classic Stagecoach.
- "Screen News Here and in Hollywood: Dick Powell, Joan Blondell to Leave Warners – Miss Lindsay in Mystery Play – Two Foreign Films Today 'Little Flower,' Made in France, and the Italian, 'Amore in Quarantena,' Will Open, Miss Lindsay Gets Lead, Coast Scripts Of Local Origin, Special to The New York Times". New York Times (1923–Current file). 12 December 1938: 26.
- Mott, Robert. "Tim Holt, Actor in Western Films, Dies", The Washington Post. 17 February 1973: B6.
- Hopper, Hedda. "Looking at Hollywood". Los Angeles Times (1923–Current file). 18 October 1945: 10.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tim Holt.|
- Tim Holt at the Internet Movie Database
- Tim Holt at Find a Grave
- The Colt Revolver in the American West—Tim Holt's Single Action Army