Phillips Holmes

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Phillips Holmes
Phillips Holmes 1933 still.jpg
Holmes in 1933
Phillips Raymond Holmes

(1907-07-22)July 22, 1907
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.
DiedAugust 12, 1942(1942-08-12) (aged 35)
Ontario, Canada
Resting placeGate of Heaven Cemetery
Other namesPhillips R. Holmes
EducationTrinity College
University of Grenoble
Princeton University
Lobby card with Wallace Beery, Jean Arthur and Holmes in 1929
Clara Bow and Holmes in The Wild Party (1929)
Phillips Holmes in Her Man (1930)
With Lionel Atwill in Nana (1934)

Phillips Raymond Holmes (July 22, 1907 – August 12, 1942) was an American actor. For his contributions to the film industry, he was posthumously given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the son of Edna Phillips and stage star Taylor Holmes, Holmes enjoyed a privileged childhood and received his education at Trinity College, Cambridge, the University of Grenoble and a year at Princeton University where he was spotted in the undergraduate crowd during the filming of Frank Tuttle's Varsity in 1928 and offered a screen test.[1] In the early 1930s, he became a popular leading man, playing leads in a few important productions, notably in Josef von Sternberg's An American Tragedy (1931).[2]

At Paramount, he starred in melodrama and comedy. In 1933, his contract with Paramount ran out and he moved to MGM for one year. As the decade progressed, Holmes' career declined, and he appeared in a few box-office failures, including Sam Goldwyn's poorly received Nana (1934).[3] His last American movie was General Spanky (1936).[2] In 1938, he appeared in two UK movies. Housemaster was his last film, and he returned to acting on stage in the United States.[citation needed][4]


In 1933, Holmes was driving with actress Mae Clarke when he crashed into a parked car.[5] Clarke, who suffered a broken jaw and facial cuts, sued Holmes for US$21,500 (equivalent to $450,063 in 2021), claiming that he had been driving while drunk.[5] Clarke dropped the suit when Holmes agreed to pay her medical expenses.[5] The changes in her face adversely affected her burgeoning career in the long run (in 1931, she had played both Victor Frankenstein's bride in Frankenstein and the recipient of a half grapefruit in the face from James Cagney in The Public Enemy).

Military service and death[edit]

At the start of World War II, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was killed in a mid-air collision in northwest Ontario, Canada.[6][7]


Holmes has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Phillips Holmes '30 – Going Hollywood and After" Archived 2012-02-16 at the Wayback Machine (PDF format). Princeton University Library Chronicle, Volume 31, Autumn 1969.
  2. ^ a b "Phillips Holmes | Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos". AllMovie.
  3. ^ "Phillips Holmes". Speakeasy. 2014-10-31. Retrieved 2018-01-02.
  4. ^ "Phillips Holmes". BFI.
  5. ^ a b c Mank, Gregory William (2005-05-17). Women in Horror Films, 1930s. McFarland. ISBN 9780786423347.
  6. ^ Buller, Richard P. (2005). A Beautiful Fairy Tale: The Life of Actress Lois Moran. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9780879103125.
  7. ^ Database (undated). "Phillips Holmes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  8. ^ "Phillips Holmes". October 25, 2019.

External links[edit]