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Tim Holt

Tim Holt
Tim Holt, 1948
Born Charles John Holt III
(1919-02-05)February 5, 1919
Beverly Hills, California, USA
Died February 15, 1973(1973-02-15) (aged 54)
Shawnee, Oklahoma, USA
Cause of death Bone cancer
Occupation Actor
Years active 1927–71
  • Virginia Ashcroft (m. 1938–44) (1 child)
  • Alice Harrison (m. 1944–52)
  • Birdee Stephens (m. 1952–73) (3 children)

Tim Holt (February 5, 1919 – February 15, 1973) was an American film actor best known for his youthful leading roles in dozens of westerns along with his co-starring role opposite Humphrey Bogart in the 1948 film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.[1]


  • Early life 1
  • Acting career 2
    • RKO Pictures 2.1
    • Post-war 2.2
    • Later career 2.3
  • Personal life 3
  • Legacy 4
  • Filmography 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Tim Holt was born Charles John Holt III on born February 5, 1919, in Beverly Hills, California, the son of actor Jack Holt and Margaret Woods.[1] During his early years, he accompanied his father on location, even appearing in an early silent film.[2] Holt was educated at Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, graduating in 1936.[2] Immediately afterward, he went to work in the Hollywood film business.[1]

He was the inspiration for his father's book, Lance and His First Horse.

Acting career

Holt was signed to a contract by The Law West of Tombstone.

Wanger then used Holt in the role of young Lieutenant Blanchard in the 1939 classic Stagecoach, after which his contract expired. RKO signed Holt to a seven-year contract in December 1938.[6][7][8]

RKO Pictures

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, so RKO decided to star him in a series of low budget B-pictures. 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 and his sidekick in more than 25 of these movies was Richard Martin.

Holt would occasionally make other movies. Orson Welles cast him as the lead in his second film, The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). "It was a lucky decision," Welles later said, calling Holt "one of the most interesting actors that's ever been in American movies".[9]:113 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.[1] He was wounded over Tokyo on the last day of the war and was awarded a purple heart.[10]


Tim Holt in the trailer for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Following the war, Holt returned to films, appearing as Virgil Earp to Henry Fonda's Wyatt Earp in the John Ford western My Darling Clementine (1946).

Holt was next cast in the role for which he is probably best remembered — that of Bob Curtin to Humphrey Bogart's Fred C. Dobbs in John Huston's The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), about two friends who team up to prospect for gold, only to have greed tear apart their partnership. Holt's father also appeared in a small part.

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.

Later career

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.[1] He worked as a builder, produced rodeos, staged and performed Western music jamborees, and worked as an advertising manager for a radio station.[8]

Personal life

Holt was married three times and had four children: three sons (one to his first marriage), and a daughter.

Tim Holt died from bone cancer on February 15, 1973[11] 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.[1]


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.[8]

In 1991, Tim Holt was inducted posthumously into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In 1992, the Golden Boot Awards honored Holt for his lifetime contributions to western cinema.



  1. ^ a b c d e f "Tim Holt". The New York Times. Retrieved October 12, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Tim Holt". B-Westerns. Retrieved October 12, 2012. 
  3. ^ Graham, Sheilah. "Schulberg Casts Sylvia Sidney in Krasna Feature". Los Angeles Times (1923–Current file). 07 January 1937: 8.
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Holt played young Lieutenant Blanchard in the 1939 classic Stagecoach.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ a b c Mott, Robert. "Tim Holt, Actor in Western Films, Dies", The Washington Post. 17 February 1973: B6.
  9. ^  
  10. ^ Hopper, Hedda. "Looking at Hollywood". Los Angeles Times (1923–Current file). 18 October 1945: 10.
  11. ^ Western star Tim Holt dies

External links

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