Just in

Hollywood alcoholics

Watching Discovering William Holden on Sky Arts made me think of the great actors we lost to alcoholism: Richard Burton, Errol Flynn, Robert Walker, Veronica Lake and William Holden. One never knows, let alone understands, why anyone falls victim to the bottle and this is certainly  the case with William Holden. He had a successful career at the top making such well-received and popular films as Sunset Boulevard and Bridge over the River Kwai. He made rom-coms, westerns and disaster movie like The Towering Inferno. He was directed by Billy Wilder and David Lean and acted alongside Alec Guinness, Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina. 

In Bridge over the River Kwai he negotiated a share of the box office and wonder if that motivated Alec Guinness to insist on a similar take in Star Wars.

My point is that he was rich, in demand and popular – so why take to the bottle? Perhaps it was the insecurity of the actor.

Oddly enough it never seems to affect his appeal to directors as he was in films all his career. He led an interesting life too, starting as a game lodge in Kenya devoted to preserving world wild life. Like many a drinker he met his end with a fall, bashing his head on a coffee table and was not discovered for 4 days.

About Neil Rosen

Neil went to the City of London School and Manchester University graduating with a 1st in economics. After a brief stint in accountancy, Neil emigrated to a kibbutz In Israel. His articles on the burgeoning Israeli film industry earned comparisons to Truffaut and Godard in Cahiers du Cinema. Now one of the world's leading film critics and moderators at film Festivals Neil has written definitively in his book Kosher Nostra on Jewish post war actors. Neil lives with his family in North London. More Posts