William Holden

Born to a wealthy family in O'Fallon, Ill., on April 17, 1918, as William Franklin Beedle Jr., William Holden changed his name and became a dependable and handsome Hollywood lead, making his film debut alongside Barbara Stanwyck in Golden Boy (1939).

He hit his stride with a string of memorable roles in Born Yesterday (1950); Sunset Boulevard (1950); Stalag 17 (1953), which earned him an Oscar; Executive Suite (1954); Sabrina (1954); Picnic (1956); The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957); The Counterfeit Traitor (1962) and The Wild Bunch (1969).

Despite a general slump in the 1970s, Holden earned an Emmy for his television debut in "The Blue Knights" (1973) and marked another career high with an Oscar-nominated performance in Network (1976). He died on Nov. 16, 1981, from an accidental fall at the age of 63.