85. William Holden
Peak of Hotness: The 1950's
Best Known For: Playing the cynical sex symbol in a host of films, particularly in the early to mid 50's, including Born Yesterday, Sunset Boulevard, Stalag 17, Sabrina and Network.
After my first solo post last time, I'm back with another collaboration. Told you they weren't going away! Joining me to discuss today's hunk is my friend Jesse (whom you can follow on Twitter here). Let's get crackin', shall we?
Dame James: When did you first encounter William and, if it wasn't love at first sight, when did you fall in love with him?
Jesse: Okay, this is a weird one. Talking about sexy men who died before we were alive is kind of morbid in a way, don't you think? I want to jump his bones, but he was six feet under nine years before I was even born.
Nevertheless, the first time I encountered William Holden was when I was really young. I remember watching Network on TV when I was 11 or 12. I was mesmerized by Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway mostly. I guess I didn't really find Holden attractive because he was quite old at the time. 60 maybe? Years later, when I started to become more interested in film and being ravaged by men, is when I realized how gorgeous Holden was when he was younger. I remember going to the library and taking out Born Yesterday, Sunset Blvd. and Picnic. After watching Picnic I completely fell in love with him. I had dreams about a lovely drifter having his way with me at a local picnic for months afterwards.
I remember my father had the movie poster for Stalag 17 hanging in the living room of our house. The poster is basically comprised of William Holden's face and not much else. He's holding a cigar and has this smug look on his face. I would stare at this poster for what felt like hours. I admired him so. He's so classically handsome, definitely in the same league as Cary Grant and the like.
DJ: Morbid? Perhaps. I'm usually so distracted by the sexiness that I never think of whether its right or wrong to be attracted to dead men. It probably is a tad weird in the grand scheme of things, but part of my mission with this project is to shine a light on sexy men from the past. Because, as sad and weird as it sounds, not everyone knows about these hot movie stars from the 50's.
I can't remember which William Holden film I saw first, but it was definitely between Sunset Boulevard and Network. Both films remain two of my favorites of all time, but I don't think I noticed William's sexiness in either right away: Network for the reasons of age you already mentioned and Sunset Boulevard because, well, I'm still not sure. I guess I needed a bit of time with that one. Just like you, oddly enough, I think the one film that truly sold me on him as a sexual object was Picnic. I couldn't tell you anything about the film's plot anymore, but the memory of him as this sexy drifter/hulking object of lust to Kim Novak's character remains permanently etched into my brain. Boy, would I love to be invited to that picnic of yours.
J: You can certainly attend that picnic, but I don't think there will be much eating involved.
DJ: Well, we'd be eating something. It just won't be food.
Part of the reason William continues to be a favorite of mine, in addition to that chest, is the fact that he was a Hollywood leading man who often played cynical bastards. Considering the time period he worked in and the fact that he made this his stock in trade after the immense success of Sunset Boulevard, I find it miraculous he was able to make it work for so long. Hollywood has always had hard-boiled, rough leading men such as Bogie & Cagney, but not many of them could be considered a sex symbol in the way Holden was. And did he ever make it work for himself! Maybe William is where my attraction to dark, pessimistic men started. Does William's persona do anything for you or are you strictly a "Take off your shirt and let's do this, William" sort of fella?
J: I like to think I fall into both of those categories. His rugged persona is definitely his appeal and that leads to me saying "take off your shirt and let's do this, William".
I say that every time I see one of his movies. Hell, I even said that the first time I saw him in that iconic episode of I Love Lucy. The way Lucille Ball creeps on him in that episode is exactly how I would have gone about that situation as well. Buttering my hand and everything.
DJ: Oh man, I totally forgot he was on that episode of I Love Lucy! That's definitely where I first saw him, although it was in a time when the oldest movie I had ever seen was The Little Mermaid and I was in love with Emma "Baby Spice" Bunton. Needless to say, I was merely a shadow of the Dame I am today. My, oh my, have times changed.
Please tell me this Old Hollywood hunk strikes your fancy. We may not be able to be friends if he doesn't.