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Jack Holt (actor): Wikis


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Jack Holt
Born Charles John Holt
May 31, 1888(1888-05-31)
Fordham, New York, United States
Died January 18, 1951 (aged 62)
Sawtelle, Los Angeles, California, United States
Spouse(s) Margaret Woods
1916 - 1951
Three children[1]

Jack Holt (May 31, 1888 – January 18, 1951) was an American motion picture actor. He was a leading man of silent and sound films, and was known for his many roles in Westerns.


Early life

Holt was born Charles John Holt in New York City.[1] He grew up in Winchester, Virginia, and he often said he was born there. Back in Manhattan, Holt attended Trinity School. He then enrolled in the Virginia Military Institute, but his misbehavior got him expelled. He stopped trying to become a lawyer and went on the road, taking odd jobs. North of San Francisco in 1914, he volunteered to tumble down a very steep embankment into the Russian River in a stunt for a film crew shooting a scene for Salomy Jane. In gratitude, the director gave him a bit part in the film.[1]

Film career

Holt went to Hollywood and picked up some stunt and bit part assignments in serials. At Universal Pictures, Holt's on-screen performances caught the attention of Francis Ford and his brother John Ford, and Grace Cunard. Holt worked as a supporting player for them at Universal Pictures, and starred in serials.[1]

Holt, with his dapper mustache, prominent jaw, and quick-with-his-fists manner, personified rugged masculinity. Holt became Columbia Pictures' most reliable leading man, and scored personal successes in three Frank Capra action dramas, Submarine (1928), Flight (1929), and Dirigible (1931), Holt's no-nonsense characterizations were eclipsed by those of younger, tough-talking actors like James Cagney and Chester Morris, but Holt continued to work in low-budget action features, almost always for Columbia, through 1940. Holt's long tenure at Columbia came to an end when he had an argument with studio chief Harry Cohn. Cohn, anxious to teach the actor a lesson in humility, gave him a low-prestige assignment: the starring role in a 15-chapter serial. Holt made the serial—Holt of the Secret Service (1941)—and it turned out well enough for Columbia to promote it vigorously, introducing this veteran action star to serial audiences. But that was the last straw for the proud Holt, who left Columbia for other studios.

In later years Holt became an elder statesman among action stars, as in Trail of Robin Hood (1950), where he is the senior member of a cowboy fraternity including Roy Rogers, Allan Lane, Tom Keene, Tom Tyler, Kermit Maynard, and Rex Allen. His son, Tim Holt, had established himself as a star in his own right, and Jack Holt played against type (as a grubby vagrant) in Tim's famous film, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948). Jack Holt's daughter, Jennifer Holt, also enjoyed a successful screen career, mostly in Universal Pictures westerns. The only time Jack, Tim and Jennifer worked together was in 1946 when the three Holts appeared together on a CBS radio program entitled "All Star Western Theater", a country flavored show featuring Western music by Foy Willing and the Riders of the Purple Sage with a dramatic sketch. The Holts played father, son and daughter.[1]


Jack Holt died from a heart attack in Los Angeles, California and is buried there in the Los Angeles National Cemetery.[1]


For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Jack Holt has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6313-½ Hollywood Blvd. Holt was the visual inspiration for Chester Gould's "Dick Tracy" and Al Capp's "Fearless Fosdick."[1] Margaret Mitchell, when discussing the movie casting of her character Rhett Butler (a process in which she had no say) expressed a preference for Holt as Butler, because her personal favorite, Charles Boyer, had a French accent.[2]

Partial filmography


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Internet Movie Database. Biography for Jack Holt. Retrieved on August 2, 2009.
  2. ^ Edwards, Anne. Road to Tara - The Life of Margaret Mitchell. New Haven and New York: Ticknor and Fields, 1983

External links

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