Yeah, I missed December 7 - Pearl Harbour Day. How many people reading this blog were alive in 1941? Memories aren’t fading; they’re not living. I remember a plot point in the movie Stalag 17 whereby the star, William Holden (1918-1981), challenged a fellow prisoner, demanding to know what time of day it was when the Pearl Harbour news was announced. It was supper time for the man because he was not in the USA, he was in Germany- therefore, he was German, therefore, he was a mole. (Holden won the Oscar for his leading role.)
I was at the Kenya resort Holden established after he fell in love with Africa and the wildlife .
“His Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki (founded 1959) became a mecca for the international jet set. On a trip to Africa, he fell in love with the wildlife and became increasingly concerned with the animal species that were beginning to decrease in population. With the help of his partners, he created the Mount Kenya Game Ranch and inspired the creation of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation. The Mount Kenya Game Ranch works to assist in Kenya with the wildlife education of its youth. Within the Mount Kenya Game Ranch is the Mount Kenya Conservancy, which runs an animal orphanage as well as the Bongo Rehabilitation Program in collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Service. The orphanage provides shelter and care for orphans, injured and neglected animals found in the wild, with the aim of releasing these animals back into the wild whenever possible. The conservancy is home to the critically endangered East African mountain bongo, and aims to prevent its extinction by breeding.” Wikipedia
He was married for thirty years to the actress Brenda Marshall, and we were told there was always accommodation for her at the Club out of respect for their longstanding relationship, but he had a few affairs, notably (to me) with Audrey Hepburn when they were filming Sabrina. An affair with the French actress Capucine ended because of his alcoholism, which was ultimately the cause of his death. Long before I read the cause in the online bio, I knew it. On that photographic safari I went on in Africa, our Great White Hunter aka our guide had been a close friend of Bill’s, as he called him. Apparently one night when Holden was drunk going to bed he stumbled and hit his head on the edge of - the night table?- and didn’t realize how deep a wound he had sustained. He bled out; his body wasn’t discovered for four days.
His last name was Beedle.
Now how did I get onto this? Because of December 7.
Blog along with me.
addendum re comment: I knew about Stephanie Powers, too. Their relationship had lasted nine years until his death and she said that he had been the love of her life and she helped found the William Holden Wildlife Foundation in his name. Ai me…