Tim Holt (Charles John Holt)

Tim Holt

Tim Holt was born Charles John Holt III on born February 5, 1919, in Beverly Hills, California, the son of actor Jack Holt and Margaret Woods. During his early years, he accompanied his father on location, even appearing in an early silent film. Holt was educated at Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, graduating in 1936. Immediately afterward, he went to work in the Hollywood film business. He was the inspiration for his father’s book, Lance and His First Horse. Holt was signed to a contract by Walter Wanger in January 1937. Wanger gave him a small role in I Met My Love Again and was going to use him in Blockade, but that film was postponed. In between he portrayed Anne Shirley (actress) ‘s suitor in Stella Dallas (1937) for Sam Goldwyn, attracting the attention of RKO. That studio cast him in the western The Renegade Ranger supporting George O’Brien, then a leading star of B-westerns. RKO tried him again in The Law West of Tombstone. Wanger then used Holt in the role of young Lieutenant Blanchard in the 1939 classic Stagecoach, after which his contract expired. RKO signed Holt to a seven-year contract in December 1938. Holt soon became a favorite with RKO management, starring opposite Ginger Rogers and playing important roles in films such as The Girl and the Gambler and Swiss Family Robinson. Although he initially appeared in a number of different genres, he was particularly effective in westerns, so RKO decided to star him in a series of low budget B-pictures. These proved highly popular and Holt wound up making 46 of them for the studio in all. Holt usually played a cowboy who had one or two friends, who occasionally sang. His most frequent director was Lesley Selander and his sidekick in more than 25 of these movies was Richard Martin.

Holt would occasionally make other movies. Orson Welles cast him as the lead in his second film, The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). “It was a lucky decision,” Welles later said, calling Holt “one of the most interesting actors that’s ever been in American movies”. He also starred as a Nazi in Hitler’s Children (1943), which was one of RKO’s most profitable films during the war. Holt became a decorated combat veteran of World War II, flying in the Pacific Theatre with the United States Army Air Forces as a B-29 bombardier. He was wounded over Tokyo on the last day of the war and was awarded a purple heart. Following the war, Holt returned to films, appearing as Virgil Earp to Henry Fonda’s Wyatt Earp in the John Ford western My Darling Clementine (1946). Holt was next cast in the role for which he is probably best remembered — that of Bob Curtin to Humphrey Bogart’s Fred C. Dobbs in John Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), about two friends who team up to prospect for gold, only to have greed tear apart their partnership. Holt’s father also appeared in a small part. Before the film was released, Holt did another four westerns and afterward made two dozen more up until 1952, when television eroded the B-western market. Holt was then absent from the screen for five years until he starred in a less-than-successful horror film, The Monster That Challenged the World, in 1957. Over the next 16 years, he appeared in only two more motion pictures. However he kept busy managing theatres and making personal appearances. He worked as a builder, produced rodeos, staged and performed Western music jamborees, and worked as an advertising manager for a radio station. Holt was married three times and had four children: three sons (one to his first marriage), and a daughter. Tim Holt died from bone cancer on February 15, 1973[11] in Shawnee, Oklahoma, where he had been managing a radio station. He was interred in the Memory Lane Cemetery in Harrah, Oklahoma. Tim Holt Drive in Harrah, where he and his wife had lived, was subsequently named in his honor.

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  • February, 05, 1919
  • USA
  • Beverly Hills, California


  • February, 15, 1973
  • USA
  • Shawnee, Oklahoma

Cause of Death

  • bone cancer


  • Memory Lane Cemetery
  • Harrah, Oklahoma
  • USA

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