William Holden (April 17, 1918 – November 12, 1981) was an American actor best known for his performances in "Sunset Boulevard," "Bridge on the River Kwai," "Stalag 17," "The Wild Bunch," and "Network."
Holden won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1954, and the Emmy Award for Best Actor in 1974. One of the top stars of the 1950s, he was named one of the "Top 10 stars of the year" six times (1954–1958, 1961) and appeared on the American Film Institute's AFI's 100 Years…100 Stars list as #25.
In late 1980 Holden reportedly was diagnosed with lung cancer after visiting a lung specialist in Hanover, Germany.
Holden was alone and intoxicated in his apartment in Santa Monica, California, when he apparently slipped on a throw rug, severely lacerated his head on a night table, and bled to death. Evidence suggests he was conscious for at least half-an-hour after the fall but may not have realized the severity of the injury and did not summon aid or was unable to call for help. His body was found on November 16, 1981, but forensic evidence suggests Holden probably died four days earlier.
Being a private individual, Holden dictated in his will that the Neptune Society cremate him and scatter his ashes in the Pacific Ocean. He wanted no funeral service nor any memorial service.