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Earl Holliman

Earl Holliman

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Early life

Earl Holliman was born at Delhi
Delhi, Louisiana
Delhi, originally called Deerfield, is a town in Richland Parish, Louisiana, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the town population was 3,066.-History:...

 in Richland Parish of northeastern Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

. Holliman’s biological father died before he was born, and his biological mother, living in poverty with several other children, gave him up for adoption at birth. Henry Holliman, an oil-field worker, and his wife adopted Earl and his early years were normal until his adoptive father also died when Earl was 13.

He saved money from his job ushering
Usher (occupation)
Ushers assist visitors by formally showing the way in a large building or to their appropriate seats. This may coincide with a security role. The word comes from the French huissier, with the same meaning , ushers were servants or courtiers who showed or ushered visitors in and out of meetings in...

 at a movie theater and left Shreveport, Louisiana
Shreveport, Louisiana
Shreveport is the third largest city in Louisiana. It is the principal city of the fourth largest metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana and is the 109th-largest city in the United States....

, hitchhiking to Hollywood. Unsuccessful at finding work, he soon returned to Louisiana. Meanwhile, his adoptive mother had remarried, and Holliman disliked his new stepfather. He lied about his age and enlisted in the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Assigned to a Navy communications school in Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

, he spent his free time at the Hollywood Canteen
Hollywood Canteen
The Hollywood Canteen operated at 1451 Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood, California between October 3, 1942 and November 22, 1945 as a club offering food, dancing and entertainment for servicemen, usually on their way overseas...

, talking to stars who dropped by to support the servicemen and women. A year after he enlisted, the Navy discovered his real age and discharged him.

Holliman returned home and finished high school. As soon as he was old enough, he re-enlisted in the Navy and was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. With a population of 242,803 as of the 2010 Census, it is Virginia's second-largest city behind neighboring Virginia Beach....

. Interested in acting, he was cast as the lead in several Norfolk Navy Theatre productions. When he left the Navy for good, Holliman studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse
Pasadena Playhouse
The Pasadena Playhouse is a historic performing arts venue located 39 S El Molino Avenue in Pasadena, California. The 686-seat auditorium produces a variety of cultural and artistic events, professional shows, and community engagements each year.-History:...

. He also graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Los Angeles
The University of California, Los Angeles is a public research university located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, USA. It was founded in 1919 as the "Southern Branch" of the University of California and is the second oldest of the ten campuses...


Film career

Holliman first appeared in 1953's Scared Stiff. Three years later, he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
The Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in 1944 for a performance in a motion picture released in the previous year....

 for his performance in the 1956 film, The Rainmaker
The Rainmaker (1956 film)
The Rainmaker is a 1956 film directed by Joseph Anthony and adapted by N. Richard Nash from his play The Rainmaker. The film tells the story of a middle-aged woman, suffering from unrequited love for the local town sheriff; however, she falls for a con man who comes to town with the promise that he...

. Other notable film appearances were in Broken Lance
Broken Lance
Broken Lance is a 1954 Western film made by Twentieth Century-Fox, directed by Edward Dmytryk and produced by Sol C. Siegel. The movie stars Spencer Tracy and features Katy Jurado, Richard Widmark, Robert Wagner, Jean Peters, Eduard Franz, Hugh O'Brian and Earl Holliman.Shot in color and...

, Giant, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957 film)
The film was based on a real event which took place on October 26, 1881. It was directed by John Sturges and featuring a screenplay written by novelist Leon Uris, and the movie's supporting cast included Rhonda Fleming, John Ireland, Jo Van Fleet, Martin Milner, Dennis Hopper, Jack Elam, Lee Van...

, Forbidden Planet
Forbidden Planet
Forbidden Planet is a 1956 science fiction film directed by Fred M. Wilcox, with a screenplay by Cyril Hume. It stars Leslie Nielsen, Walter Pidgeon, and Anne Francis. The characters and its setting have been compared to those in William Shakespeare's The Tempest, and its plot contains certain...

, Hot Spell
Hot Spell (film)
Hot Spell is a drama film directed by Daniel Mann, starring Shirley Booth and Anthony Quinn, and released by Paramount Pictures.-Cast:*Shirley Booth as Alma Duval*Anthony Quinn as John Henry Duval*Shirley MacLaine as Virginia Duval...

, Visit to a Small Planet
Visit to a Small Planet
Visit to a Small Planet is a 1960 Paramount Pictures film starring Jerry Lewis, based on a play by Gore Vidal. It was released on February 4, 1960.-Plot:...

, The Bridges at Toko-Ri
The Bridges at Toko-Ri
The Bridges at Toko-Ri is a 1954 film based on a novel by James Michener about a naval aviator assigned to bomb a group of heavily defended bridges during the Korean War. It was made into a motion picture by Paramount Pictures and won the Special Effects Oscar at the 28th Academy Awards...

, The Trap
The Trap (1959 film)
The Trap is a 1959 color film noir directed by Norman Panama and released through 20th-Century Fox. It stars Richard Widmark, Lee J. Cobb, Tina Louise, Earl Holliman, and Lorne Greene -Plot:...

, The Big Combo
The Big Combo
The Big Combo is an American film noir directed by Joseph H. Lewis and stylistically photographed by cinematographer and noir icon John Alton with music by David Raksin....

, The Sons of Katie Elder
The Sons of Katie Elder
The Sons of Katie Elder is a 1965 Technicolor western film directed by Henry Hathaway and starring John Wayne and Dean Martin. The movie was filmed principally in Mexico....

, Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff
Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff
Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff is a 1979 American drama film directed by Marvin J. Chomsky. The screenplay by Polly Platt is based on the 1970 novel of the same title by William Inge....

, Last Train from Gun Hill
Last Train from Gun Hill
Last Train from Gun Hill is a 1959 Western by action director John Sturges. It stars Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Carolyn Jones and Earl Holliman. Douglas and Holliman had previously appeared together in Sturges' Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, which used much of the same crew.The script is by James...

and Summer and Smoke
Summer and Smoke (film)
Summer and Smoke is a 1961 film directed by Peter Glenville based on the Tennessee Williams play of the same name.The film starred Laurence Harvey and Geraldine Page with Rita Moreno, Una Merkel, John McIntire, Thomas Gomez, Pamela Tiffin, Malcolm Atterbury, Lee Patrick and Earl Holliman...


Television career

Holliman became well known to television audiences through his role as Sundance in CBS's Hotel de Paree
Hotel de Paree
Hotel de Paree is a Western television series that aired on the CBS Friday schedule from October 2, 1959, until June 3, 1960, under the alternate sponsorship of Liggett & Myers and Kellogg's....

, with costar Jeanette Nolan
Jeanette Nolan
Jeanette Nolan was an American radio, film and television actress. Nolan was nominated for four Emmy Awards.-Early life:...

, and in the title role with Andrew Prine
Andrew Prine
Andrew Lewis Prine is an American film, stage, and television actor.-Early life and career:Prine was born in Jennings, Florida. After graduation from Andrew Jackson High School in Miami, Prine made his acting debut three years later in an episode of CBS U.S. Steel Hour...

 in NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

's The Wide Country
The Wide Country
The Wide Country is an American Western television series which aired on NBC from September 20, 1962 to April 25, 1963.-Synopsis:The series stars Earl Holliman and Andrew Prine as brothers, Mitch and Andy Guthrie, respectively, who are traveling rodeo competitors...

, a drama about modern rodeo
Rodeo is a competitive sport which arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico, and later the United States, Canada, South America and Australia. It was based on the skills required of the working vaqueros and later, cowboys, in what today is the western United States,...

 performers that aired for twenty-eight episodes in 1962–1963. In 1962, he and Claude Akins
Claude Akins
Claude Marion Akins was an American actor with a long career on stage, screen and television.Powerful in appearance and voice, Akins could be counted on to play the clever tough guy, on the side of good or bad, in movies and television. He is best remembered as Sheriff Lobo in the 1970s TV series...

 guest-starred as feuding brothers in "The Stubborn Stumbos" episode of Marilyn Maxwell
Marilyn Maxwell
Marilyn Maxwell , born Marvel Marilyn Maxwell, was an American actress and entertainer.Noted for her blonde hair and sexually alluring persona, she appeared in several films and radio programs, and entertained the troops during World War II and the Korean War on USO tours with Bob Hope.-Career:She...

's ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 drama series, The Fugitive
The Fugitive (TV series)
The Fugitive is an American drama series produced by QM Productions and United Artists Television that aired on ABC from 1963 to 1967. David Janssen stars as Richard Kimble, a doctor from the fictional town of Stafford, Indiana, who is falsely convicted of his wife's murder and given the death...

Bus Stop
Bus Stop (TV series)
Bus Stop is a 26-episode drama which aired on ABC from October 1, 1961, until March 25, 1962, starring Marilyn Maxwell as Grace Sherwood, the owner of a bus station and diner in the fictitious town of Sunrise in the Colorado Rockies...

. In 1967, Holliman guest-starred on Wayne Maunder
Wayne Maunder
Wayne E. Maunder is a retired actor, originally from Canada, who starred in three American television series between 1967 and 1974.-Three television series:...

's short-lived ABC military-western series Custer
Custer (TV series)
Custer, also known as The Legend of Custer, is a 17-episode military-western television series which ran on ABC from September 6 to December 27, 1967, with Wayne Maunder in the starring role of then Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. During the American Civil War, Custer had risen to the...

. In 1970 and 1971, Holliman made two appearances in the western comedy Alias Smith and Jones
Alias Smith and Jones
Alias Smith and Jones is an American Western series that originally aired on ABC from 1971 to 1973. It stars Pete Duel as Hannibal Heyes and Ben Murphy as Jedediah "Kid" Curry, a pair of Western cousin outlaws trying to reform...

starring Pete Duel
Pete Duel
Pete Duel was an American actor, best known for his role in the television series Alias Smith and Jones.-Early life:Peter Ellstrom Deuel was born in Rochester, New York, and grew up in nearby Penfield....

 (né Deuel) and Ben Murphy
Ben Murphy
Benjamin E. Murphy is an American actor. He is known for his role in the ABC television series Alias Smith and Jones, co-starring as Kid Curry, first with Pete Duel and later with Roger Davis.-Early life:...


From 1974–1978, he was cast as Lieutenant Bill Crowley opposite Angie Dickinson
Angie Dickinson
Angie Dickinson is an American actress. She has appeared in more than fifty films, including Rio Bravo, Ocean's Eleven, Dressed to Kill and Pay It Forward, and starred on television as Sergeant Suzanne "Pepper" Anderson on the 1970s crime series Police Woman.-Early life:Dickinson, the second of...

 in the Police Woman
Police Woman (TV series)
Police Woman is an American television police drama starring Angie Dickinson that ran on NBC for four seasons, from September 13, 1974, to March 29, 1978.-Synopsis:...

series. He also had the distinction of appearing in the first episode of CBS's The Twilight Zone
The Twilight Zone (1959 TV series)
The Twilight Zone is an American anthology television series created by Rod Serling, which ran for five seasons on CBS from 1959 to 1964. The series consisted of unrelated episodes depicting paranormal, futuristic, dystopian, or simply disturbing events; each show typically featured a surprising...

, titled "Where Is Everybody?
Where Is Everybody?
"Where Is Everybody?" is the first episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.-Plot summary:A man finds himself alone walking towards a diner. Inside he finds a jukebox playing loudly, and coffee hot on the stove, but no one else. He inquires for some breakfast, but no...

" which aired on October 2, 1959—also the night of the premiere of Hotel de Paree.

He continued to appear in television guest roles throughout the 1970s and 1980s. His most notable role during this period was in the hit mini-series The Thorn Birds
The Thorn Birds
The Thorn Birds is a 1977 best-selling novel by Colleen McCullough, an Australian author.In 1983 it was adapted as a television mini-series that, during its television run 27–30 March, became the United States' second highest rated mini-series of all time behind Roots; both series were produced by...

with Richard Chamberlain
Richard Chamberlain
George Richard Chamberlain is an American actor of stage and screen who became a teen idol in the title role of the television show Dr. Kildare .-Early life:...

 and Rachel Ward
Rachel Ward
Rachel Claire Ward, AM is a British actress, columnist, film director, and screenwriter who has primarily pursued her career in Australia.-Early life:...

. He also took part in the Gunsmoke reunion movie "Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge
Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge
Gunsmoke: Return to Dodge is the first TV-movie based on the 20-year television version of Gunsmoke starring James Arness. Retired US Marshal Matt Dillon, now a fur trapper, is shot by thieves, brought back to Dodge, and nursed by Kitty Russel...

in 1987 as Jake Flagg.

Holliman also starred in the 1997-1999 television series Night Man
Night Man
Night Man is an American action/adventure/sci-fi series that aired in syndication from September 15, 1997 to May 17, 1999. The series is loosely based on a comic book published by Malibu Comics and was created by Steve Englehart and developed for television by Glen A...

as Frank Domino, a semi-retired police officer and protagonist character's father.

Later life and career

Earl Holliman owned the Fiesta Dinner Playhouse in San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...

. He occasionally performed at his theater when he wasn’t working in Hollywood, including starring in Same Time, Next Year
Same Time, Next Year
Same Time, Next Year is 1975 comedy play by Bernard Slade. The plot focuses on two people, married to others, who meet for a romantic tryst once a year for two dozen years.-Plot:...

with Julie Sommars
Julie Sommars
Julie Sommars is an American actress. She played assistant District Attorney Julie March on the TV series, Matlock from 1987 to 1994...

 in 1983. The facility closed after 1987.

Other awards

Holliman earned a nomination for a Golden Globe Award
Golden Globe Award
The Golden Globe Award is an accolade bestowed by the 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association recognizing excellence in film and television, both domestic and foreign...

 for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a television Series" for his acting with Delta Burke
Delta Burke
Delta Ramona Leah Burke is an American television and film actress. Her television work includes a leading role as Suzanne Sugarbaker in the CBS sitcom Designing Women...

 in her short-lived 1992 series Delta
Delta (TV series)
Delta is a short-lived U.S television sitcom series produced by ABC starring Delta Burke. Burke plays a woman who leaves her life behind to pursue her dream as a country music singer...


For his contribution to the television industry, Holliman has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame consists of more than 2,400 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California...

at 6901 Hollywood Blvd.

Holliman is also known for his work as an animal-rights activist, including more than 25 years as president of Actors and Others for Animals.

External links