Earl Holliman

Active - 1952 - 2020  |   Born - Sep 11, 1928   |   Genres - Drama, Western, Mystery, Action, Adventure

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Biography by Hal Erickson

While many of Earl Holliman's bucolic screen characters tended to shy away from "book learnin," Holliman himself is a graduate of UCLA. Making his film debut with a one-line bit as a bellboy in Martin and Lewis' Scared Stiff (1953), Holliman went on to featured and co-starring roles in westerns and military dramas, usually cast as a hot-headed rustic with a streak of manic unpredictability. His larger film roles include the comic-relief cook in Forbidden Planet (1956), Katharine Hepburn's girl-happy brother in The Rainmaker (1956)--a performance that earned him a Golden Globe nomination--and Matt Elder in the John Wayne starrer Sons of Katie Elder (1965). A nearly inescapable presence on television, Holliman turned in some impressive work on the many live TV anthologies of the 1950s. His portrayal of a shipwrecked marine in the 1958 Kraft Theatre production "The Sea is Boiling Hot," in which he carried on a one-sided debate with monolingual Japanese officer Sessue Hayakawa, led to his being cast in a similar solo turn in the 1959 Twilight Zone pilot episode "Where is Everybody?" His series-TV credits include the roles of gunslinger-turned-hotelier Sundance in Hotel de Paree (1959), bronco buster Mitch Guthrie in Wide Country (1962), Palm Springs private eye Matthew Durning in PS I Luv U (1991) and barkeep Darden Towe in Delta (1992). Undoubtedly his most famous TV assignment was as Angie Dickinson's superior officer Lt. Bill Crowley in the weekly Police Woman (1974-78). Most recently Earl Holliman made a most welcome guest appearance as Lea Thompson's Wisconsinite dad in the TV sitcom Caroline in the City.

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