How tall is William Holden

William Holden's Height

5ft 10.5in (179 cm)

American actor best remembered for appearing in such films as Sunset Boulevard, Network, The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Country Girl, Sabrina, The Wild Bunch, The Towering Inferno, Stalag 17 and The Horse Soldiers.


Studio Photo, via Wikimedia Commons

Add a Comment 74 comments

Average Guess (1 Votes)
5ft 10.5in
Tom said on 4/Sep/16
James, Holden didn't wear lifts. Never. Not in a single feature. Bogart was listed in his Navy exam as being 5-7.5.
Mackie Messer said on 3/Sep/16
According to this site, Bogart was 5'8", which would put Holden at 6', at least.
James said on 2/Sep/16
Holden probably wore lifts to look even taller than Bogart, who he hated.
Tom said on 23/Aug/16
Bogart was 5-7. In Sabrina he didn't appear to be wearing his usual lifts. So adding four inches we get 5-11.
Mackie Messer said on 20/Aug/16
I'm watching Sabrina on TCM and Holden towers over 5'8" Humphrey Bogart by at least 4 inches.
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 17/Aug/16
Yeah 5ft10 range is fair
Harold said on 17/Jul/16
Over 100 years ago, cigarettes were known, colloquially, as 'coffin nails.' No one ever smoked for their health, though the tobacco industry implied, decades ago, that they were a cure-all for a certain kind of both virility (Marlboro Man) and vitality (Virginia Slims). We could take the tobacco executives to task for this, but those that smoked all died of cancer decades ago...
Arch Stanton said on 16/Jul/16
James said on 13/Jul/16
The dangers of smoking weren't really known until 1964, and cigarette packets didn't start carrying warnings until the late 1960s/early 1970s.

1962 I think it was widely reported on it causing cancer but people had long been aware that it was unhealthy. Some actors for instance gave up smoking in the late 40s or early 50s to improve their health, I've read it in some actor biographies, so people really long knew that it wans't the healthiest of vices. Even today though I still don't think that most smokers realize the extent of the damage it causes, even with like blood flow, it can reduce blood flow to the brian by up to 20% I think.
Tom said on 15/Jul/16
Holden didn't wear lifts in Born Yesterday. In several scenes, Crawford wore bedroom slippers. Holden wore regular shoes. Holden was around 5-11 so they appeared to be just about the same height. As Holden aged, he obviously lost height. Perhaps an inch. He looked awful by the time he was in his early 50's. Decades of smoking several packs a day along with boozing aged him making him look twenty years older than he was. I believe had he lived, his health would have given out by the time he reached 70. Truly sad because he was a great talent and extremely well liked and respected by everyone in Hollywood.
James said on 13/Jul/16
The dangers of smoking weren't really known until 1964, and cigarette packets didn't start carrying warnings until the late 1960s/early 1970s.
Arch Stanton said on 20/Apr/16
@ Tom, perhaps that's why they both looked so stringy, little body fat, but they were both in great shape in terms of physique. Does seem stupid to obviously care about your fitness and physique and then be a heavy smoker I agree!
Tom said on 23/Mar/16
Holden and Bronson were both very heavy smokers.
Arch Stanton said on 19/Mar/16
Somewhere in 5 ft 10 range is more accurate I think. He was in surprisingly excellent shape physically, even in Breezy in the 70s he was still trim and in good shape though I believe he had some serious alcohol issues. Not as good shape as Charles Bronson though who really looked like a professional fighter who could kill you and a voice as badass as Clint Eastwood's!
Tom said on 16/Mar/16
Holden's height should be downgraded to 5'10".
Arch Stanton said on 16/Mar/16
I think he might have worn lifts at times, with Broderick Crawford in Born Yesterday he looked in 6' range!
Arch Stanton said on 16/Mar/16
I mean 5 inches with Wayne not 4!
Arch Stanton said on 16/Mar/16
Just did a count, I've seen 24 of his films.
Arch Stanton said on 16/Mar/16
Rob, maybe 5 ft 10.5 would be better for him. I mean if you see a film like Teahouse of August Moon with Brando Glenn Ford could look a wee bit under 5'11 himself so if Holden was a bit shorter. In Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955) he really didn't look 5'11 barefoot with Jennifer Jones. Sam is right I think, looked between 5'10 and 5'11. I've seen about 20 of his films now I think. About 4 inches under Wayne who you have at 6'3.75 now.
Editor Rob: yes I have looked a bit at him and 179 is very arguable
Gonzalo said on 14/Mar/16
1`78 is the least I can see Holden
jtm said on 12/Mar/16
he was at least 5'10.
Sam said on 12/Mar/16
Holden did look shorter than Glenn Ford but Ford was wearing some pretty big heeled boots in photos from the set of The Man from Colorado, don't know about Texas.
charlie said on 8/Mar/16
The comment below stated that he was taller than 5 foot 10 Jack Webb. Jack Webb from Magnet and stared along side him in Sunset Blvd was 5 foot 7 this would make Holden 5 foot 8 inches
Tom said on 7/Mar/16
He also looked shorter than Ford in "The Man from Colorado" in 1947.
Greg said on 6/Feb/16
No way is he this height - noticeably shorter than Glenn Ford in the 1941 movie Texas.
Greg said on 26/Dec/15
5'11" I think is an accurate height for holden; there are pictures dotted around the internet of a 43 year old Clint Eastwood, who still would have been close to 6'4", standing next to Holden during the production of "Breezy".
Sam said on 20/Nov/15
Larry, this biography about William Holden goes into his relationship with Wayne and they were friends it claims, bonding over drinking and John Ford's miserable behavior.
Click Here
Tom said on 19/Nov/15
Most sources say he was 5'10".
Larry said on 6/Nov/15
Wayne said he hated Holden so much that he would never work with him again, and he never did.
Sam said on 4/Nov/15
I think he can look between 5'10" and 5'11", certainly not a strong 5'11", would have probably stood a similar height as someone like Matthew McConaughey. You are mistaken, Larry, Holden was a life-long conservative Republican I've read, some political liberals Wayne did not get along with due to clashing politics were Kirk Douglas and Robert Ryan.
Larry said on 27/Oct/15
Holden was 5'10". He was a liberal, which is why he didn't get along with John Wayne.
Arch Stanton said on 7/Aug/15
In some other scenes though he could look a few inches taller than he looked with Jennifer in previous scenes. He had to have worn lifts.
Arch Stanton said on 7/Aug/15
Jennifer Jones claimed 5 ft 6 I think too LOL. Holden really looked nowhere near 180 barefoot with her. Worrying!
Arch Stanton said on 7/Aug/15
Rob, something's bothering me with him. There was a barefoot scene in Love is a Many Splendored Thing and for some reason he only looked about 2-2.5 inches taller than Jennifer Jones. It was on a beach though but the ground looked fairly level. In heels she looked about 1.5-2 inches shorter though. Did he wear lifts or was she taller? He should have been about 6 ft in shoes, her heels weren't very big I don't think. Was she taller than 5'6.5? I didn't think she looked 5 ft 7 or more in some of her others but with Holden it's difficult to buy under 5 ft 7.
[Editor Rob: I've not seen it for a long time. ]
Steve said on 16/Dec/14
I think Holden was slightly over 5'11" peak, but shrank as he aged to where by his last few films he was around 5'10". In Network he didn't look that much taller than Robert Duval who's peak height was 5'9".

It's hard to see a half an inch on film which is why he appeared as tall as Crawford in Born Yestersay.

Holden looked at least an inch taller than 5'10" Jack Webb in Sunset Blvd. and an inch taller than 5'10" Edmund O'Brian in The Turning Point. And an inch taller than 5'10" Cliff Robertson in Picnic.
Sam said on 15/Dec/14
Holden was very good at a certain kind of cynical, wise-cracking somewhat amoral-acting protagonists who mask a broken heart or moral side, all his best roles from Sunset Blvd to Network basically fit that mold. Ford may have done better in a wider range of roles and was very good at being effective while underplaying a role. On the other hand, IMO it's hard to say he equals the movie-star type magnetism of Holden in his better roles.
Arch Stanton said on 14/Dec/14
Yeah I said before somewhere Holden looked 6 ft in Born Yesterday. Holden didn't look under 5 ft 11 with John Wayne in the Horse Soldiers. Watching Glenn Ford with Brando in Teahouse of August Moon and Sidney Poitier in Blackboard Jungle Ford if anything could seem 5'10.5 a times, I think 180 is OK though. Both Ford and Holden gave a similar height impression on screen to me in that Clooney/Brad Pitt 179-180 range. The Picnic was OK I thought but not great.
Steve said on 13/Dec/14
What's extremely odd is Holden was the same height as 6' Broderick Crawford in Born Yesterday. Yet Holden was shorter than Glenn Ford on film as well as in real life. But wait! Ford was shorter than Broderick Crawford in Convicted. I never, ever noticed Holden wearing elevator shoes. But I did see evidence of Ford wearing them.

Could actors gain, then lose height from film to film?

As for Pucnic, its a rather turgid melodrama. Badly directed. The scene where Holden has his shirt torn by spinster Rosiland Russell is laughable, made all the worse by the use of overly dramatic music.

When I saw the film at a retrospect screening, the audience laughed their heads off at that scene.

I thought Holden was way too old for the part. Plus he just couldn't play a character who was that flighty. And kind of stupid.

Interesting that Glenn Ford could have played it. I always thought Ford had a wider range as an actor. He could play beffudled guy in a comedy like Don't Go Near the Water then do a serious role such as The Big Heat.
Sam said on 11/Dec/14
I for one, have mixed feelings on Picnic.
Arch Stanton said on 10/Dec/14
The Country Girl on the other hand was rather "bla".
Arch Stanton said on 10/Dec/14
@Gonzalo. Surprisingly yes. It's one of those movies where I'd usually probably not like so much. I thought especially the last 20 minutes or so were excellent.
Gonzalo said on 9/Dec/14
Arch, did you really like The bridges of Toko-Ri? I remember at home we all thought it was a very bad movie, despite the cast. We were really disappointed. Mark Robson was not a great director
Arch Stanton said on 3/Nov/14
Rob can you add a photo?
Sam said on 22/Sep/14
Here's Holden with co-star from Horse Soldiers, also fellow hard-drinking Republican (like my grandpa), John Wayne:
Click Here
I see a solid 5 inches there.
Sam said on 22/Sep/14
In 1969, Warren Oates does seem to be marginally taller in The Wild Bunch...I feel like Holden's leading-man-type bearing and lean face can give him a taller impression on screen.
Arch Stanton said on 11/Jun/14
Looks about 11 inches taller than Mickey Rooney in Bridges at Toko-Ri. What a great film that is.
Arch Stanton said on 26/May/14
Also looked that height to Grace Kelly in The Country Girl. I've seen all of the above films.
Arch Stanton said on 26/May/14
Looked 5 ft 11 next to Wayne in The Horse Soldiers.
Arch Stanton said on 19/Apr/14
He appeared in so many good films but those were among his more notable ones!
Arch Stanton said on 17/Apr/14
Rob can you add "best remembered for films such as Sunset Boulevard, Stalag 17, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Network, Born Yesterday, The Country Girl, Sabrina, The Bridges at Toko-Ri, The Wild Bunch, The Towering Inferno and The Horse Soldiers"?
Dave said on 22/Mar/14
Holden was 5'10" at his peak. By 1981 he was probably 5'9".
Mr. Kaplan said on 22/Dec/13
Holden was 5'10", Bogie 5'7".
Arch Stanton said on 8/Nov/13
Looks just about 3 inches taller than Bogie in Sabrina, maybe not quite, although Bogie could of course have a wedge in those shoes of his!! Near 5 ft 11 looks about right for peak.
Arch Stsnton said on 3/Oct/13
Looks 5'10" ish in Network but probably lost a good inch by 1976.
Arch Stanton said on 19/Sep/13
Erich von Stroheim who had to have been 5'5"-5'6" did make Holden look tall in Sunset Boulevard. I still think he was more 5'10" range though, but 5'11" is possible.
Arch Stanton said on 19/Sep/13
Mmm he looks 5'10 tops in Sunset Boulevard, in fact he can look shortish compared to some of the actors in it.
JimMorrison said on 8/Sep/13
Holden was six inches shorter than Marion Morrison, who was six feet four on his four inch platforms.
Sierpan said on 27/Aug/13
Nancy Olson was 5'6", hardly short for a woman. Holden looks about a half inch shorter than Glenn Ford in that shot, maybe 5'10.5" (1.79m). Often stars would have their heights "rounded up", the military does it too, although sometimes Hollywood would increase heights by two inches as many people today know.
Knowitall said on 7/Jul/13
Jack Benny was around five seven.
jww jr. said on 25/May/13
I saw clip of william holden on jack benny show, 1956.holden is about 3 inches taller than j.benny.seems like, close to 5ft 11 is right on.if jack was 5ft 8.
Knowitall said on 12/Mar/13
Holden was around five ten. He was shorter than five eleven Glenn Ford:

Click Here
Handbag Lover said on 11/Mar/13
No way was William Holden 5'-11" tall - in the mover 'Sunset Blvd.' he is only a few inches taller than Nancy Olson and she was considered short.
brunobrowne said on 20/Nov/11
There is a movie with John Wayne and Holden, similar footwear and Wayne towers over him by at least 6''.
guyfrommars said on 4/Feb/11
I agree with 5'10". He looked tall in Sunset Boulevard next to Gloria Swanson, but she was only 5'. In Network 5'7" Faye Dunaway looks the same height as Holden in heels, and is about 3 inches shorter than him barefoot.
JOSH said on 24/Apr/07
HOLDEN ALWAYS LOOKED JUST UNDER 6FEET IN HEIGHT. 5FT 11 INCHES WAS HIS EXACT HEIGHT. EVEN WHEN HE WAS MUCH OLDER HE DIDNT LOOK UNDER THAT.
Larry said on 17/Jun/06
I watched BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI on TCM a bit ago & Holden surely looked a good 5'11" in it. Anyone know how tall actor Jack Hawkins was? Anyway, William was no more than 1" less than him. I know Holden was in VERY bad health towards the end of his life & may (well) have lost 1". He & 5'10" Cliff Robertson stood side-by-side barefoot in PICNIC & Holden looked a good inch taller. Still puzzling over Glenn Ford...???
Frank2 said on 24/Apr/06
Read my comments just posted on Glenn Ford's thread. I'm now wondering if Holden was ever any taller than 5'10".
Frank2 said on 18/Mar/06
This is the car used in Sunset Blvd.: Click Here
Frank2 said on 14/Mar/06
Funny. I also met Wernher Von Braun back when he was at a premier of "We Aim for the Stars" which was a hokey 1960 Hollywood movie about his life that starred German-born actor Curd Jürgens as Braun. I even got Braun's autograph on the program and still have it. Yes, I'm form LA. I was actually born in Hollywood. My folks were in the biz so naturally I got into it too. John Forsyth is only 5'10" and yes Holden was taller by about an inch. Escape From Fort Bravo is an interesting film. It was one of the first MGM movies to be released with a magnetic stereo soundtrack (using double system) and it wasn't shot in Cinemascope, but flat and matted for 1.85:1 projection. The other pre-Cinemascope MGM film released in stereo was Julius Caesar. Escape From Fort Bravo is occasionally shown on TV with its original stereo mix.
larry said on 14/Mar/06
frank2: Yep: Now I KNOW who Fred Clark was (always bald). :-) He was one of those; "you know, THAT guy!" actors. Personally, I LIKE character actors (male and female) and think they get a raw deal. I've never seen anybody but politicians and a scientists. My daughter works at a premiere dinner theater (diner & movie) in San Antonio, Texas and SHE'S seen a few actors. She's seen Johnny Depp, Tommy Lee Jones, and a few others. I met Werner Von Brun when I was a kid (science fair finalist), BUT I surely knew WHO he was! I met Steve Erwin and his wife a few years back in Australia and I got to help examine a 5.3 meter long estuary crocodile. I'm more of a mammal scientist, so it was quite a treat (bad choice of words?). :-) I take it you must be from the LA area and are perhaps in the motion picture business? Sorry, just nosy (an old scientist's habit). Holden was also always in good shape when a young man and seemed naturally athletic. Ever see Escape From Fort Bravo? Seems like he was taller than John Forsythe (sp?) who I've seen listed as 6'1". So, I take it Forsythe was more like 5'10"?
Frank2 said on 13/Mar/06
Fred Clark was the Hollywood producer named Sheldrake that Bill Holden goes to see at the beginning of Sunset Blvd in order to pitch an idea. After Jo Gillis (Holden) says to script reader Betty Schaefer (Nancy Olson), "You'd have turned down "Gone With the Wind," Sheldrake chimes in with: "No. That was me. I said who want's to see a Civil war picture?" Fred Clark looked at least two inches taller than Holden and three inches taller than Jerry Lewis in Visit to a Small Planet. And Reagan was 6'1" when he was younger. I have shot of him at the Motion Picture Country Home when it was being dedicated and he's standing next to 5'10" Bob Cummings and Reagan is three inches taller. I met Reagan shortly after he left office and he was still around 6' tall. And big!! He must have worn at least a size 50 coat! Not fat mind you, but just big.
larry said on 13/Mar/06
Looks like you're correct Frank2. From these photos it looks like William Holden was 5'11". Reagan probably WAS 6'1". He looked about 1" less than Errol Flynn in several movies and Flynn was always listed at 6'2". Wasn't Fred Clark the character actor who played the doctor in The Beverly Hillbillies? Probably NOT what he would wish to be remembered for. I'm not sure I see 2" between Holden and Ford (another of my favorite actors). I'd say 5'11.5 - 6' was about right for Ford. I think BOTH men shrunk a bit over the years.
Frank2 said on 12/Mar/06
Check out more from this page: Click Here there's a shot where Holden looks to be at least two inches shorter than Reagan. I met the Prez and he was taller than me and I'm 5'11".
larry said on 12/Mar/06
William Holden was one of my favorites too - fine actor! :-) I've seen him listed as 5'11" in several places, but he seemed taller in his early movies. I see that Glen Ford is listed as 5'11.5" and Holden always seemed the same height as Ford (they were in several of their earlier films together). Holden was also in several early movies with Robert Mitchum and Mitchum didn't SEEM taller, so I would say at his peak William Holden was 181-183 cms. He MAY have shrunk some by The Towering Inferno, but he also appeared to be the ONLY actor in that film in relatively low (1.25 in or less) heels! :-) Sorry, couldn't resist, but look at the footwear in that flic!!! :-)
Frank2 said on 10/Mar/06
Holden was definitely 5'11". By the time he made The Towering Inferno he had shrunk a bit, possibly by an inch. Holden was one of my favorite actors. Even when he appeared in junk he made the film better. One of the worst films he was ever stuck in was Irwin Allen's When Time Ran Out (1980).

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