Born Charles John Holt III (1919 – 1973). Tim Holt was the son of actor Jack Holt. After five minor roles, in 1938, at the age of nineteen, Holt had a major role under star Harry Carey in The Law West of Tombstone. It was the first of the many Western films he made during the 1940s. At the same time, his sister, Jennifer Holt, also became a leading star in the Western film genre.
After playing young Lieutenant Blanchard in the 1939 classic Stagecoach, Tim Holt had one of the leading roles in Orson Welles's The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). He also starred as a Nazi in Hitler's Children (1943).
By the early 1940s, Tim Holt had his own cowboy series at RKO, replacing the muscular George O'Brien who had retired from films. In the Holt westerns, there were several sidekick groupings --- singer Ray Whitley, Lee 'Lasses' White, whiskered codger Emmett Lynn, and Cliff 'Ukelele Ike' Edwards . Holt did eighteen RKO westerns which were released from 1940-1943, and his first starring role was WAGON TRAIN (RKO, 1940). One of his better films from this period is THE BANDIT TRAIL (RKO, 1941) which features Whitley and 'Lasses' White.
During WWII, Tim 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. Holt was wounded over Tokyo on the last day of World War II and was awarded the Purple Heart.
He returned to films after the war, appearing as Virgil Earp to Henry Fonda's Wyatt Earp in John Ford's Western My Darling Clementine. Holt was next cast in the role that he is probably most remembered for, in a film in which his father also appeared in a small part, portraying Bob Curtin to Humphrey Bogart's Fred C. Dobbs in John Huston's The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, made in 1946 and released in 1948.
After the war, Holt continued his western career at RKO, and his films from this period rank at the top of the B western genre. Richard "Chito" Martin was Holt's saddle pal during the entire group.
He made two dozen more Western films until 1952, when the genre's popularity waned. He 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. He then appeared in only two more motion pictures over the next fourteen years.
1. Renegade Ranger (1938) - George O’ Brien, Tim Holt, Rita Hayworth
Director - David Howard Studio - RKO
A couple Texas Rangers (Captain Jack Steele - George O'Brien and Larry Corwin -
Tim Holt) are hired to bring in a ranch owner (Judith Alvarez - Rita Hayworth) who is raging a battle against the government over land stolen from ranchers.
George O’Brien is on hand when Sanderson's men attack and he saves her life. This gets him into her gang where he gradually realizes she is innocent and Sanderson is the one he is after. But ex-Ranger Larry is now one of her men and he reveals Jack's true identity. Jack is then slated to shortly have a fatal accident.
2. Wagon Train (1940) - Tim Holt
Tim Holt, Martha O'Driscoll, Ray Whitley, Directed by: Edward Killy - RKO Studio
In his first starring Western for RKO, young Tim Holt must not only carry on his father's freight business but also hunt down his murderer.
Pecos businessman Matt Gardner is buying up freighters, or wagon trains of food supplies, at cheap prices through intimidation, and charging high prices by deliberately causing phony food shortages at his trading posts. The only one refusing to sell his supplies is Zack Sibley (Tim Holt), who is dead set on maintaining his freighter business as well as tracking down his father's murderer, his ex-business partner. Gardner plans on eliminating any competition Sibley presents by sending his thugs to kill him and raid his wagon train.
4. Laddie (1940) - Tim Holt
This is the third screen adaptation of Gene Stratton-Porter's sentimental novel of postcolonial farm life. Laddie Stanton (Tim Holt), the proud son of an honest farmer, falls in love with Pamela Pryor, the daughter of the Englishman who has purchased the adjoining estate. Pamela's father, a haughty and morose man who is obsessed by the dishonorable discharge his son Robert received from the British army, disapproves of the match, forbidding any marriage between his daughter and a "field hand." To placate her father, Pamela begs Laddie to consider practicing a profession other than farming, thus insulting both Laddie and his family.
1. Under The Tonto Rim (1947) - Tim Holt - When the Tonto Rim gang attack Brad Canfield’s (Tim Holt) stagecoach, they take the strongbox and kill one of his workers. Learning the gang member Patton is in jail, Brad gets himself thrown in also. Chito helps break him out and he takes Patton with him. Patton leads him to the Tonto Rim hideout, but needing to get to the Sheriff, Brad finds himself a prisoner.
2. Zane Grey’s Wild Horse Mesa (1947) - Tim Holt - Dave Jordan (Tim Holt) and Chito (Richard Martin) are working for Pop Melhern (Jason Robarts) who is looking for wild horses. Olmstead (Harry Woods) has his men looking for then also. When Dave finds them first, Olmstead buys them from Melburn and then kills him. A clue leads Dave to Olmstead's where he breaks in and finds the murder weapon. When he takes his evidence to the Marshal he learns Olmstead has been murdered and he is the one under arrest.
1. Pirates of the Prairie (1942) - Tim Holt - Lew Harmon (Roy Barcroft), committee member and also leader of the crooked element of town, is using a masked band for his own purpose to terrorize ranchers, and to grab the land and force the railroad to pay high right-of-way prices. Deputy U.S. Marshal Larry Durant (Tim Holt), sent to investigate, poses as a gunsmith, and is ordered out of town by Harmon. Helen Spencer (Nell O‘Day), the banker's daughter, discovers the railroad survey is finished and later, Harmon tricks Ike (Cliff Edwards) into telling him where the line will run.
2. Riding the Wind (1942) - Tim Holt - Whopper (Lee "Lasses" White) and Smokey (Ray Whitley) come to Los Gatos to ask Clay Stewart (Tim Holt) for a job on his recently acquired Tumbleweed Ranch. Clay has just learned that Henry Dodge (Eddie Dew) has built a dam on his ranch which will deprive the other ranchers of water unless they make a deal with him. When Ranchers build windmills and they start pumping water, Dodge has them blown up. When a court order forces him to release the water, he decides to blow up the dam and flood the valley.
3. Bandit Ranger (1942) - Tim Holt - Rancher Clay Travers (Tim Holt) finds and brings in the body of ranger Frank Mattison (Dennis Moore), murdered on the road to Trail City, where he had been sent to deal with an outbreak of cattle rustling. Businessman Art Kenyon, who has hired gunman Ed Martin (Leroy Mason) to impersonate Mattison to further his rustling schemes, quickly changes Martin's story and has Travers framed for the ranger's murder. Managing to escape, Travers must come up with proof to clear his name and bring the true killers to justice.
4. Guns of Hate (1948) - Tim Holt - Ben Jason (Jason Robarts Sr.) has found a lost gold mine. When Morgan (Steve Brodie) learns this from Wyatt (Tony Barrett), he and his henchman Rocky chase down Jason and kill him. Bob Banning (Tim Holt) and sidekick Rafferty (Richard Martin) arrive on the scene only to be arrested and jailed for the murder. They escape from jail and now have to find the real killers to clear their name.
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