Independent from Long Beach, California on March 4, 1973 · Page 97
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Independent from Long Beach, California · Page 97

Long Beach, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 4, 1973
Page 97
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Sunday, March 4,1973 Pan and Fan Mail Comments (See Page 15) TT-1.RVISION-l.QG OF THE INDEPENDENT-PRESS-TELEGRAM AND THE EVENING NEWS By BOB MARTIN TV-Radio Editor Millions of kids each year probably say they'd like to be movie stars but few of them mean it as much as Earl Holli : . man did. ; "When I was 5 or 6, I already was telling people, 'I want to be a movie star," the 44-year-old actor recalled.the other day. "I was already a movie fan, Jhough at the time I thought the actors were actually behind the screen. As _a boy, my dream was just to be a movie star; later, I wanted to be an actor." Earl's determination paid off. Though not a superstar, he has earned his living as an actor for 21 years and has been a star in movies, on television and on the stage. He has come a long way from the tenant farm in Louisiana on which he was born. His father died before he was born, and his destitute mother was forced to put Earl, the 10th child, up for adoption (his older brothers and sisters were put in an orphanage). Adopted at one week by a traveling oil worker and his wife, Earl spent his early childhood living in tourist camps, as motels were called in those days, in a number of small towns in Louisiana and Texas. Holliman recalls the Depression era days when you could go to a picture show for two empty milk bottles. He also remembers picking cotton and helping his adoptive mother wait on tables in small cafes to help^suoport the family -and to have money tcrgo to the movies. (His adoptive father was idled by an injury when Earl was 6 and died when he was 13.) "I wanted to be in the movies so badly that just before turning 15 I hitchhiked all the way to Hollywood, hoping to break into pictures," he told me. "But of course it wasn't that easy. I ran out of money in a week and thumbed my way back home." He joined the Navy and served a year before his true age was discovered. Then he returned to high school in Oil City, La., and graduated with honors. (He worked in the oilfields in his spare time.) Turning down a scholastic scholarship to Louisiana State University, he joined the Navy again and, at the . Norfolk Navy-Base (Theater, got his first " 'ffctliijf "expel-iehcer'asidTrf'rom-doing" school plays. On getting out of the Navy, he headed for Hollywood again and studied at USC a year and then at the Pasadena Playhouse. In 1952, Earl started getting small parts in movies and he has been acting ever since. His latest TV role is a Walt Disney Productions' western drama of the 1880s titled "The Boy and the Bronc Buster, which will air in two parts on NBC's "The Wonderful World of Disney" on ·March 18 and 25. Holliman stars as a rodeo cowboy idolized by a boy (played by 14-year-old Vincent Van Patten) who leaves home to join the bronc buster on the circuit. Complications arise after an itinerant peddler (Strother Martin) spots the cow poke and informs the sheriff he's wanted for murder in Texas. . "This is the third time Vincent and I have played together," Holliman pointed out "We played father and sone twice -in episodes of 'Medical Center' and 'Ironside.' He's a good little actor." Earl was thinking more about an. upcoming stage role than about television, however, when I interviewed him last Tuesday at Hank's 1890s Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. Hank's is across the street .from the Embassy Auditorium, and the actor was on a lunch break from rehearsals there for "A Streetcar Named Desire," which is scheduled to play at the Ahmanson Theater March 20-April 28. "It's exciting to get back on the stage," said Earl. "It's fun lines written by Tennessee Williams after some of the things we do on television." Jon Voight and Faye Dunaway star In the 25th anniversary production of the Williams drama. Holliman is featured in the role played by Karl Mauldin in the movie version, that of Mitch, whose attempts at romance offer Blanche DuBois (Miss Dunaway) a last hope for security. About four years ago, Holliman starred in Williams' "El Camino Real" at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and was asked by the author himself to star in the New York revival, but other : commitments prevented it. "He's a sweet man," Earl said of Williams. The veteran actor, though claiming to be.;:*,'.bit',ner.vous bc,cause.-.of '.the EARL HOLLIMAN . . . in TV's 'The Boy and the Bronc Buster.' and quite friendly. And whatever nervousness he felt didn't keep him.from doing justice to his steak-and-lobslci- combination lunch. "Actors are so insecure," he told me. "They're testing guys for the part of my understudy, and I'm eager to see whom they pick. I'm just sure they're going to get some handsome young man who'll take my job away from me." After acting in more than 25 movies and scores of TV shows (he starred in two series, "Wide Country" and "Hotel de Paree," each of which lasted just one season), Holliman is still looking for the big break, the just-right role that would make him a big star. ·"How important do you consider landing a particular role to be in the success of an actor?" I inquired. ''Oh, it's very important," he replied. "Jon {Voight) is a good example. His role in 'Midnight Cowboy' made him a big star." Earl played in 19 movies, before he did any television. I asked which ones he considered his best. . "Oh, my best part was in "The Rain-. maker,' he replied. "It was my 15th movie and my first co-starring role. I played Katharine Hepburn's younger brother, and I won the Hollywood For- -j eign Press, Association's- -.Golden. v Glob8 ""A'tfaid W best"supporting'acfor. My competition that year (1956) included Anthony Quinn in 'Lust for Life,' Karl Mauldin and EH Wallach in 'Baby Doll' and Herbert Lorn in 'War and Peace.' "But the big blow came when I failed to get nominated for an Oscar. I was at Louella Parsons' home, doing an interview, when the news came. It was a crushing blow to me that I wasn't nominated. Louella tried to console me, saying 'You're young, you'll get lots of opportunities.' "Well, I'm still waiting." Although Earl has played a variety of roles in the movies and on TV, including parts a number of years ago on TV's "Studio One," "Kraft Theatre" and "Playhouse 90," he feels that he is typecast in the minds of many as strictly a Western performer, and he regrets that image. . "After seeing me perform in the drama 'Montserrat' on public TV, a critic in Philadelphia wrote, 'I didn't know he could act.' And this was after I'd been making a living as an actor for about20 years!" You might say, I suppose, that Earl would like to get out of the saddle. His current dream is to star in a musical comedy. Said he: "I can't wait to do a musi- -. . . : . . « i \ (Continued-Page-10)-. '· ··

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