Jack Holt was born in New York City in 1888. He
attended New York Public Schools before entering Virginia Militar
Institute to study engineering. He did not graduate and left school
early working at various jobs such as a sandhog on the Hoboken
Tunnel, a miner in Alaska, a fur trader, and a ranch hand in Oregon
where he learned riding and cowpunching. In 1913, he arrived in
San Francisco. Answering a call for someone to take a 30-foot
fall in a movie, Holt volunteered. Although he broke two ribs,
the money appealed to him, and he returned to Los Angeles with
director William Nigh and the company. After several appearances
in bit parts and as a stuntman, he had a prominent role in "Jewel"
(1915) as as "grim-jawed, handsome, hard-boiled hero with
a mustache." He appeared in over 30 features during the 'teens
including "The Little American" (1917) with Mary Pickford,
"The Secret Game" (1917) with Sessue Hayakawa (both
were World War I dramas, and Holt seemed particularly well-suited
to a military uniform), and "Victory" (1919) with Lon
Chaney and Seena Owen. Producers soon realized his suitability
to westerns, and, after proving his popularity in this genre in
the 'teens, he became one of the most popular "A" western
stars of the 1920's with such features as "North of the Rio
Grande" (1922) with Bebe Daniels, "North of '36"
(1924" and "The Thundering Herd" (1925) both with
Lois Wilson, and "Wild Horse Mesa" (1925) with Billie
Dove. He continued to star in westerns into the 1930's eventually
moving to secondary roles. He enlisted in the Army during World
War II and rose to the rank of major. His hobbies included riding,
hunting and polo, a sport at which he became quite accomplished.
His son, Tim Holt, became a popular cowboy star from the late
1930's to the early 1950's, and his daughter, Jennifer Holt, was
also an actress appearing in a number of westerns during the 1940's.
Holt appeared in over 100 movies during the 'teens and twenties
and had over 75 sound movies to his credit before passing away
from a heart attack in 1951.
Selected films of this star available for viewing:
The Little American (1917)
Wild Horse Mesa (1925)
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