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Holdren in 1950
October 16, 1915|
Villisca, Iowa, U.S.
March 11, 1974 (aged 58)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S. (suicide)
Judd Clifton Holdren (October 16, 1915 - March 11, 1974) was an American film actor best known for his starring roles in the serials Captain Video: Master of the Stratosphere (1951), Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952), The Lost Planet (1953), and the semi-serial Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe (1953). He committed suicide in 1974.
He was born near Villisca, Iowa, the fifth of 10 children in a farming family, and showed early interest in an acting career. He dropped out of high school to travel to Omaha, Nebraska, where he studied at the Omaha Playhouse.
Most of his early film parts were uncredited bits, including All the King's Men (1949) and Francis the Talking Mule (1950). However, he got lead roles in Purple Heart Diary (1951) co-starring Frances Langford, and Captain Video: Master of the Stratosphere (1951) the serial version of the adventures of Captain Video, becoming the third actor (after Richard Coogan and Al Hodge) to assume the role of the heroic Captain. Holdren portrayed Aramis in the Three Musketeers adventure film Lady in the Iron Mask (1952) starring Louis Hayward as D'Artagnan and Patricia Medina in the titular role. After The Lost Planet (1953), Holdren tried to maintain a foothold in feature films and TV, but with limited success.
He appeared in a number of ongoing TV series, such as Dragnet and The Lone Ranger, but usually in bit parts, often uncredited. His last significant film appearances were in very minor roles in feature films like Jeanne Eagels (1957), Ice Palace (1960), and The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960). The rapidity of his descent is indicated by the fact that in Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe (1953) he plays the lead role and Richard Crane plays his (semi-comical) sidekick, whereas in the TV series Rocky Jones Space Ranger (1953-54) Richard Crane plays the lead role and Holdren has a walk-on part in two episodes as "Ranger Higgins".
After 1960, Holdren became a full-time insurance salesman. During his Hollywood years, he was seen in public as the escort of many different Hollywood beauties, but he never married.
Holdren committed suicide on March 11, 1974, by a gunshot to the head.
He is buried at Valhalla Memorial Park in North Hollywood.