O'Fallon Progress

FAQs about William Holden and his time in O'Fallon

Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president.
Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president. rkirsch@bnd.com

Two questions often asked about actor Bill Holden, a.k.a. Bill Beedle, are:

When did he move from O’Fallon?

When did he come back to visit?

According to his 1983 biography by Bob Thomas, his family moved to California a year and a half before his brother Richard was born. That would make it mid-1923. The O’Fallon Progress at the time didn’t mention the move but did report that “Billy Beedle” celebrated his fifth birthday in O’Fallon with “a few small friends” on April 17 that year. He probably left not long after that.

The Progress records at least two times that he came back. One was April 4, 1937, when he and friend Larry Thompson came here to visit Bill’s grandpa, Walter Beedle, as part of a cross-country sightseeing tour. Bill was a student at Pasadena Junior College at the time.

The second was on March 10, 1951. He and his wife Ardis (Brenda Marshall) visited Ernest Smiley and others at the First National Bank and then ate across the street with him at the bus station restaurant, now Gia’s Pizza, at State and Lincoln.

75 years ago

April 22, 1943

A special proposition for the city to take over the O’Fallon Woman’s Club public library carried by the close margin of 14 votes at the regular city election, Tuesday. A total of 111 voters favored the proposition, while 97 were opposed.

Under the proposal, the city will operate the library as a public institution, financing of the project to come through taxation of all taxable property. (The library has been tax supported ever since.)

50 years ago

April 18, 1968

Stephen Brown, son of Mr. and Mrs. Julius Brown, Rural Route 1, received the award for composition in music from the St. Louis Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters. He will compete for the National Career award June 13 in Honolulu. Stephen graduated Harvard and is a graduate assistant at SIU Edwardsville.