On November 12, 1981, I was 7 years old. William Holden was 63, four years younger than my maternal grandmother. He passed away after a tragic alcohol induced accident and wasn’t found until four days later. That day the world lost not only a talented actor, but a true champion of nature, someone who saw the need to protect the planet long before it was a fashionable virtue signal. It wasn’t until I was in college that I became aware of his incredible acting skills when my film studies major boyfriend introduced me to movies like Network(my favorite of Mr. Holden’s many movies) and The Towering Inferno. That was all I knew of him for a while. Many years later, I became a fan of Stefanie Powers and her memoir introduced me to the man who wore his heart on his sleeve, lived hard and loved without reservation. Mr. Holden was introspective and introverted but passionate about the causes and people he believed in; he preferred the quiet company of close friends to the outsized Hollywood rat race, loved to travel to exotic ports of call and spent his later years devoted to protecting the endangered animals of Kenya. This is the man I have come to know and love, and the man I commemorate today. He lives on in Stefanie, and someday they will both live on in all of us who support the foundation that bears his name. They will be together again, though I know with certainty that he is watching over her now and is so proud of all that she has become. Our loved ones never truly leave us after all. I have said before that the William Holden Wildlife Foundation is a phoenix that rose from the ashes of great tragedy — his spirit of love is alive in Nanyuki and around the world in those of us who work to make things better for all living beings. His shared legacy with Stefanie belongs to all of us. It is our legacy. We love you,sir. You are not forgotten.
*Rest in Peace in Kiswahili
2 thoughts on “Pumzika Kwa Amani*”
So true, Jennie.
Though of course it saddens us that someone is no longer with us, all they achieved and the part they played in our lives will never be forgotten.
It is those that work quietly, without fanfare and without seeking publicity for what they do that truly change the world. By actions, not words. No truer is that with the conclusion of Cop26.
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Absolutely! The best sign of a life well lived is what we leave behind, and he left us a legacy of love, dedication and a sense of responsibility for those among us who have no voice. Don’t get me started about CoP26! Deeds not words has always been my mantra, and that group definitely makes it all about themselves.