William Holden. Shortly after shooting began on Golden Boy (1939), it was clear the producers were ready to replace him. Every young actor in town had wanted that part. Barbara Stanwyck went to bat for Holden, insisting he get another chance, then coaching him behind the scenes. He publicly claimed to owe his career to her and, for the rest of his life, Holden had flowers sent to her on the anniversary of that first day of filming.