Lois Chiles Biography
Lois Cleveland Chiles was born on April 15, 1947, in Houston, Texas, to Marion Clay Chiles and Barbara Wayne Kirkland Chiles. Her family was well-known in Texas, with her uncle being the famous oil tycoon and Texas Rangers owner Eddie Chiles.
After finishing high school, Lois Chiles went on to study at the University of Texas at Austin and later at Finch College in New York City. While in New York, she was discovered by a Glamour editor who was searching for a young woman to feature on the cover of their annual college issue. This opened the door for her to become a successful fashion model, signing contracts with Wilhelmina Models in New York and Elite Models in Paris.
However, Chiles had always had a passion for acting, and she eventually decided to pursue it. She studied under Roy London and landed her first acting role in the blaxploitation film Together for Days in 1972. Her big break came the following year when she starred opposite Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand in the film The Way We Were. She continued to make a name for herself with roles in The Great Gatsby (1974) and Death on the Nile (1978).
In 1979, Lois Chiles achieved international fame when she played Bond girl Dr. Holly Goodhead in the James Bond film Moonraker. Despite this success, tragedy struck when her youngest brother passed away from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma the same year. This led Lois to take a three-year hiatus from acting, during which time she focused on healing and self-discovery.
Lois Chiles returned to acting in 1982, playing J.R. Ewing’s love interest Holly Harwood in the hit TV series Dallas. She continued to appear in various films and TV shows, including a small but memorable role in Say Anything… (1989) as the estranged mother of Ione Skye’s character.
While her film career may not have fully recovered after her hiatus, Chiles continued to work steadily in television and film, appearing in movies such as Wish Upon a Star (1996) and Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997). She also made a cameo appearance in the international release of the Bond spoof Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997).
In addition to acting, Lois Chiles was also passionate about teaching. In 2002, she taught a course in film acting at the University of Houston. Throughout her career, Lois remained humble and grounded, joking that being a Bond girl was a fun way to be remembered, but also acknowledging that it could be frustrating to be reduced to a single line.
Lois Chiles was married to money manager Richard Gilder, and together they were both honorary co-chairs of Northfield Mount Hermon, a school in Massachusetts. Gilder passed away in 2020.