In the bizarre-but-true category, it turns out that the adoptive great grandfather of Santino William Legan, the 19-year-old who killed three and wounded 11 more at the Gilroy Garlic Festival Sunday night, is Hollywood actor William Holden, who was the best man at Ronald Reagan’s wedding.
After receiving a tip online, I decided to check out the claim, and it appears to hold water. Legan posted a photo of his maternal grandfather on his Instagram profile.
“Legan also shared a third photo of his maternal grandfather, Ali Ashgar Vahabzdaeh, with a note about him anglicizing his name to Ali Baylor from his original Iranian name,” Heavy reported. “An obituary from the Ventura County Star says Baylor also went by the name Allen O. Baylor and was born in Iran before teaching as an economics professor at the University of Texas, California Lutheran University and UCLA.”
Here’s the photo:
Heavy also reported that Legan’s mother is named Ardis Baylor:
Ancestry.com confirms that “Allen O.” Ali Asghar “Baylor” (Vahabzadeh), who was born in Iran, and died in Ventura County, California, was married to Virginia Gaines-Holden.
Gaines-Holden is daughter of Brenda Marshall and Richard Gaines, both Hollywood actors who worked circa the 1920’s to 1940’s. Marshall’s birth name was Ardis Ankerson. Marshall was her stage name. It appears that Legan’s mother, Ardis Baylor, was named after her grandmother.
In 1940, Gaines and Marshall divorced, and Marshall waived her right to alimony, instead asking for custody of young Virginia, which she received.
In 1941, Marshall remarried. Her second husband – who would later adopt Virginia – was actor William Holden, who was the best man at Ronald Reagan’s wedding. In fact, Marshall and Holden were the sole guests at the Reagan wedding.
I’m not entirely sure what all of this means, but it sure is interesting trivia. Hat tip to the Twitter tipsters who first brought this to my attention.