Phillips Holmes was well known for roles in many motion pictures in the late '20s through 1937, when he left Los Angeles for the New York stage.
He reached the height of his career under the direction of Ernst Lubitsch in "Broken Lullaby," playing a French soldier in World War I. He is also remembered for his performance in "An American Tragedy," an adaptation of the Theodore Dreiser novel that was directed by Josef von Sternberg.
Other important pictures in which he was cast included "The Criminal Code," "Dinner at Eight," "Penthouse," "Storm at Daybreak," "Beauty for Sale" and "Great Expectations." He also worked in "The House of a Thousand Candles," "The Dominant Sex" and "The Housemaster." The latter two were produced in England.
Holmes joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941, following his brother, Pilot Officer Ralph Holmes. He was killed in a midair collision between two Air Force planes in northwest Ontario the following year.