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[Deathwatch] David Holt, former child actor, 76
- Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2003 17:55:22 -0800 (PST)
- From: Deathwatch Central <email@example.com>
- Subject: [Deathwatch] David Holt, former child actor, 76
Agian, thanks to the readers that pay more attention than I do. - Ed.
Former Child Actor David Holt Dies at 76
Fri Nov 21,10:28 AM ET
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. - David Holt, a former child actor once
touted by Paramount Pictures as its answer to Shirley Temple, has died
of congestive heart failure. He was 76.
Holt, who grew up to become a successful jazz musician and songwriter,
died Saturday at his home.
Although his career never came close to rivaling Temple's, he did have
his share of success as a child actor, playing Elizabeth Taylor's older
brother in "Courage of Lassie" in 1946 and appearing as bratty Sidney
Sawyer in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" in 1938.
He also played the crippled boy for whom New York Yankee great Lou
Gehrig hit a home run in "Pride of the Yankees" and appeared in "The
Big Broadcast of 1936."
For two weeks he was cast as the lead in "David Copperfield," a role
opposite W.C. Fields that might have made him a star had producer David
O. Selznick not chosen to replace him with British child actor Freddie
Bartholomew. Film historian Michael Fitzgerald said Selznick feared a
backlash to the film if an American were cast in such a famous British
Holt, who was born in Jacksonville, Fla., was a 5-year-old dance
student when he won an audition with Will Rogers. After the humorist
told him and his mother if they were ever in Hollywood to look him up,
the boy's father quit his job with the Ford Motor Co. and moved the
family to California, where Rogers reportedly refused to meet with
Within a year Holt started to make it on his own, however, winning a
role as a human double for Cheetah the chimp in "Tarzan the Fearless."
After playing a boy whose mother dies in "You Belong To me" in 1934,
Paramount signed him to a long-term contract and began to promote him
as a male rival to Shirley Temple.
Although he never became a star of that magnitude, he worked regularly
into the early 1950s, eventually segueing into music.
He wrote the music for numerous jazz albums, including several that
featured Pete Jolley, and co-wrote the song "The Christmas Blues" with
Sammy Cahn. In the 1990s he was host of the television show "American