dholt.jpgDavid Holt, a child actor who appeared in 40 films, died on Nov. 15 from congestive heart failure. He was 76.
Holt was only five years old when he was discovered by Will Rogers. The humorist told Holt’s mother to bring the boy to Hollywood and he would put David in movies. A year later, Holt’s father quit his job at the Ford Motor Co., and moved the family to California. But when they appeared in Rogers’ office, he reportedly refused to see them. The Holt patriarch was unable to find steady work so the family ate in soup kitchens to survive.
Undaunted, David’s mother started taking him to casting calls. His first role was as the body double for Cheetah in “Tarzan the Fearless.” In 1934, Paramount signed David to a long-term contract and began casting him in a variety of movies, including “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” “Beau Geste,” “Courage of Lassie” and “Pride of the Yankees.” At the time, he was touted as the “male Shirley Temple.”
Holt continued working in films and television until the mid-1950s when he became a jazz musician and composer. He co-wrote the song, “The Christmas Blues,” with Sammy Cahn, which appeared on the “L.A. Confidential” soundtrack. Holt was writing his autobiography, “The Holts of Hollywood,” at the time of his death.