Dave Holland: Film historian with an eye for the setting (obit)

Historians in the News

The awesome view of the snow-covered Sierra Nevada mountains in California, rearing up the eastern side with the contrast of the Alabama foothills below, kept nagging at the mind of the western film historian Dave Holland, who has died aged 70.

Eventually he realised he had seen the same formations on film, and more than once. One rock he noticed was in Gene Autry's cowboy classic Boots and Saddles (1937); it also marked the spot where the chase began in How the West Was Won (1962). So began Holland's chronicling of the place that provided more locations for Hollywood than anywhere else.

His search turned into the annual Lone Pine film festival, held in the small town that served as a movie-making centre for such stars as John Wayne, Virginia Mayo, Gary Cooper, Audie Murphy, Susan Hayward, Robert Mitchum, Randolph Scott and Roy Rogers....

Holland, author of From Out of the Past: A Pictorial History of the Lone Ranger (1989), combined his research in a 1990 illustrated guide, On Location in Lone Pine. His success in persuading stars to visit his festival came from his former Hollywood career, as a reporter, drama critic and editor of the Valley Times of LA. He later worked as a press agent and film production manager.

Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, Holland grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, moving to LA in 1958 after two years at Auburn University, Alabama, and time in the navy as a photographer's mate. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Holly, and their son and daughter.

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