Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Birth Dates of Notable Kentuckians: December 20, 1898 - Felix Holt


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From the Kentucky Encyclopedia -
Felix Holt, author, was born December 20, 1898, in Murray, Kentucky, to Crawford Duncan and Sarah B. (Allen) Holt. His father was a carpenter and his uncle, G.A. Holt, had served briefly as acting lieutenant governor of Kentucky in 1871. As a youth, Felix attended the Stone School in Calloway County and Murray High School. In 1917 he volunteered for military service in World War I and served as a reporter for the army newspaper, Stars And Stripes. Following the war, Holt worked as a reporter for several newspapers, beginning with the Paducah News Democrat in 1919 and ending with the Detroit Times in 1930. Switching to radio in 1931, he accepted a position as news editor for Detroit's WJBK. Three years later Holt became the editorial, news, and publicity director for Detroit station WXYZ, where he built a reputation as a scriptwriter through his work on two radio serials, " Lone Ranger" and " Green Hornet." In 1945 he went to work for CBS in New York as scriptwriter for several television shows, including " Cimarron Tavern," " Studio One," and " Big Town."

Holt left New York in 1946 for Pennsylvania, where he wrote his first novel, The Gabriel Horn (1951). The book, which critics credited as one of the significant works of the year, depicts Kentucky frontier life in the Jackson Purchase area during the nineteeth century westward migration. It eventually sold over 1 million copies and in 1954 became a major motion picture, The Kentuckian, starring Burt Lancaster. Holt continued the story in his second novel, Dan'l Boone Kissed Me (1954).

Holt married Margie Sies of San Diego, California, on September 29, 1920. They had two children. Holt died on June 3, 1954, in Penn's Park, Pennsylvania, and his body was cremated.

Lawrence S. Thompson, "Felix Holt, Kentucky Historical Novelist," Register 53 (July 1955): 247-56.
Selected Sources from UK Libraries:
Holt, Felix. Felix Holt Papers, 1903-1964, 1918-1954 (bulk Dates) (1903). Print.PA70M42, Special Collections Archives
Lancaster, Burt, Dianna. Foster, Walter. Matthau, Felix. Holt, United Artists Corporation, and MGM/UA Home Entertainment Inc. The Kentuckian. Culver City, CA: MGM/UA Home Entertainment, 2001. Western Legends.
AV-D3072, Young Media Library
Holt, Felix. The Gabriel Horn. Young People's ed. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1953. Print.F H741g 1951, Special Collections Research Center - Fiction Collection

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