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David Holliday – Information

Here is some biographical information on David Holliday:

  • Born: 4 August 1937 in Proviso Township, Cook County, Illinois, United States
  • Middle name: Merrill (which was the first name of his maternal grandfather)
  • Mother: Dorothy Florine Holliday (later Freed); passed away April 7, 2001, aged 89
  • Father: Oliver Morton (Bud) Holliday, Jr. of Liberty, Kansas; passed away April 14, 1974
  • Maternal Grandfather: A Lutheran minister named Merrill E Boulton
  • Maternal Grandmother: Agnes Boulton
  • Two half-brothers: Ralph Oliver Morton Holliday and John Daniel Holliday (both died in 2014)
  • Grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
  • Graduated from Bayview High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Graduated with a Fine Arts degree from Carthage College, a small Lutheran college that was then located in Carthage, Illinois. (The college relocated in 1962 to Kenosha, Wisconsin.)
  • Was originally going to be ‘in the family business’ and become a Lutheran minister like his grandfather and uncle but a college professor convinced him he had the talent to become a professional actor
  • Never married
  • Performed in more stage plays and musicals than he has on television shows or movies
  • Left Thunderbirds after its first season to return to the United States and perform on Broadway
  • Has a professionally-trained singing voice
  • Worked with Thunderbirds co-star Matt Zimmerman in the stage musical ‘Carousel’ and in ‘West Side Story’
  • Loaned Thunderbirds co-star Matt Zimmerman the money to fly to Vancouver, British Columbia to get married
  • Recommended Matt Zimmerman for the role of Alan Tracy
  • After leaving Thunderbirds, lived in the United States for the remainder of his life
  • Once owned a 1959 MGA Roadster, which he’d purchased in England
  • Believed that “It’s common sense that war doesn’t work.” (Palm Beach Post May 25, 1982)
  • “I was very shy. I still have difficulty meeting people for the first time.” (Palm Beach Post May 25, 1982)
  • Believed that “money is not the most important thing.” (Palm Beach Post May 25, 1982)
  • Was not attracted to radio, television or films. (Palm Beach Post May 25, 1982)
  • Died of throat cancer on 26 March, 1999, aged 61 years, 7 months, 22 days
  • Death certificate was issued in the State of Wisconsin
  • His last known residence was officially listed as New York City in several references, including Social Security Death Records
  • An obituary was placed in the Independence Daily Reporter newspaper on April 1, 1999 in Liberty, Kansas, which listed as his place of residence as Bronx, New York. The source of information was the ‘gravedigger.’
  • Director and friend Cameron Diehl said of David after his death that he had “A distinguished career that touched many lives in this country and abroad.” (Sun Sentinel April 23, 1999)

Memories of David Holliday

Matt Zimmerman – “Alan Tracy” on Thunderbirds

He was one of those people that everybody liked. We first met in early 60 as I was finishing LAMDA [Ed. Note:  London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art]…we both had friends in Flower Drum Song [Ed. Note: eighth musical by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II] so we became acquainted and immediately became fast friends.

My fiancée and future wife Shirley and he got on like a house on fire. He was not just a wonderful singer and actor, but very artistic…he drew and painted and was into calligraphy in a big way…anything Japanese. Later on when we would drop in to see him he was often in a kimono.

When I joined West Side Story after School in the 60s it was great fun to understudy him…in fact I was in the show two weeks when he went off…HELP! After the West End we toured England and the continent with it though David left early during the tour to do Sail Away in London. I left the company soon after to get married in Vancouver. Our wedding present from David was our return flights…very generous.

After we returned we saw each other frequently especially during the time of the recordings of Thunderbirds. Around this time he, Shirley and I made a recording for Music for Pleasure of Carousel…it is a wonderful memory of the three of us in the studios at Abbey Road recording and I was delighted to sing ‘Mr. Snow.’

David left Thunderbirds as he was offered, if I remember correctly, a show on Broadway (Coco). He had been thinking of going home for a long time so he sold his flat and left. We missed him immensely and looked forward to his letters. He kept promising to come over for a visit but he toured endlessly in Man Of La Mancha and of course did it on Broadway as well.

He phoned me when he took ill and said he was moving down to Florida to be with his mother. That was the last time we spoke. The call from his mother telling me he had passed was a very sad time. I miss him still.

Shane Rimmer – Voice of “Scott Tracy” on Thunderbirds

A real song and dance man who came to England with the cast of West Side Story in the 60s. I’ll always remember him humming a song from some Broadway or film musical. He was a happy go lucky kind of fellow, and played the role of Virgil with great enthusiasm. Unfortunately he never completed his run here, and was taken ill while back in the U.S. We all recall him with great affection.