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ARTHUR E. HOLCH JR., Emmy award winning director and producer of television documentaries, died of heart failure on Thursday, September 23, 2010, at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut, his home of 55 years. He was 86. Holch, the son of Arthur E. and Hazel Holch, was born on March 13, 1924, in Omaha, Nebraska and grew up in Denver, Colorado. He graduated from the University of Denver in 1944, Phi Beta Kappa, and received a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1945. He got his start as a reporter for the Rocky Mountain News. In 1951, while serving as a first lieutenant in the Korean War, stationed in Tokyo, Japan, he married Ellen O'Keefe Hare, of Evergreen, Colorado, a native of Northampton, Massachusetts. He moved to New York City in the early 1950s, where he became a pioneer in the early days of television documentaries, beginning as the head of the editorial staff of the Camel and Plymouth News Caravan shows with John Cameron Swayze on N.B.C. Over the next several decades Holch worked as a writer, director, and producer earning major credits on network and cable television. In 1961, he was nominated for an Emmy for his controversial cinem� verite writing in "Walk in My Shoes," a documentary on the Civil Rights movement. Through the 1960's and 70's, he continued to write, produce, and direct cutting edge documentaries and news segments on the critical political issues of the day. Highlights of his career include his work on "The World's Girls" ABC, (1963); the news series "ABC Scope: The Vietnam War," (1967-68); "The Beautiful Blue and Red Danube," (1967), "The Great American Dream Machine," WNET/PBS, (1971-72), "Chile: Experiment in Red," ABC, (1973). In later years, he formed his own company, Round Hill Productions, which produced the series "G.I. Diary" for Time/Life, the seven part HBO series "The Warlords," and the HBO documentary, "Heil Hitler: Confessions of a Hitler Youth," for which he won an Emmy award. He was also a winner of Christopher, Peabody, Overseas Press Club, duPont-Columbia, ACE, and Writers Guild of America awards, as well as receiving a number of Emmy nominations. In 1955, he and his wife Ellen moved to Greenwich, with their growing family at the suggestion of a friend. It was only later that Holch learned that his Lockwood ancestors had helped found the town, and built the first bridge over the Mianus River. Over the years he was active in the Greenwich community, writing several oral histories for the Greenwich Oral History Project, and producing a series of walking tour videos with the late Frank Nicholson, former Greenwich Country Day School teacher. At the time of his death he was working on a book titled "Greenwich: the Golden Apple: Big Bucks, Big Names, Big Deals," chronicling the history of wealth in the town from the 1800's to the present. In addition to his wife Ellen, Holch is survived by children Gregory and his wife Rhonda Brauer, Christopher, Hilary O'Neill, Milissa and her husband Rick Laurence, Jeremy and his wife Tanya Tabachnikoff, Meredith, Allegra, and grandchildren Azure and Aidan O'Neill, Nick and Anna Laurence, Jillian and Justin Brauer Holch, and Chaya Tabachnikoff Holch. The family will receive friends at home on Sunday, October 17th from 2pm-4pm. Contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to the Greenwich Historical Society, or to a charity of your choice.
Published in GreenwichTime on Sept. 28, 2010
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