Dave Hollis, former Disney executive, dies at 47

A man with short brown hair wearing a blue suit, speaking into a microphone and gesturing with his hand
Dave Hollis, then-executive vice president of theatrical exhibition sales and distribution for Walt Disney Studios, attends CinemaCon 2015 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP)

Dave Hollis, former president of worldwide theatrical distribution for Walt Disney Studios, has died. He was 47.

The longtime film executive died at his home near Austin, Texas, on Saturday night after he had been recently hospitalized “for some heart issues,” a spokesperson for Hollis’ family confirmed Monday to the Los Angeles Times. The exact cause of death has yet to be determined.

Dave Hollis’ ex-wife, “Girl, Wash Your Face” author Rachel Hollis, said Tuesday in a statement posted on Instagram that their family is “devastated.” Dave Hollis and Rachel Hollis shared four children.


“I have no words and my heart is too broken to find them,” Rachel Hollis wrote. “Please wrap the kids up in prayers as we try and navigate through the unthinkable.”

Dave Hollis, president of worldwide theatrical distribution for Walt Disney Studios, is leaving the Burbank entertainment giant after 17 years.

March 5, 2018

In 2011, Disney promoted Dave Hollis to lead the studio’s global distribution arm. During his seven-year tenure in the position, Hollis oversaw the releases of major franchises such as “Star Wars” and “The Avengers.”

Hollis spent 17 years at the Mouse House before leaving in 2018 to serve as chief executive of Chic Media, the women-focused digital content company founded by Rachel Hollis.

“I am very thankful to Dave for his dynamic and fearless leadership of our distribution organization, which has seen our studio [grow] to incredible heights at the worldwide box office,” said Alan Bergman, current co-chairman of Disney entertainment, when Hollis departed the studio.

Hollywood’s annual gathering of movie studios and theater owners in Las Vegas, known at CinemaCon, normally opens with a cheerleading speech for the movie business dominated by talk of box office records and global growth.

March 28, 2017


A motivational message and video Hollis filmed in September is pinned to his Instagram profile. In recent years, Hollis devoted much of his time to sharing his and others’ life advice and experiences via Instagram and his podcast, “Rise Together.”

“Wanna feel better about yourself?” he captioned the post.

“You don’t need to get up earlier. You don’t need to work harder. You don’t need to do more. You just need to follow through on the commitments you’ve made to yourself. Simple and not always easy, but every time it’s the path to building self-respect, pride, dignity, confidence… and dare I say, actually loving yourself. Let’s go.”

Times staff writer Ryan Faughnder contributed to this report.