Monday, July 14, 2008

Val Holley

I will never be able to hear an ABBA song without thinking of Val Holley.

Val Holley.

Val and I met through Brett Parkinson, a mutual friend of ours at BYU. They had met two years earlier as missionaries destined for Brazil but serving temporarily in San Diego awaiting visas. The San Diego Brazilians, of whom I eventually met several, were a motley crew indeed.

Val was animated, witty and full of life, always a good time, particularly in the back of cars belting out tunes from ABBA or Saturday's Warrior. Think "Bohemian Rhapsody" in Wayne's World. Plus one.

"Knowing me, knowing you,

Yes, Val, to this day I can still see you and Brett en route to Diana Sather's wedding reception in Evanston, Wyoming, nodding your head to that music. When I go to see "Mamma Mia" at its debut next week, I will hear you beside me.

Val went on to law school, became a legislative and reference librarian in Washington, D.C., and is now best known as the current definitive author on James Dean (James Dean, The Biography). He is also the author of Mike Connolly: The Manly Art of Hollywood Gossip.


Bill Geerhart said...

I am researching a biography on Phillipa Fallon and I am interested in getting in touch with Mr. Holley to see if he came across her name while performing research for the Connolly book. I can be reached at

Could you help me get in touch with him?


Bill Geerhart

Val said...

You ask whether my memory includes you somewhere, if only in a corner. Let me count the ways. How about that Big Piney bromide, "I not only graduated in the top three percent; I WAS the top three percent," a yarn I've proudly told at least a dozen times over the years? And the Pat Williams LP, Threshold, which you introduced me to, an all-time favorite. I particularly remember your instructing me that it was a feat of extreme coolness to smoke a cigar down to intact ash as Williams had done on that cover.

Then there's Professor Lorna Ruth Nielsen's immortal, "The critics and I tend to agree," which recurs in my consciousness constantly. Hey, you really must add Nielsen to this here rogue's gallery.

It is with grave solemnity, however, that I must inform you that I loathed "Mamma Mia" (stage version; wouldn't think of seeing the movie).