Former Disney exec Dave Hollis who helped relaunch the Star Wars brand and played key role in Frozen franchise dies aged 47 after recently being hospitalized for heart-related health issues

  • Hollis served as Disney’s president of worldwide distribution until he left in 2018
  • He later pursued a career in self-help, penning books and launching a podcast
  • Hollis, who died Saturday, is survived by ex-wife Rachel and their four children 

Former Disney executive Dave Hollis has died aged just 47.

Hollis, who served as the company’s president of worldwide distribution until he decided to step down in 2018, died at home in Austin, Texas on Saturday.

His death comes weeks after he had been hospitalized for heart-related health issues. The specific cause of death has not yet been revealed. 

During his time at the helm of Disney’s distribution operations, Hollis rolled out many of Disney’s most profitable box office hits, including Marvel Studios’ ‘The Avengers’, Lucasfilm’s ‘Star Wars – The Force Awakens’ and Pixar’s animated children’s flick ‘Frozen’.

Dave Hollis is pictured at The Walt Disney Studios Presentation, CinemaCon, Las Vegas, USA, in 2018 shortly before his resignation

Hollis is pictured with his children in this image taken from Instagram

Hollis is seen delivering a presentation at CinemaCon in Los Angeles in 2018

In a statement released upon his resignation from Disney in 2018, Hollis said: ‘I can’t count the number of ”pinch-me” moments I’ve had in my time at Disney. 

‘In a world where so few opportunities could compare, the chance to support my wife and help grow her company was something I couldn’t pass up.’

The year prior to Hollis’ departure, Disney was the top studio in terms of its domestic market share, scooping 22 per cent of ticket sales and dominating rivals despite having released fewer films.

Globally, Disney’s films grossed more than $6 billion in 2017, which earned Hollis huge acclaim, making his departure from the company less than 12 months later all the more surprising.

Shortly after resigning from Disney, Hollis became the chief executive of Chic Media, a production company which was launched by his then-wife Rachel and based in Texas.

Hollis shares four children with Rachel, with whom he later divorced.

In his life after Disney, Hollis leaned into the self-help and motivational speaking industry. 

He launched a podcast – Rise Together – which interviewed experts from various industries and asked them to advise listeners on how to improve different facets of their life.

Hollis penned a pair of self-help books entitled ‘Get Out of Your Own Way: A Skeptic’s Guide to Growth and Fulfillment’ and ‘Built Through Courage: Face Your Fears To Live the Life You Were Meant For.’

And he channeled his Disney storytelling chops in a children’s book as well as a children’s picture book, ‘Here’s to Your Dreams!: A Teatime with Noah Book.’  

Hollis is pictured with three of his children in this image taken from his Instagram page

Hollis is seen riding a bus with his four children

Tributes have begun to flood in for Hollis on social media

Hollis also founded a charity fund in his name which provides support for children and adolescents living in foster homes or on the streets.

Fellow self-help guru and author Brendon Burchard shared a touching tribute to Hollis, with whom he was close friends, on social media.

‘I have devastating news. Dave Hollis passed away this weekend. He was 47. 

‘Dave was a good man, a loving father, an inspiring teacher, and a dear friend. We spent a lot of time together. I loved his caring and empathy, his energy and enthusiasm, his vulnerability in sharing his struggles, and his love of his children and helping people. 

‘We taught for a year together and the depth of his sharing and wisdom had me and our audience in tears so many times. I loved our funny conversations, how he taught, how many great laughs and grand plans we shared. 

‘We were just together last month with friends when he was hospitalized with heart-related issues. He was released okay and I got to share with him then our love for him then, as did our friends. He knew he was loved. 

‘Sending our love, prayers and condolences to his family, his beautiful 4 children, and all our shared friends and communities. Today would have been Dave’s birthday, so this all feels very unreal and devastating. Tell people you love them. 

‘I will miss you my brother. Rest In Peace dear friend.’

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