Victor John Holchak
August 10, 1940 – September 5, 2014
Victor J. (Vic), Holchak, aka Victor A. Holchak, Obituary
Victor (Vic) Holchak, actor and sports journalist, passed away on September 5, 2014 in his home in West Hollywood, CA. He was born in South Central Los Angeles on August 10, 1940, to Victor A. Holchak and Norma Jean (Philen) Holchak, who both predeceased him.
He graduated from Manual Arts High School in 1958 and attended Los Angeles City College. After graduating from LACC, he left for London to attend the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England, to study acting and theatre craft.
But as a high school student his interest was in sports and sports journalism. He became the High School Editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner Sports Section at 14. The Herald sent him to cover the Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia in 1956, making him the youngest journalist to ever officially cover a Summer Olympics Games for a major news outlet. CBS sent him to Rome to cover the 1960 Summer Olympics, and he also covered the Summer Olympics as a journalist in Mexico City in 1968.
He took time off from journalism and worked successfully as an actor for many years, but never gave up his true passion, sports.
In the 1980’s he was part of the ‘team’ chosen by the Los Angeles Dodgers to fly to Japan and help develop content for what came to be known as Diamond Vision, in Dodger Stadium. It was the precursor to the current DodgerVision.
He began covering both the summer and Winter Olympics, and The World Track and Field Championships in the early 1980’s for ABC Radio Sports. After a few years he created his own syndicated radio sports show called Vic Holchak’s Cavalcade of Sports. He also traveled the globe covering track and field events creating content for an immediate update call-in telephone information show: 1-800/94-TRACK and 1-900/94-TRACK
As an actor he created some buzz, as well. After finishing his training at RADA, he was hired as a member of the original acting company at the Meadow Brook Theatre in Rochester, MI, and, once back in LA, he became a member of The Company of Angels, the very first Equity Waiver Theater company in the US. He not only became a member, he was elected president, and produced some very good, award-winning plays. Audiences may remember The Angel’s hilarious 1974 production of Georges Feydeau’s “A Flea in Her Ear,” which won almost every theatre award there was in LA that year. Vic played Ferraillon, and played him very well!
He is still remembered as Jim Phillips on “Days of Our Lives.” He guest starred on “The Hardy Boys,” “Police Story,” “Laverne & Shirley,” “Police Woman,” “Cannon,” “Barnaby Jones,” “Gunsmoke” (2),” “The FBI” (2), “Ironside” (2), “The Mod Squad” (2), “Dan August” (2), and “The Young and the Restless,” to name a few.
He married actress Leslie Easterbrook in 1979, and they were divorced in 1988. They performed together on an episode of “Tattletales.”
Some may remember him as the manager of the Yankees. Not THE Yankees, but a very memorable softball team that played in the Broadway Show League in West Hollywood during the 80”s. He was on the pitching staff and threw a mean medium-pitch fastball. Great team, great manager, minor scuffles and great fun for the team and the fans!
He was also known around town as someone you didn’t want to tangle with on the racquetball court or the basketball court. In his case, the punch matched the swagger.
Vic was a bigger than life character. A man you could never quite figure out, but simply wanted to know. He stood 6’7,” but tried to convince everyone he was only 6’6” because he was ostensibly too tall for TV (a lighting thing.) His favorite acting story: “I’m too tall to work with most folks, so I finally got a call to audition for a monster. Great! Can’t be too tall for that. They told me right after my reading, “That was terrific, but you’re just too short!”
Let’s dim the lights. He will be missed.
Family and friends are gathering for a small graveside memorial on Wed. Oct. 29, 2014 at 12pm at Crestlawn Memorial Park 11500 Arlington Ave. Riverside, Ca. 92505
Arrangements under the direction of Pierce Bros. Crestlawn Mortuary, Riverside, CA.
- Graveside Memorial Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Victor John Holchak
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June 11, 2015
Vic was one hell of a guy. We met at L.A.C.C. in 1961. One of the high lights of our friendship, was attending the Russian-American track-meet in Stanford in 1962. Although I had not spoken with him in many years, I thought of him often, and the good times we had. It's hard to believe he is dead.
April 29, 2015
For the good times...
Pete Nichols (Brighton, UK)
April 28, 2015
Dear unknown friends,
I lost touch with Vic ten years ago, and tried occasionally to get in touch with him, across the time difference from London
great fun with, and memories of Vic on the preceding 20 years or so on the track and field athletics circuit in Europe and beyond....
my occasional internet trawl finally landed me here, to learn the sad news
Ron & Terrie Supancic
November 9, 2014
Vic, one of a kind - fond college memories. We'll remember you.
October 21, 2014
I would hear Vic begin like this...on many occasions: "In 3, 2, and 1...." That's the countdown. And what followed on the radio from Vic Holchak was artistry and immediacy.
Vic was the best guy I ever heard call a footrace on the radio. Think about this: When they're running the 100 meters at the Olympics, you've got the fastest athletes on the planet. And you have to describe as much as you can, from start to finish.....in 10 seconds or so. Vic did it great.
A few years ago, he told our old Olympic radio boss Shelby Whitfield, "Some of the best moments of my life were at those Olympic games, working with you and ABC."
Vic may have lived on the other side of the country from me, but he was close by. One of the guys I can count on one hand as one of my closest friends.
Vic and I became buddies in the 80's. We got shut out of Opening Ceremonies tickets in Seoul, so we toasted with beers from our press village balcony. We DID get through the ceremony in Lillehammer, Norway in 1994. Coldest I've ever been. You couldn't tell Vic was a Southern Californian. He kept filing his stories, as we stood in the cold and darkness. In Nagano, in 1998, we did calls to radio stations sitting at adjacent pay phones....informing listeners about the day's events, and what we'd discovered about Japanese culture. Someone took a photo of us jabbering away. I framed it and sent it to him. When we'd connect through the years, Vic would mention how much he enjoyed that picture that hung in his home.
We'd stay in touch on the phone. Calls were always at random. He was ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS glad to hear you call. Loved to talk about radio, and about life. He always had ideas, and often said, "well, that's for another conversation."
I learned how important it is to MAKE that time.
Now I treasure our talks....even more.
You're the BEST, Vic.