Matt Holzman, Admired KCRW Host and Producer, Dies at 56

Matt Holzman - Panel at American Film Market -2012-Getty-H 2020
Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images

He presided over 'Matt's Movies' and the radio station's 'The Document' podcast.

Matt Holzman, the popular producer and host behind such KCRW radio programs as The Business, Matt's Movies and Press Play, has died, the NPR member station announced. He was 56.

Holzman, who underwent a kidney transplant in 1996, was diagnosed with cancer last fall.

"Matt Holzman's imprint won't be forgotten," KCRW president Jennifer Ferro said. "It's in the voices who emulated him, the producers he trained and the people who he pulled toward him like a magnet."

Born in Long Beach, California, Holzman attended UC Santa Barbara and started as a board operator at Santa Monica-based KCRW in October 1989 before creating the station's underwriting department.

"I remember when Matt fired himself from that job. He wanted to be a radio producer. So he quit and after a few days was rehired, at a much lower salary, to become an audio storyteller," Ferro wrote. "One of his first stories was about a young man whose kidney disease left him on punishing dialysis three days a week in a five-year-long wait for a donor kidney. That man was Matt. He got a call while he was in line for a ride at Disneyland that some very precious cargo was waiting for him."

Holzman was the first producer of The Business; created Matt's Movies, which had him interviewing directors and producers; produced and directed Press Play with Madeleine Brand; and launched the podcast The Document, which he said was "like if a documentary and a radio show had a baby."

He received his kidney from a 14-year-old boy killed in a skateboarding accident.

On Twitter, The Hollywood Reporter editor-at-large Kim Masters noted that Holzman was instrumental in her being hired as host of The Business and "in many ways he was KCRW. No one had a bigger heart." Brand called him "a funny, fiercely smart, sensitive, generous man — he embodied the spirit of ?@kcrw."

Survivors include his girlfriend, Adria, who works at KCRW.