Rachel Hollis Reacts To Death Of Ex-Husband, Former Disney Executive Dave Hollis: “My Heart Is Too Broken”


New York Times bestselling author and CEO of the multimedia Hollis Company, Rachel Hollis, took to social today about the sudden loss of her ex-husband, former Disney President of Worldwide Distribution Dave Hollis.

Dave Hollis passed away Saturday at 47. No cause of death had been determined, but the family confirmed that the former Disney exec had been hospitalized due to heart issues.

“We are devastated,” Rachel Hollis wrote on Instagram. “I have no words and my heart is too broken to find them.”

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She added, “Please wrap the kids up in prayers as we try and navigate through the unthinkable.”

Dave Hollis is survived by four children.

News of Dave Hollis’ death stunned the distribution community. The 17-year Disney vet had steered Disney’s feature slate through its pre-Fox merger and Disney+ heyday with franchise peaks such as Star Wars: Force Awakens and Avengers: Infinity War. His box office track record was more than impeccable counting several industry all-time records with $7 billion wwide in 2016, $6 billion in 2017, and a seven year tenure that saw 12 Disney releases clear north of $1 billion at the global box office, and one over $2 billion (Force Awakens). Even more so, Hollis was known his razor-sharp business acumen, good guy personality and charismatic personality.

Then Disney Chairman Alan Horn called the outgoing Hollis at the 2018 CinemaCon “an equal” to former Warner Bros Disney distribution boss Dan Fellman.

“When I left, I thought I’ll never see his equal, but I have and it’s Dave Hollis,” Horn exclaimed at CinemaCon that year.

Hollis left Disney in June 2018, going to work for and lead his then wife Rachel’s multimedia empire that spanned motivational speaking, books, self-help podcasts and entrepreneurial endeavors. He oversaw the the Fathom Events theatrical release of her documentary Rachel Hollis Presents: Made for More in August 2018. The doc followed the Girl, Wash Your Face author as she tackled her dream of producing the RISE conference series, which brought women who don’t look the same, vote the same, or act the same together in a supportive and inspirational community. 

Dave Hollis took inspiration from Rachel and wrote his own self-help book, which hit store shelves just as Covid was hitting in March 2020, entitled Get Out of Your Own Way. In it, he said about his high flight run as head of Disney distribution “I was getting straight As and didn’t need to study. As the slate continued to grow and the teams hit their stride, turning out hits became more common and the fleeting effort required to make a sale left me feeling something that, for the longest time, I couldn’t put my finger on. I got the biggest bonuses of my life, the most recognition of my career, and was the envy of others who had to work harder to do a similar job at other studios; and yet because of that contrast, I was miserable.”

Later on in the chapter, Hollis wrote, “In what many saw as a crazy move, I quit. I left a great job full of security, opting out of a guaranteed multi-million-dollar annual salary and a position full of clout and prestige. I walked away to chase dreams with my wife. In a leap of faith, before her big book sold a single copy, we made the decision to move our family from LA to a small town just south of Austin, Texas.”

Dave Hollis and Rachel Hollis would later divorce. But Dave would continue to write. In 2021, he wrote his second-self help book, Built Through Courage: Face Your Fears to Live the Life You Were Meant For, in which he documented his public divorce and his own self awakening. He also authored the children’s book Here’s to Your Dreams. On social media, Dave Hollis would post continually about the work with his church, life with his children, working out and life with his partner, fitness influencer and author, Heidi Powell.

One of Dave Hollis last posts was that of his daughter fishing.

“From a freeze to shorts in less than 48 hours. Today was a good day” he wrote.

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