Matt Holzman Dead: Beloved KCRW Host Dies from Cancer

Matt Holzman death

Getty Matt Holzman speaks onstage during the 2018 IDA Documentary Awards

Matt Holzman, a veteran KCRW radio host, curator of Matt’s Movies, and producer of The Document died Sunday night, April 12, 2020.

Holzman underwent a successful kidney transplant in 1996, which he spoke about on NPR. But last year, the beloved audio storyteller was diagnosed with cancer, KCRW’s President Jennifer Ferro wrote:

“The news of his cancer diagnosis last Fall was shocking. Definitive and unforgiving, there was not much else to say about it. He handled it with such openness. He was scared and worried more about being a patient again — as he had on those years of dialysis — than about the death part.”

KCRW is a member station of National Public Radio based in Santa Monica, California, and the popular Los Angeles news station shared a heartfelt tribute to one of its original producers:

A dear member of our KCRW family passed away today. Matt Holzman dedicated his life to KCRW and helped shape it into the public radio station we all love. His imprint won’t be forgotten.

It’s in the voices who emulated him, the producers he trained and the people who he pulled towards him like a magnet. We’ll miss his voice, his stories and the way he shared his passion with listeners everywhere. Rest In Peace, Matt.

Ferro also noted that Holzman “found love around the time of his diagnosis which gave him monumental happiness. Adria was with him until the end.”

Holzman Was The First Producer of KCRW Show ‘The Document’

How One Film Critic Lost It While Watching 'Alive Inside'Matt Holzman of KCRW tells 'Alive Inside' filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett how hard it is to make film critics cry — and why, during a screening of his film, Holzman couldn't hold back.2014-12-04T00:36:35.000Z

The Document, KCRW’s first show, was the brainchild of Holzman, who successfully combined two of his favorite mediums: documentary filmmaking and audio storytelling. In his own words, it was as if “a documentary and a radio show had a baby.”

Holzman, originally from Long Beach, California, graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in computer science. After a brief stint of working in the corporate world in Chicago, he returned to the Los Angeles area and started working at a small radio station, originally as a board operator.

After creating the KCRW Underwriting Department, Holzman fired himself from that position to become a full-time radio producer and tell stories through audio. After The Document, Holzman created Matt’s Movies, in which he interviewed film directors and producers, and directed Madeleine Brand for Press Play.

Holzman’s passion and knowledge for movies made him highly respected by the filmmakers and producers whom he interviewed. The Independent Documentary Association tweeted, “We are extremely saddened to hear the passing of @kcrw’s @KCRW_Matt. Matt Holzman has been a long-term dear friend of the IDA and champion of documentaries. We will miss you at our events and on the radio, rest in peace.”

Heartfelt Tributes From Friends, Listeners & Fellow Media Celebrities Were Shared On Social Media

The passing of Holzman left the people of Southern California devastated on Easter Sunday. Former KCRW host Claude Brodesser-Akner tweeted, “Heartbroken to learn of the death of KCRW’s Matt Holzman, my producer when I hosted “The Business” from 2004-09. Matt was as talented as they come & funny & self-effacing. I don’t think I can say more without breaking down, except that I hope he’s sailing somewhere beautiful now.”

Doug Blush wrote on Facebook, “Our doc community, and the city of LA and world, have lost a friend, aficionado and wonderful guy. Matt Holzman was an absolute staple of so many events, festivals, screenings and interviews, and his podcast The Document stands as a living testament to his love of both docs and radio. I’m profoundly saddened to lose Matt’s voice and his belief in the truth.”

Darryl Wharton-Rigby tweeted, “When I lived in LA I was an avid @kcrw listener. Matt Holzman had a voice that was assured and confident. He will be miss. Rest In Power.”

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