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Alumni Profile

News anchor also produces documentaries

Art HolidayKSDK-TV anchor and executive producer Art Holliday, right, interviewed piano player Johnnie Johnson for a documentary before he died. Photo courtesy of Art Holiday

KSDK-TV news anchor Art Holliday, MA '76, nurtures a passion for documentary filmmaking. He calls the process a welcome change from producing three-minute news segments.

"When you decide to do a documentary, you’re committing eight to 10 years of your life," says Holliday, who is completing work on his second movie, Johnnie Be Good, about legendary St. Louis piano player Johnnie Johnson, who along with band mate Chuck Berry was a founding father of rock and roll.

Holliday's first documentary, Before They Fall Off the Cliff, chronicled two St. Louis siblings' struggle to forgive and support their younger brother, who murdered their parents while suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

That film played at documentary film festivals including Columbia's True/False and has become required viewing for St. Louis's Crisis Intervention Team, a program that trains police officers to deal with mentally ill citizens. Holliday was gratified to see the film take on such a role. "I would have never predicted that sort of use for the film when I started," Holliday says, "to literally help save lives."

By coincidence, Holliday's daughter, Taylor, is now studying psychology at Mizzou. "I try to encourage her to find where she fits in," says Holliday, who still fits in at Mizzou himself. Last fall, he attended the Nebraska football game with a group of friends who were summer orientation leaders together in 1974. And a little piece of Holliday remains on campus all the time: The fourth floor of Mizzou's Excellence residence hall is named for him.