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Bob Holiday
Broadway's First Superman
November 12, 1932 - January 27, 2017

To all Bob Holiday’s fans . . .

Thank you for your outpouring of love for Bob, and your wonderful words of support
for his family and for me, Toni Collins, his “buddy.”

I’ve posted some of your tributes and well wishes, and—whether or not I’ve posted them—I’ve read every single one to Kelly, Bob’s beloved daughter. She thanks you all.

The one tribute you haven’t read is mine. It’s mostly because I couldn’t pull myself together long enough from my grief over Bob’s death to begin to write about him. As time has passed, I’m better able to cope. The grief washes over me at strange times. The first time I walked into the grocery store that always carried terrific Superman cards—which I’d buy and send to Bob—I burst into tears. Today the radio played Dionne Warwick’s “Promises Promises” and my eyes glistened more than a bit (Bob appeared as J.D. Sheldrake opposite Anthony Robbins in the Los Angeles revival of the show).

Bob Holiday was my friend for over a decade. I saw him as Superman when I was eleven years old, met him backstage (while watching him flirt with my beautiful mother), and spent 38 years singing along with the him on the Superman cast album. I connected with him personally after he attended the 2003 Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL. Steve McCracken built Bob a web site, and I just happened to stumble upon it.

I wrote Bob a fan letter; it came back stamped “Undeliverable.” I wrote him an eMail; I never got an answer. I tried one last time and asked Steve Younis of if he’d forward an eMail for me; Bingo! I heard back from Bob immediately.

Bob and I enjoyed occasionally writing to each other. I asked whether he’d seen the biscuit commercial with “You’ve Got Possibilities”. He wrote back, “No. But the Pillsbury Dough Boy winked at me in the grocery store today.” And when he discovered the wealth of fan eMails that were somewhat hidden behind his web site, he found my unanswered eMail from long ago. He wrote back, “Ah ………. a beautiful world …….. coming around again.” He loved using those dots when he'd write!

Over time, I noticed that Bob’s web site never changed. I wrote, “I have a computer science degree. How would you feel about me updating your web site?” He replied, “I’d really love that.” And so was born a decade of collaboration.

One day, Bob called me to say he needed to talk to me, that he didn’t want me to read about this on the Internet. He was going in for open heart surgery that week. From that time forward, it became my joy to call him every week. I rarely missed our weekly chats. Once his computer broke down, I began reading his eMails to him and typing back his answers to his fans. When interviews became too taxing for his strength, we’d ask for written questions and Bob and I would work together on them, with me, again, typing up his answers. (You can tell the difference; I never mastered the art of writing with dots the way Bob could.)

I never had the chance to again meet Bob Holiday in person. How is it that someone you met once at the age of eleven could become your true and dear friend? A few months before his death, Bob was rushed to the hospital. I happened to call, and Kelly let Bob know that “Toni called this morning.” “Aw,” he said, “that’s my buddy.” It is a title I will cherish for the rest of my life.

On Friday, January 27, 2017, the day Bob died, a small miracle occurred. Some people would say it was just a series of coincidences. But I say that when a slew of coincidences line up in a row, that’s a miracle . . . someone upstairs is stirring the pot.

  • I brought my purse and phone upstairs Thursday night, which I almost never do.

  • I had my phone on “ring,” not “silent,” uncommon on a Friday.

  • I was standing by my purse when Kelly texted, or I never would have heard it.

  • The text said that Bob was strong enough for a phone call, which hadn’t been the case for days.

  • I had met some commitments a day early, so I was free to stay home and call Bob.

And so, two hours before he died, I got one last phone call with Bob Holiday. He was too weak to speak, so I sang to him a song from the show, I thanked him for years of friendship, and I said, “You’re going on a long journey, Bob, and the Lord will be there with you. I hope you’ll accept His welcome when you meet Him.”

Rest in peace, Bob Holiday.
I’m sure there are a lot of angels
swooning from your crooning
and laughing at your jokes.

“You’re tops in my book, Cookie!”

Bob's family wishes to thank all of Bob's fans for their outpouring of love and respect.Toni Collins, web master for Bob since 2007, also thanks you all. You have been a big help in the healing process.

Bob Holiday Flying

For the first time, we have an opening night anniversary without Bob to celebrate with us. May he rest in peace.
Fly with the angels, Bob! We miss you so much.

Montages created in memory of Bob Holiday

Bob Holiday Through The Years

Tribute to Bob Holiday courtesy of Toni Collins and Kelly Holiday-Said

Paul Willetts Crowley Tribute to Bob Holiday

Tribute to Bob Holiday courtesy of Paul Willetts Crowley and Skyarc Digital Arts

Brad Shey Tribute to Bob Holiday

Tribute to Bob Holiday courtesy of Brad Shey

John Rodgers Tribute to Bob Holiday

Tribute to Bob Holiday courtesy of John Rodgers

Peter Norman Heimsoth Tribute to Bob Holiday

Tribute to Bob Holiday courtesy of Peter Norman Heimsoth

Brian McKernan's moving tribute to Bob Holiday:

Bob Holiday, the first actor to portray Superman on the Broadway stage, in the 1966 Harold Prince musical comedy “It’s a Bird...It’s a Plane...It’s Superman,” died on January 27 at his home in Hawley, PA. He was 84.

Mr. Holiday had been a successful home builder in Lake Wallenpaupack PA since the late 1970’s, although his first love was performing in front of live audiences ...

CLICK HERE to read Brian McKernan's full obituary for the great Bob Holiday.

Click Here to Enter Bob Holiday's Web Site

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Photos Courtesy of Bob Holiday
Text © 2017 Brian McKernan and Toni Collins
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