Joseph F. Holt

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Joseph F. Holt
Joseph F. Holt (California Congressman).jpg
From 1959's Pocket Congressional Directory of the Eighty-Sixth Congress
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 22nd district
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 3, 1961
Preceded by John J. Phillips
Succeeded by James C. Corman
Personal details
Born Joseph Franklin Holt, III
July 6, 1924
Springfield, Massachusetts
Died July 14, 1997(1997-07-14) (aged 73)
Santa Maria, California
Political party Republican
Alma mater University of Southern California
Awards Purple Heart
Military service
Service/branch U.S. Marine Corps
Years of service 1943-1945, 1951
Rank Second lieutenant

Joseph Franklin Holt, III (July 6, 1924 – July 14, 1997) was a U.S. Representative from California.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, Holt moved to Los Angeles, California, with his parents when one year of age. He attended the public schools. Holt later enlisted as a private in the United States Marine Corps and was called to active duty in July 1943 during World War II. He was discharged as a Second Lieutenant in October 1945. Holt returned home and attended the University of Southern California where he earned a B.S. in 1947. He later engaged in the insurance business and then entered the public relations field. Eventually he became the state president of the Young Republicans of California and served as Richard Nixon's field director during the 1950 senate race against Helen Gahagan Douglas. In January 1951 was recalled to active duty with the Marine Corps and volunteered for duty in the Korean War. He was wounded in action and was awarded the Purple Heart.

Holt was elected as a Republican to the Eighty-third in 1952 and served three additional terms until he declined to run for reelection in 1960. In the 1952 Republican primary for the newly drawn 22nd congressional district in southern California he was aided by the strong endorsement of Nixon. His opponent, state senator Jack Tenney, felt that Nixon, a popular U.S. senator, should have remained neutral in the race, but Nixon countered by saying that Holt represented the sort of young veteran that congress needed.

During a visit to the Soviet Union in 1955 Rep. Holt was held at gun point by a Soviet Army officer that demanded that he cease taking photographs of a church near Moscow.[1]

In 1956, Representative Holt appeared as a panelist on the Art Linkletter Los Angeles based television show People Are Funny. A contestant from the audience was selected; an insurance claims collector from Brooklyn, New York named Lillian Gelting. She had to determine which of the three men on stage was the real member of Congress, between a Chevron service station attendant/owner from the San Fernando Valley named Earl Sager and a press agent for Ringling Brothers Circus named Norman Carroll. The grand prize was $1,000, when she failed to select the Representative, she chose the press agent first, her award dropped to $250. In her second and final attempt, Lillian chose the gas station attendant/owner. Since Lillian was unable to select Representative Holt from the panel, both Sager and Carroll were given, "a magnificent Magnavox portable television set, for the finest reproduction of sight and sound." Since Lillian was unable to pick Representative Holt out of the panel, the show sent her on "an all expenses paid trip, on United Airlines, the number one radar airlines in the country, to the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas." Which was unique because she claimed that her family trip to the west coast included a trip to Las Vegas anyway; Lillian did ask Art if the show would "cover anything I lose?" To which Art answered with an emphatic "No," with a laugh; Art contended that, "Since you're a Congressman and can't accept gifts from your constituents without being investigated. Every Congressman spends a lot of time in smoke filled rooms, and so we want you to have your own bag of smoke. And there it is, you can open it up, and there comes the smoke." Representative Holt chuckled and responded, "Just what I've always wanted."

Holt later attempted unsuccessfully to return to congress in 1968, but was defeated in the general election by the incumbent James Corman. He spent the rest of his career as a business consultant and died in Santa Maria, California on July 14, 1997.


  1. ^ [1]


U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John J. Phillips
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 22nd congressional district

Succeeded by
James C. Corman

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website