Anthony Holden

Holden headshot
Born in Southport, Lancashire, England, Anthony Ivan Holden (1947-2023) attended two boarding schools, Trearddur House and the Oundle School, before studying English language and literature at Merton College, Oxford, where he edited the student magazine Isis and translated ancient Greek works for the Oxford University Drama Society and the Cambridge University Press.

Holden started his journalism career at the regional newspaper
Hemel Hempstead Evening Post-Echo, covering the trial of the psychopathic poisoner Graham Young in St Albans. His book on the case, The St. Albans Poisoner (1974), was filmed as “The Young Poisoner’s Handbook” (1995). Named Young Journalist of the Year in 1972, he was on the staff of The Sunday Times (1973–79), was named News Reporter of the Year in 1976 for his work in Northern Ireland, and was Columnist of the Year in 1977. He was Washington Correspondent and US editor of The Observer (1979–81), Assistant Editor of The Times (1981–82), Executive Editor, Today (1985–86), and chief classical music critic of The Observer (2002–08).

His several books about the British monarchy include
Prince Charles: A Biography (1979), Their Royal Highnesses: The Prince & Princess of Wales (1981), A Week in the Life of the Royal Family (1983), Anthony Holden’s Royal Quiz (1983), Charles (1988; serialized in The Sunday Times), and The Tarnished Crown (1993). His other books are Laurence Olivier (1988), Behind the Oscars: The Secret History of the Academy Awards (1993), William Shakespeare: The Man Behind the Genius (2000), the memoir Based on a True Story: A Writer’s Life (2021) and The Man Who Wrote Mozart: The Extraordinary Life of Lorenzo Da Ponte (2006).

In 1999–2000 Holden was an inaugural Fellow of the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. He served on the Board of Governors of the South Bank Centre (2002–08) and was a Trustee of the Shakespeare North Trust. Holden has also made frequent appearances on television, presenting documentaries such as “Charles at Forty” (ITV, 1988), “Anthony Holden on Poker” (BBC 2, 1991) and “Who Killed Tchaikovsky?” (Omnibus, BBC 1, 1993). In the mid-1980s, he presented a weekly BBC Radio 4 chat show, “In the Air”.

Holden spent a year playing poker professionally while researching his 1990 book
Big Deal: A Year as a Professional Poker Player, which covers his experiences between the World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournaments in 1988 and 1989. His 2007 book Bigger Deal: A Year Inside the Poker Boom is a journal of his second stint as a professional player, between the 2005 and 2006 WSOP events.

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