STEVE HOLLAND: The World's Greatest Illustration Art Model
Illustration|Illustration No. 73
Thomas Steven Holland was born January 8, 1925, in Seattle Washington, and died on May 10, 1997, at age 72 in Humboldt County, California following a brief illness. He was married three times and had two children from his first marriage, a son named Claude and a daughter, Nicole.
Michael Stradford

Paperback cover illustration for Cry of the Hawk, 1970, by Peter Caras. Oil on board

Born to a single mother along with three brothers, Steve Holland lived an early life where times were hard, and money was scarce. Physically adept, Holland worked in a number of fields including the Merchant Marines, and as a pottery maker, before ending up with a relatively short-lived career as an actor. His most notable role was as television’s ‘Flash Gordon’ in 1954 for 39 episodes, before the show was cancelled. He also appeared on stage with Julie Harris in The Warm Peninsula, and had small roles in a few movies. Holland applied what he learned as an actor to modeling as he quickly became the go-to guy for men’s adventure magazines, comic book covers, the Saturday Evening Post, advertising ads, and mass-market paperbacks. Holland was largely the face of Western, war, crime, espionage, and adventure publications for more than 30 years.

Holland posed for a variety of paperback series, including The Avenger, Flash Gordon, James Bond, The Spider, and many more, but he’s best known for the iconic Doc Savage covers captured by James Bama and a variety of other illustrators. His final job as ‘Doc’ was for The Frightened Fish, painted by Joe DeVito in 1991. At the time, Steve Holland was 66 years old and was clearly still fit for battle.

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