Obituary Holly Victoria Burnett

Holly Victoria Burnett, a diagnosed “brittle” diabetic who struggled for many years to battle the irregularities of her blood glucose readings, passed away quietly in her Arlington home on July 19, 2014. She was 49 years old.

A career woman all of her life, Holly spent 14 years at the American Diabetes Association in Alexandria, and another 9 years at the American Builders and Contractors Association in Arlington. She was the wind beneath most people’s wings, and was proud to support whomever she was helping, without asking for any credit. Of course, she could also tell you every husband of Elizabeth Taylor’s as well as the film credits of most any actor you could imagine, and do a mean Carol Channing and Edith Bunker impersonation.

A kid whose Dad taught her about movies and took her to Broadway shows, Holly spent all her days studying actors and actresses, reading their biographies and watching their films and live theater performances.

As a freshly graduated film major settling into Arlington, Virginia in 1988, Holly was fortunate to feed her passion with part-time summer jobs teaching film classes at the most prestigious private schools within the Washington area from 1989 through 1997, including Episcopal High School on Quaker Lane, St. Stephens/St. Agnes in Alexandria and The Potomac School in McLean. For many years, she was the proud hostess of an annual Academy Awards party in her Arlington residence.

Holly Burnett freelanced for many publications within the Washington Metropolitan area over the last 25 years and developed a following for her feature pieces as well as her food and theater reviews in The Alexandria Gazette Packet, The Alexandria Times, The Old Town Crier and The Zebra.

Born in Tallahassee, Florida, Holly spent most of her youth in California mapping the celebrity homes and lunching and shopping in Beverly Hills. She was an honors graduate of the Westridge School for Girls in Pasadena, California and held a B.A. and Masters in English, Creative Writing and Film from Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia.

Holly is survived by her father, Joe A. Burnett, 85, of Lanark Village, FL, her sister and brother-in-law Wendy and Park Randall Miller of Tallahassee, FL, her niece Holly Randall Miller, also of Tallahassee, her longtime friend Mary Wadland of Arlington, VA, and their two little dogs, Teddy and Toddler.
Services will be held 5 pm on August 16 at Everly Wheatley, 1500 W Braddock Rd, Alexandria, VA 22302,
(703) 998-9200.

In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the American Diabetes Association or the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, VA.

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One Comment

  1. I went to Westridge School with Holly in Pasadena, CA. She was one of the most unique people any of us had ever met. At first, as young kids, most of us didn’t know what to think about this girl with an encyclopedic knowledge and passion for the golden age of Hollywood — which was no doubt hard for her.. But soon she became a loved and appreciated member of the school community. Whip smart and funny, and quite willing to pave her own special path through life, she still remains one of those people who I regularly think about even though I think I last saw her while we were both in high school. I’m so glad she lived such a full life and was able to express her passions about film, animals, writing and activism. I only wish she could have had more time to do it all, and (selfishly) that I could have told her what an impact she had on me during those young years we spent together. This obit means a lot to me — thank you.

  2. I cannot imagine that even one of our high school classmates wasn’t impacted in some way by Holly. To me, her quirks were a magical gift, and I knew that her talent surpassed anyone I knew. Her romantic crush on Christopher Lee was peculiar to me, but her reveries were simply loftier
    than my own. Had it not been for the Burnetts, I would’t have spent a dreamy Thanksgiving weekend at the Waldorf or spring bank on Maui. Lunching in Beverly Hills was not something to which I was accustomed, but thanks to her mom’s reservations at the Bistro Garden under ‘Carol Burnett’ – not using her usual ‘Carolyn’ – we got great seating! I still have Holly’s poetry that she shared with me in confidence; when thumbing through The New Yorker, I’ve always expected to find her work published. In fact, I had always expected that she would be the most famous among the little band of 39 graduating seniors. She was far more grown up than any of us. There was a sense of awe and pride when she blossomed into a confident, articulate, self-assured candidate for Student Body Vice President our junior year. She deserved that success and adulation. I am shock that she is gone. It took me almost 30 years to reconnect with my former classmates after I left California. I waited too long to see if Holly would still be my friend, and for that, I am sorry. She played a bigger role in my life than I was perhaps willing to admit. She will never know that from the bottom of my heart I wished her happiness and success.

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