Death: April, 14 2017 in San Fernando, California (United States)
Country: United States
Category: Male Beach Player
Bernie Holtzman, who once said that "Volleyball is God's gift to the beach bum," started playing volleyball on the beach in 1935. At age 13, he would find ways to travel from Hollywood to the Santa Monica Pier area to spend time at the "Playground" Promenade and Arcadia Terrace. A few years later while still in his teens, Holtzman teamed with Carl Stewart and became the best player on the Playground.
Later, Holtzman competed during an era when only two or three "Open" tournaments were held each year. He and Manny Saenz formed a near-unbeatable tandem on the beach, winning 10 "Open" tournaments beginning with the 1948 State Beach Men's Open. Holtzman and Gene Selznick formed another almost unbeatable combination as the two won 18 out of 20 "Open" tournaments beginning in 1955.
Holtzman also excelled in the indoor game, competing for the Hollywood YMCA Team. In 2000, Holtzman was still playing volleyball two to three nights a week at the age of 77. He stopped playing volleyball in 2004 at the age of 82 when the Hollywood YMCA rescheduled "Volleyball-Play" in the gym at 10 p.m. However, he remained active and took up racquetball since the courts were available at all hours.
Holtzman was inducted into the California Beach Volleyball Association Hall of Fame in 1992. USA Volleyball recognized him on its 75th Anniversary Beach All-Era Team (1928-1952).