Duvall Hecht, founder of Books on Tape, has died at 91
“Books on tape were sellers to see if you were selling to libraries, because they were creating a lot of material,” said Michelle Cobb, executive director of the Audio Publishers Association. “Everyone looked to Duvall and Sigrid as industry leaders.”
Duvall Young Hatch was born on 23 April 1930 in Los Angeles. His father, John, was a stockbroker, and his mother, Clarabelle (Young) Hecht, was a homemaker. After graduating from Beverly Hills High School, where he was a disinterested student, Duvall attended Menlo College in Atherton, Calif., for a year, before transferring to Stanford University.
While studying for a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he was recruited for the Stanford rowing team; He excelled enough to earn a place competing for the United States in Helsinki in 1952, shortly after graduation. He and his teammate James Pfeiffer competed in coxed pairs, with each rower using an oar on either side of the boat, driven by a coxswain. He did not get any medal.
Mr Hecht entered the Marines, where he was a fighter pilot, but this time continued his training in rowing for the 1956 Summer Games in Melbourne, Australia. He and Mr. Pfeiffer won gold in pairs, this time without coxswain, beating the favorite Soviet team by eight seconds.
He served in the Marines for another year before being hired by Pan American World Airways as a commercial pilot. But he was bored—flying a plane, he said, was like driving a bus—and he left after a year. He taught English in Menlo, where he also started and coached a rowing team; Soon after earning a master’s degree in communications from Stanford in 1960, he began working as an investment advisor at the first of several firms before joining Bateman Eichler.
He continued in the investing world for some time after debuting books on tape with four titles, including “Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback”, in George Plimpton’s 1966 attempt to play for the Detroit Lions. account of, and “Zelda”. Nancy Mitford’s 1970 biography of Zelda Fitzgerald.
Mr. Hecht was a fan of rowing, even playing books on tape and working in the investing world. He founded the rowing team at the University of California, Irvine, when the campus opened in 1965, and was its first coach; He left in the 1970s to coach the rowing team at the University of California, Los Angeles for six years, then returned to Irvine, where he coached the team from 1992 to 2001.
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