He was 76.
Holt, who also played Elizabeth Taylor's older brother in "Courage of Lassie" and later had a career as a jazz musician and songwriter, died Saturday of congestive heart failure at his home in San Juan Capistrano, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
Born in Jacksonville, Fla., on Aug. 14, 1927, Holt was a 5-year-old dance school student in 1933 when an audition was arranged for him with humorist Will Rogers.
Afterward, Rogers told Holt and his mother that if they were ever in Hollywood to look him up and he would get the boy into pictures.
After that promise, Holt's father quit his job with the Ford Motor Co. and the family drove west. But when they arrived in Hollywood, Rogers refused to see them.
The 6-year-old David and his mother made the rounds of casting calls in the same car with the mothers of two other fledgling young performers: Shirley Temple and Jane Withers.
Various roles followed, including in 1938 his most famous, Sidney Sawyer in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer".