- "After all your posturing, all your speeches, you're nothing more than a common thief."
- ―Holly Gennero McClane to Hans Gruber [src]
Holly Gennero, formerly Holly McClane, is the ex-wife of John McClane. Over the course of the series, their relationship becomes more and more strained and by the fourth film, they are divorced. She is tritagonist of the first and second films.
Holly was an employee at Nakatomi Corporation and eventually went up the ranks as a businesswoman up until Christmas Eve 1988. She was held hostage when Hans Gruber took over the plaza and seized it to steal $640 million in negotiable bearer bank bonds. She was taken by Gruber personally when her identity was fully revealed, but was rescued by her husband in the end.
Holly has curly brown hair and brown eyes.
Holly Gennero began her career as a real estate agent for the Nakatomi Corporation, where she had a flourishing career, rising through the ranks. Her and John McClane were married in New York where John was a police officer. They had two children together, Lucy and John Jr. When Holly received a promotion from the Nakatomi Plaza, she moved out to California in July 1988. Thinking he would join her, she left John in New York under a strained relationship. At her new job she went by her maiden name Gennero. She invited John to visit during Christmas. On Christmas Eve 1988 Holly celebrated closing the largest deal in Nakatomi's history.
Behind the Scenes
- Holly's last name is initially portrayed on the Nakatomi Corporation's computer as Holly Gennaro.
- "He's still alive...only John could drive somebody that crazy."
- ―Holly after witnessing Karl's rage [src]
At her company Christmas party, Holly had to put up with Harry Ellis's flirting. She wrapped up some work and sent her secretary Ginny away from her desk and to the party. She received a call from Lucy McClane who was asking if her father arrived and is coming home with her. Holly assured her daughter she'll see what "mommy and Santa can do". After hanging up the phone, she angrily pulls down the family photo of her husband and the kids. When John arrived, she was happy to see him but the two began fighting about her changing her last name and moving to California. She rejoined the party and was taken hostage by the Nakatomi vault heist team. Once her boss Joe Takagi was murdered by Hans Gruber, she stepped into the position of making sure the hostages were taken care of. She sees an enraged Karl tossing the office desk down causing Hans to pushes him into the wall when he learned Tony is being killed by John. She hid the fact that she was married to the man wreaking destruction on Hans' team until Richard Thornburg's news team ruined her cover. She was taken to the vault by Hans as extra insurance. When John arrived, Hans held a gun to Holly's head, but John managed to get Hans to aim the gun at him. John pulled a hidden pistol off his back and shot Hans, who fell out of the window. Hans managed to hold on Holly's new Rolex Watch as he dangled out of the window. He aimed his gun at Holly, but John was able to unclasp the watch and he fell to his death. Holly followed John outside where the two met Sergeant Al Powell who had acted as John's partner in the crisis and Holly introduced herself as Holly McClane rather than Gennero, signifying her reconciling her marriage with John. After Karl is killed by Powell, she punches Thornburg in the mouth for interviewing her kids and revealing her identity to Hans. She and John then head home in Argyle's limo.
- "John, why does this keep happening to us?"
- ―Holly Gennero [src]
Holly was flying on Northeast 140 from Los Angeles to Washington DC to meet up with her family. While her husband John is waiting for her to land at Washington Dulles International Airport, terrorists take over the air traffic control system. He must stop the terrorists before his wife's plane and several other incoming flights that are circling the airport run out of fuel and crash. During the night, McClane must also contend with airport police, maintenance workers, and a military commander who does not want his assistance. Reporter Richard Thornburg, who exposed McClane's identity to Hans Gruber in the first movie, is assigned the seat next to Holly (it is learned that Thornburg has a restraining order on Holly for assaulting him).
Later, after learning about the situation through a radio transmission from Leslie Barnes, Thornburg barricades himself in the airplane lavatory and phones in a sensational take on what is happening at Dulles, leading to panic in the airport and preventing the police officers from reaching the plane. After learning of this, Holly subdues Thornburg with a taser.
In the end, John blows up the terrorists' plane, and Holly's plane, which is forced to make an emergency landing, is able to use the fire trail as landing lights and Holly is reunited with her husband.
In the second film, Holly is still working for the Nakatomi Corporation as evidenced by the folder she is carrying on her flight to Washington, D.C. John has transferred to the LAPD as is referenced by an encounter with the airport police captain. Over the course of presumably 12 months the couple have reunited and live together in LA.
She did not appear in the film, but she is mentioned in conversation when McClane explains that he and Holly had a fight over the phone and haven't spoken since. Reference is made that this fight took place 12 months prior. As John is now a NYPD officer it would indicate that John is in the habit of regularly moving coast to coast when he wants to change jobs.
After nearly dying, McClane makes an attempt to call her. Despite not appearing, her voice is heard briefly on the phone when McClane calls her after escaping from Simon Gruber but leaves her on hold after finding a clue to Simon's location. After McClane kills Simon, he decides to call her again, but is worried about how angry she'll be as he left her on hold.
In the alternate ending for Die Hard with a Vengeance, McClane mentions that after he's done with Simon he's going to spend Christmas with his children. This implies that McClane either got back together with Holly or the couple came to an agreement where McClane still gets to visit Lucy and John Jr.
It is stated that she and John are divorced. In a brief shot of her driver's license and the couple's divorce certificate, we can see her last name spelt correctly (Gennero), and that she lives in San Francisco, California at "9975 Geyser Way East" (a non-existent location). It's shown on the certificate that John and Holly divorced in 1997, 2 years after the events of the third film. The only connection between John and Holly is their daughter Lucy, who, just like her mother in Die Hard, switches from using "Gennero" to "McClane" as her last name after witnessing her father's heroic actions to save her.
On the marriage certificate, we can see that her birth year is incorrectly listed as 1967.
Click here for quotes by Holly Gennero.
- In the first film, Holly's maiden name (Gennero) is spelled wrong in several instances. The first being when McClane uses the touch screen computer in the lobby of the Nakatomi building to find Holly. Instead of Holly's maiden name being spelled properly as 'Gennero', its spelled 'Gennaro', only for it to change to the proper spelling as soon as McClane touches the screen. Her maiden name is also misspelled in the credits, again, as 'Gennaro'. San Gennaro is the patron saint of Naples, and twice a year, it is said that a preserved vial of his dried blood miraculously liquifies. His 11 day festival has also become a major event for the New York Italian American community. So the ephemeral mispelling could be the film maker's obscure foreshadowing of the fact that blood is about to run.