Hal Holbrook, the seasoned actor who has played Mark Twain for decades among dozens of other film, TV and stage roles, has sadly passed away. Although the report of his death just made it to the media, Holbrook’s personal assistant Joyce Cohen revealed Monday that the actor died at his Beverly Hills, California home, on Jan. 23. No exact cause of death was stated. . Holbrook has turned 95 years old.
Hal Holbrook is perhaps best known for portraying Mark Twain over the course of six decades. He first began portraying Mark in a school group show in the late 1940s. He later turned the act into the one-man show, Mark Twain tonight!, in the 1950s. His take on Twain became mainstream when he appeared The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956 and in 1967 he brought back Mark Twain tonight! for a special on CBS. After winning a Tony award for the stage version, the CBS performance earned Holbrook his first Emmy nomination.
“Mark Twain gets me out of bed in the morning, “said Holbrook of the role in a 2014 interview with the Los Angeles Times.” He literally kindles me. I don’t have to light myself, all I have to do is lie there and think about what’s going on in my country and the world and review some of the Twain that I’m going to do. “
Oddly enough, Holbrook ended up portraying Twain longer than author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who began using the name as a pseudonym in 1863. Holbrook also became an author himself when he released his memoirs, Harold: The Boy Who Became Mark Twain, in 2011. Holbrook’s long run to bring Twain to life came to an end when he ended the one-man show in September 2017. He had played the character for six decades.
After making himself famous by playing Mark Twain, Holbrook would appear in many, many other memorable roles. He is also known for playing Deep Throat in All the president’s men along with playing Abraham Lincoln in the two separate miniseries Lincoln and North and South. He has also appeared in other movies, such as The fog, Scary show, The majestic, and The firm. In more recent years, he had roles on hit TV shows such as Sons of lawlessness, Bones, Grey’s Anatomy, and Hawaii Five-0.
Holbrook is a five-time Primetime Emmy Award winner who has won for his roles in The Bold Ones: The Senator, Pueblo, Sandburg’s Lincoln, and Portrait of America along with an Actor of the Year award in 1974. He was honored in 2003 by George W. Bush with the National Humanities Medal. At the age of 82, Holbrook also became one of the oldest actors to be considered for an Oscar when he was nominated for his role as Ron Franz in the 2007 film In the wilderness.
Holbrook survivors include his children, Victoria, David and Eve. Our condolences go out to them along with the rest of the family and friends at this time. Rest in peace, Hal Holbrook. This news comes from The Hollywood Reporter.