Hal Holbrook is an Emmy- and Tony-Award winning actor who is one of the great craftsman of stage and screen. He is best known for his performance as Mark Twain, for which he won a Tony and the first of his ten Emmy Award nominations. Aside from the stage, Holbrook made his reputation primarily on television, and was memorable as Abraham Lincoln, as Senator Hays Stowe on "The Bold Ones: The Senator" (1970) and as Capt. Lloyd Bucher on Pueblo (1973) (TV). All of these roles brought him Emmy Awards, with Pueblo (1973) (TV) bringing him two, as Best Lead Actor in a Drama and Actor of the Year - Special. On January 22, 2008, he became the oldest male performer ever nominated for a an Academy Award, for his supporting turn in Into the Wild (2007)
He was born Harold Rowe Holbrook, Jr. on February 17, 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio. His mother was the former Eileen Davenport, a vaudeville dancer. Raised primarily in South Weymouth, Mass., Holbrook attended the Culver Academies. During World War II, Holbrook served in the Army in Newfoundland. After the war, he attended Denison University, graduating in 1948. While at Denison, Holbrook's senior honors project concerned Mark Twain. He'd later develop "Mark Twain Tonight", the one-man show in which he impersonates the great American writer Mark Twain, a.k.a. Samuel Clemens.
Holbrook learned his craft on the boards and by appearing in the TV soap opera "The Brighter Day" (1954). He first played Mark Twain as a solo act in 1954, at Lock Haven State Teachers College in Pennsylvania. The show was a success that created a buzz. After seeing the performance, Ed Sullivan, the host of TV's premier variety show, featured him on "The Ed Sullivan Show" (1948) on February 12, 1956. This lead to an international tour sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, which included appearances in Iron Curtain countries. Holbrook brought the show to Off-Broadway in 1959. He even played Mark Twain for President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The 1966 "Mark Twain Tonight" Broadway production brought Holbrook even more acclaim, and the Tony Award. The show was taped and Holbrook won an Emmy nomination. He reprised the show on Broadway in 1977 and in 2005. By that time, he had played Samuel Clemens on stage over 2,000 times.
Among Holbrook's more famous roles was "The Major" in the original Broadway production of Arthur Miller's "Incident at Vichy", as Martin Sheen's significant other in the controversial and acclaimed TV movie That Certain Summer (1972) (TV), the first TV movie to sympathetically portray homosexuality, and as Abraham Lincoln in a TV special based on Carl Sandburg's acclaimed biography of the 16th President. He also is known for his portrayal of the enigmatic "Deep Throat" in All the President's Men (1976), one of the major cinema events of the mid-'70s. In the 1990s, he had a regular supporting role in the TV series "Evening Shade" (1990), playing 'Burt Reynolds''s father-in-law.
|Dixie Carter||(27 May 1984 - 10 April 2010) (her death)|
|Carol Eve Rossen||(28 December 1966 - 14 June 1983) (divorced) 1 child|
|Ruby Holbrook||(22 September 1945 - 1965) (divorced) 2 children|
One daughter, Eve, with Carol Eve Rossen.
In his guest appearance on "The West Wing" (1999), his character first describes the fate of the USS Pueblo, an intelligence gathering surface vessel, caught spying by North Korea in 1968, while referring to the fictional USS Portland. In 1973's Pueblo (1973) (TV), Holbrook portrayed the lead character.
He was just 29 when he began touring his one-man show of the elderly Mark Twain, even performing for President Dwight D. Eisenhower at one point. In June 2005, he returned his "Mark Twain Tonight" to Broadway for a sold out, month-long run, receiving rave reviews from The New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
He is a 1948 graduate of Denison University (Granville, Ohio)
Fans consider his 1968 live stage performance of "I Never Sang for My Father" one of his best, seldom mentioned acts. Before the motion picture of the same name was released two years later, starring Gene Hackman.
In 2008, at age 82, he became the oldest male actor to be nominated for an Academy Award. His nomination displaced Ralph Richardson, who previously held that distinction.
Won the 1966 Tony Award (New York City) for Actor in a Drama for "Mark Twain Tonight".
Served in the Army during WWII, and acted in some plays where he was stationed.
His publicist is Steve Rohr.
He studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village in New York City.
The only actor (so far) to win an Emmy Award for having played Abraham Lincoln.
On stage your job as actor is to present and show the story by your behavior, body language, and vocal work. In film, you musn't. You just have to be. You are...and it's mostly intuitive. The amount of characterization you do is very minimal. In fact, you try not to act at all. It's actually better that way, and it's taken me years to learn that.
Most everybody today that's young is operating under the insane idea that what we've got going on is the best that there is. But it's not. Current entertainment is cheap, shoddy, infantile, adolescent, not grown-up. We're fed imagery that's really pornographic, by people with an infantile idea of sexuality. It's a sad and depressing thing.
Mark Twain is something precious to me. It's my side arm through life.
|The Creeper (1977)||$100,000|
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