Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Hal Holbrook, Emmy and Tony Winner, Dies at 95

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Award winning actor Hal Holbrook has died at the age of 95, The New York Times reported on Monday night. Holbrook, an Emmy and Tony winner, was best known for portraying Mark Twain in various one-man shows, most notably Mark Twain Tonight!.

Holbrook’s death was confirmed to The New York Times by his personal assistant, Joyce Cohen, on Monday evening. According to Cohen, the film, television, and stage star died on January 23 at his home in Beverly Hills, California.

Holbrook first made a name for himself in a solo show titled Mark Twain Tonight!, in which he played the acclaimed American novelist. The actor began developing the one-man show in 1952 and took the show on the road two years later performing at colleges and late night venues across the country. In 1959, Holbrook brought Mark Twain Tonight! to the Off Broadway 41st Street Theater, at which point it became a massive phenomenon. Over the next five decades, Holbrook went on to win countless awards for his performance as Mark Twain, including a Tony Award for Best Actor in 1966 and an Emmy Award for his TV adaptation of the show in 1967.

When he wasn’t starring in Mark Twain Tonight!, Holbrook appeared in various high profile film and television projects. In 1970, he won his first Emmy for his lead performance in The Bold Ones: The Senator, and six years later, he repeated the award-winning feat with a role as Abraham Lincoln in NBC miniseries Lincoln. The following decade, Holbrook recurred on beloved sitcom Designing Women, in which he played the boyfriend of his real-life wife, Dixie Carter. In later years, Holbrook appeared in countless dramas, including The Star Chamber, George Washington, The West Wing, and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.

In 2008, when he was 82, Holbrook made history as the oldest performer to receive an Oscar nomination for his role in Into the Wild (Christopher Plummer later bested the record when he was nominated for 2017 drama All the Money in the World at the age of 88).

Holbrook continued to act into his late 80s and early 90s with roles in Sons of Anarchy, Savannah, Grey’s Anatomy, and Bones. His final performance came in an episode of Hawaii Five-0, although he was rumored to be featured in the upcoming film The Secrets We Share.

Rest in Peace, Hal Holbrook. You will be missed.

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