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Hal Holbrook

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Also Known As: Harold Rowe Holbrook Jr. Died:
Born: February 17, 1925 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Cleveland, Ohio, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A versatile leading man and supporting player whose folksy, avuncular nature often disguised his true acting firepower, Hal Holbrook was best known to audiences for his portrayal of American humorist Mark Twain in his Tony Award-winning one-man show "Mark Twain Tonight!" which he performed some 2,000 times between 1959 and 2005. Stage provided Holbrook his best showcases, but he was frequently praised for his television work, most notably in "Pueblo" (ABC, 1973), "That Certain Summer" (ABC, 1973), and the title role in the miniseries "Lincoln" (NBC, 1976). Among the more memorable of his dozens of film credits were such roles as the notorious informant known as "Deep Throat" in "All the President's Men" (1976), a guilt-stricken priest in John Carpenter's grisly ghost story "The Fog" (1980), and as the senior partner of a sinister law office with deadly ties to the mob in "The Firm" (1993). The veteran actor received an Oscar nomination for his moving performance in Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" (2008) and scores of accolades for his affecting turn as a proud man nearing the end of a hard life in "That Evening Shade" (2009). One-half of one of Hollywood's happiest marriages, Holbrook's more than quarter...

A versatile leading man and supporting player whose folksy, avuncular nature often disguised his true acting firepower, Hal Holbrook was best known to audiences for his portrayal of American humorist Mark Twain in his Tony Award-winning one-man show "Mark Twain Tonight!" which he performed some 2,000 times between 1959 and 2005. Stage provided Holbrook his best showcases, but he was frequently praised for his television work, most notably in "Pueblo" (ABC, 1973), "That Certain Summer" (ABC, 1973), and the title role in the miniseries "Lincoln" (NBC, 1976). Among the more memorable of his dozens of film credits were such roles as the notorious informant known as "Deep Throat" in "All the President's Men" (1976), a guilt-stricken priest in John Carpenter's grisly ghost story "The Fog" (1980), and as the senior partner of a sinister law office with deadly ties to the mob in "The Firm" (1993). The veteran actor received an Oscar nomination for his moving performance in Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" (2008) and scores of accolades for his affecting turn as a proud man nearing the end of a hard life in "That Evening Shade" (2009). One-half of one of Hollywood's happiest marriages, Holbrook's more than quarter century relationship with actress Dixie Carter endured until her passing in 2010. Continuing to perform well into his eighth decade, Holbrook was the very definition of the working actor who loved to work - much to the enjoyment of appreciative audiences everywhere.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

3.
 Lincoln (2012)
4.
 Promised Land (2012)
5.
6.
7.
 Flying Lessons (2010)
8.
 That Evening Sun (2009)
10.
 Killshot (2009)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised by grandparents in South Weymouth, MA
:
Attended high school at a military academy
1942:
Made stage debut in "The Man Who Came to Dinner" at the Cain Park Theatre, Cleveland, OH
1943:
Served as a private in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
1946:
Made radio debut on the "Army Engineer Show" for ABC
:
Toured in summer stock
:
Stage directing debut, "The Winslow Boy" at Denison University
1953:
TV acting debut, "Hollywood Screen Test"
1954:
Acted on the daytime serial TV drama "The Brighter Day" (CBS)
:
Assembled the one-man show "Mark Twain Tonight!"
:
Moved to New York in late 1950s
1959:
Made off-Broadway debut in title role of "Mark Twain Tonight!"
1961:
Broadway debut, "Do You Know the Milky Way?"
1966:
Opened his one-man show "Mark Twain Tonight!" on Broadway
1966:
Made film debut in "The Group"
1966:
Returned to television to play the role of Tom in "CBS Playhouse" adaptation of Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie"
1970:
Played the title role of Hays Stowe on NBC drama series "The Bold Ones: Senator"
1974:
Hosted "Theater in America" the PBS drama series featuring performances of theatrical plays
1974:
Played Abraham Lincoln in multi-seasonal miniseries "Sandburg's Lincoln" (NBC)
1985:
Again played Lincoln in the ABC miniseries "North and South" (1985) and "North and South, Book II" (1986)
1986:
Landed recurring role on CBS sitcom "Designing Women," playing the boyfriend of Julia Sugarbaker (Holbrook's wife Dixie Carter); also directed several episodes
1990:
Played Evan Evans on popular CBS sitcom "Evening Shade"
1997:
Played the sheriff in the independent drama "Eye of God"
1999:
Cast as a U.S. Senator in "The Judas Kiss"; aired on Cinemax in lieu of a theatrical release
2000:
Offered effective supporting role as the mentor of an ambitious young political candidate in "Waking the Dead"
2001:
Portrayed Harold Ickes in the CBS miniseries "Haven"
2001:
Starred opposite Rick Stear in David Mamet's stage play "A Life in the Theatre" at the Pasadena Playhouse
2004:
Cast in the action thriller "Shade" with Stuart Townsend and Gabriel Byrne
2007:
Cast in Sean Penn's adaptation of the non-fiction book "Into the Wild," starring Emile Hirsch; earned SAG and Oscar nominations for Outstanding Male Actor in a Supporting Role
2008:
Starred opposite his wife Dixie Carter in "That Evening Sun"
2010:
Landed recurring role as Katey Sagal's character's father on FX's "Sons of Anarchy"
2010:
Appeared in multi-episode arc on NBC drama "The Event"
2011:
Portrayed an Older Jacob Jankowski in the film adaptation of Sara Gruen's novel "Water for Elephants"
2012:
Cast opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln"
2012:
Played a schoolteacher going against oil barons in "Promised Land," directed by Gus Van Sant
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Suffield Academy: Suffield , Connecticut - 1933 - 1937
Culver Military Academy: Culver , Indiana - 1938 - 1942
Denison University: Granville , Ohio - 1948
HB Studio: New York , New York - 1953

Notes

He received the Torch of Liberty Award from the Anti-Defamation League of B'Nail B'rith for his role in the TV-movie, "That Certain Summer" in 1972.

Holbrook was the 1998 recipient of the William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre (the "Will Award") presented by The Shakespeare Theatre of Washington, DC

Inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2000

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Ruby Elaine Johnston. Actor. Married on September 22, 1945; divorced; toured principal U.S. cities with Holbrook in scenes from classic plays (1948-53).
wife:
Carol Rossen. Actor. Married on December 28, 1966; divorced; daughter of director Robert Rossen; played opposite Holbrook on the drama "The Cliff Dwellers" (1966) and on the medical series pilot "Oath: 33 Hours in the Life of God" (1976).
wife:
Dixie Carter. Actor, singer. Married on May 27, 1984; starred in CBS-TV sitcom "Designing Women", on which Holbrook played a recurring role; also acted together on the TV-movie, "The Killing of Randy Webster" (1981).

Family close complete family listing

father:
Harold Rowe Holbrook Sr.
mother:
Aileen Holbrook. Vaudeville dancer.
daughter:
Victoria Holbrook. Mother, Ruby Johnston.
son:
David Holbrook. Former actor. Mother, Ruby Johnston; made film debut opposite father in the schlock horror film, "Girls Night Out" (1982).
daughter:
Eve Holbrook. Actor. Mother, Carol Rossen.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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