Hal Holbrook, Emmy & Tony-Award Winning Actor, Dies at 95

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

Hal Holbrook, an Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor who delighted audiences for decades, has passed away at the age of 95.

The news was confirmed Monday evening by Holbrook’s assistant, Joyce Cohen, to the New York Times. Holbrook died on Jan. 23 at his home in Beverly Hills.

Among the many esteemed performances Holbrook was known for throughout the years was his one-man show playing American author Mark Twain in Mark Twain Tonight!, which he began performing in 1954. Holbrook also directed the show, which raised enough acclaim to earn him the Best Actor Tony Award in 1966, eventually taking the show to Broadway.

In 1967, a television adaptation of Mark Twain Tonight! earned Holbrook his first Emmy nomination. He’d go on to win four.

Later in life, Holbrook earned additional acclaim and a Best Supporting Actor nomination in 2008 for his role in Into the Wild, Sean Penn’s 2007 film adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s 1996 non-fiction book telling the story of Christopher McCandless, who gave up his earthly possessions and hiked into the Alaskan wilderness in the early 1990s, ultimately meeting his demise on his journey.

Holbrook played a man who briefly befriended McCandless, played by Emile Hirsch.

Read the New York Times’ remembrance piece for more on Hal Holbrook’s career and legacy, including greater depth regarding his Twain role:

But for Mr. Holbrook, the Mark Twain guise he put on every night was a mask; behind it, he wrote in his memoir, was a lonesomeness that had plagued his early life, beginning when his parents abandoned him as a small child. As an adult he found his marriage, his fatherhood and even his stage life caught in an existential deadlock, with “survival and suicide impulses working in tandem.” His escape, he said, was punishing amounts of work, not to mention the company of friends like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.

May Holbrook rest in peace.


  • Gary E Hamm says:

    A salute to two of my favorite Americans-Hal Holbrook and Mark Twain.

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