Hal Holbrook

Hal Holbrook
Hal Holbrook Our Town 1977 (cropped).jpg
Holbrook in 1977
Harold Rowe Holbrook Jr.

(1925-02-17) February 17, 1925 (age 93)
ResidenceBeverly Hills, California, U.S.
EducationCulver Academies
Denison University
OccupationActor, director, writer
Years active1954–present
Ruby Elaine Johnston
(m. 1945; div. 1965)

Carol Eve Rossen
(m. 1966; div. 1979)

Dixie Carter
(m. 1984; died 2010)
AwardsNational Humanities Medal (2003)
See Awards and nominations
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branchSeal of the United States Department of War.png United States Army
Years of service1942–46
RankArmy-USA-OR-06.svg Staff sergeant
Battles/warsWorld War II

Harold Rowe Holbrook Jr. (born February 17, 1925) is an American actor, television director and writer. He first received critical acclaim in 1954 for a one-man stage show he developed, Mark Twain Tonight, while studying at Denison University, performing as Mark Twain.[1] He won Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play in 1966 for his portrayal of Twain.[2] Throughout his career, he won five Primetime Emmy Awards.[3]

Holbrook made his film debut in Sidney Lumet's The Group (1966). He later gained international fame for his performance as Deep Throat in the 1976 film All the President's Men. He played Abraham Lincoln in the 1976 miniseries Lincoln. He has also appeared in such films as Julia (1977), The Fog (1980), Creepshow (1982), Wall Street (1987), The Firm (1993), Hercules (1997), and Men of Honor (2000).[4][5]

Holbrook's role as Ron Franz in Sean Penn's Into the Wild (2007) earned him both Screen Actors Guild Award and Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor.[2] Until Robert Duvall was nominated for an Academy Award in 2015, Holbrook was the oldest actor to receive a Best Supporting Actor nomination.[6] In 2009, Holbrook received critical acclaim for his performance as recently retired farmer, Abner Meecham, in the independent film That Evening Sun.[7]

In his later career, Holbrook appeared as Francis Preston Blair in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln (2012), provided his voice as Mayday in the Disney animated film Planes: Fire & Rescue (2014) and as Whizzer in Blackway (2015).[8][9]

As a television actor, Holbrook is known for starring in and directing four episodes in Designing Women as Reese Watson, opposite his wife, Dixie Carter.[1] Later in his career, he has starred in minor roles in Sons of Anarchy, The Event, and Rectify.[5] He has guest-starred in many critically acclaimed television series such as NCIS, The West Wing, The Sopranos, ER, Bones, Grey's Anatomy, and Hawaii Five-0.[10]

In 2003, Holbrook was honored with the National Humanities Medal by President George W. Bush.[11]

Early life

Holbrook was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Aileen (née Davenport) Holbrook (1905–1987), a vaudeville dancer, and Harold Rowe Holbrook Sr. (1902–1982).[1]

After being abandoned by his parents at age two, along with his two older sisters, they were raised by his paternal grandparents, first in Weymouth, Massachusetts, and later in the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood.[12] He graduated from Culver Military Academy, now part of the Culver Academies, and then from Denison University, where an honors project about Mark Twain led him to develop the one-man show for which he is best known, a series of performances called Mark Twain Tonight.[13]

From 1942-46, Holbrook served in the United States Army in World War II under the ranks of staff sergeant and was stationed in Newfoundland.[14] While stationed in Newfoundland, he performed in theater productions such as the play Madam Precious.[12]

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