One of the great grandmasters of the craft of acting has passed away. American actor/director Hal Holbrook has left us at the age of 95. Hal Holbrook was a veteran of both screen and stage for more than 65 years, with roughly 135 credits to his name – but with an additional 106 credits on various TV shows and documentaries as himself, many of which focused on his iconic his portrayal of Mark Twain, for which he won both the Obie and the Tony. He originally relied on prosthetics to create the character of Samuel Clemens, but he played the the role for so many years that eventually he just began to look more and more like the character he was playing that in the last years he did it with just a few minutes of stage makeup.
Born Harold Rowe Holbrook, Jr. February 17, 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio, he won five Emmies over his lifetime. He died January 23, 2021 in Beverly Hills, California. His death was not confirmed to the public until February. He has already been buried beside his third wife, actress Dixie Carter, in McLemoresville, Tennessee.
In addition to starring in his one-man show, Mark Twain Tonight!, a role he played for a half-century, he voiced Ak, the Master Woodsman of the World in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus and played Father Malone in the 1980 thriller The Fog. He voiced Amphitryon, Herc’s human foster father, in Disney’s Hercules. He played Abraham Lincoln in the two North & South mini-series and in the 1974 mini-series Lincoln. He co-starred as J. R. Swackhammer in the failed TV pilot The Legend of the Golden Gun,
He was married three times, his first two marriages ending in divorce. He and his first wife, Ruby Elaine Johnston, had two children. He and his second wife, Carol Eve Rossen, had one daughter. He had two stepchildren by his third wife, Dixie Carter. He served honorably in the U. S. Army during WWII. President George W. Bush awarded him the National Humanities Medal in 2003.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.