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Creator / Hal Holbrook

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Harold Rowe "Hal" Holbrook Jr. (February 17, 1925 – January 23, 2021) was an American actor best known for his one-man show about Mark Twain, Mark Twain Tonight. He first performed it in 1954 and continued to do so until 2017 when he retired from the role after 2100 performances. Other roles of note include the mysterious Deep Throat in All the President's Men, Abraham Lincoln in North and South (U.S.) and Lou Mannheim in Wall Street. He received an Oscar nomination for his performance in Into the Wild.

Selected Filmography:

Hal Holbrook and his works provide examples of:

  • Author Appeal: His love of Twain is boundless. He stated in the Ken Burns documentary about the author that anytime he was feeling down, he'd open up one of Twain's books to any random page, start reading and immediately feel better.
  • Dawson Casting: Although Holbrook started playing Twain when he was in his late 20s, he was 92 when he retired from the role. Twain died at the age of 74.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Holbrook once told the story of the time a friend of his got lost on the way to visit Mark Twain's grave and asked a man for directions. The man pointed them in the right direction and then said, "You know that actor who played Twain, Hal Holbrook? I think he's buried someplace close by."