Hal Holbrook, Legendary Oscar-Nominated Actor, Dead at 95

by Emily Morgan

The Tony and multiple Emmy winner Hal Holbrook has died at the age of 95. According to his assistant Joyce Cohen, Holbrook died on Jan. 23 in his Beverly Hills home. 

Holbrook portrayed the Watergate informant Deep Throat in 1976’s All the President’s Men alongside Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford.

At 82, The Academy nominated Holbrook for an Oscar for his performance in Sean Penn’s Into the Wild. But he was perhaps best-known for his captivating portrayal of the iconic American literary figure: Mark Twain. 

Hal Holbrook Remembered For Iconic T.V. & Film Career

The actor first played the legendary author in 1954 during a one-person show he developed while studying at Denison University in Ohio. 

Holbrook continued to play the Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer writer throughout his career. In 1966, Holbrook won a Tony Award for Broadway’s “Mark Twain Tonight!” and four Emmys for his work on television.

In addition, he also appeared in movies such as Oliver Stone’s Wall StreetMagnum Force with Clint Eastwood, and The Firm opposite Tom Cruise.

He also appeared in a variety of acclaimed TV shows, including “The West Wing,” “The Sopranos,” and “ER.”

In 1972, Holbrook changed film history forever when he played a divorced father visited by his teenage son, who is repulsed to find out his father is gay in The Certain Summer. 

His “West Wing” co-star Martin Sheen played his lover in the film. 

He played the 16th president in Carl Sandburg’s “Lincoln,” a 1974 mini-series. 

He also performed breakthrough roles in “The Bold Ones: The Senator” (1970) and “Pueblo” (1973), in which he played the commander of a Navy intelligence boat seized by North Korea in 1968.

Holbrook was also a regular on the 1980s television series “Designing Women.” He played Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman,” Shakespeare’s Hotspur and King Lear, and the Stage Manager in Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town.”

Holbrook’s wife, Dixie Carter, preceded him in death in 2012. 

He is survived by three children, two stepdaughters, two grandchildren, and step-grandchildren.