Hal Holbrook was one of those actors who may have never been a household name, but he appeared so frequently in film and television that it's almost impossible for you to have not seen him perform in something over the years. He had over 130 credits on the big and small screen and that doesn't even count his numerous stage performances, where he did some of his most famous work. The world has lost another great actor as Hal Holbrook has passed away at the age of 95.
Hal Holbrook died at his home on January 23, but the news of the actor's death was only confirmed to the New York Times, this week. His most famous big screen role was likely that of the infamous Deep Throat, the man who gives the evidence against the Nixon Administration to Woodward and Bernstein, in the 1976 film All the President's Men. In 2008 Holbrook became the oldest man ever nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Into the Wild. He played Preston Blair in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln and won an Emmy award for playing Lincoln himself in a 1976 mini-series.
While Hal Holbrook had an extensive career on the screen, he was best known for his work on the stage. In 1959 he won the Tony Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Mark Twain in the one-man show Mark Twain Tonight. He would also be nominated for an Emmy Award for a television special of the same show. Holbrook was a young man when he started playing Twain, but he would be associated with the role for the rest of his life and would continue to perform the show for the next 60 years.
Holbrook's final screen roles were in 2017 when he did guest appearances on both Hawaii Five-O and Grey's Anatomy. Modern television viewers might also recognize him from a recurring role on Sons of Anarchy. He would win Emmy awards four times over his career and be nominated 10 times.
Winning a Tony Award in 1966 and being nominated for the Academy Award in 2008, with numerous awards in between, including being presented with the National Humanities Medal by President George W. Bush in 2003, it's hard not to be impressed by the career that Hal Holbrook carved out. He was never a movie star but hew was always an actor worth watching. For me, Hal Holbrook will always be Albie Duncan, his occasional role on The West Wing where he always made his mark.
At 95, it's pretty clear Hal Holbrook led a full life, which won't make it any easier for his family and friends, as well as his fans, to say goodbye. Still, he has decades of great work we'll be able to go back to and remember.
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