Featuring: Hal Holbrook
Convincing Mark Twain, Phenomenal Actor, Thoughtful Author
Hal Holbrook has inspired many people to look into living history. Some people would claim that Hal was a second Mark Twain. For me, I have known many storytellers who are fantastic at portraying Mark Twain. I would be curious as to how many years these people have been Mark Twain and compare to Hal Holbrook. It would not be a contest, only to see if those same people could connect their love of Mark Twain to Hal Holbrook. When listening to Hal become Mark, I was transported…as is usual for anyone who is wonderful at storytelling.
Perhaps Hal was seen more in the world due to all the awards he won. Perhaps. But is that really what makes a person. I wondered what Hal would have said was his favorite Mark Twain quote. What got him on that path? There are hints here and there in the life he lived. He developed that one-man show of “Mark Twain Tonight!” back in 1954. Only 12 years later, he won a Tony for his one-man show. Even at the age of 91, he toured this show. Wow! Who can claim more than 60 years of performing a show? Let alone 50 years or 40 years? Hal passed away at age 95…and I am sure he was still quoting Mark Twain to the end.
He was nominated for an Academy Award (“Into the Wild”), he won four Emmy Awards, and he was seen in many notable films. In between it all, he wrote books. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio and died in Beverly Hills, California. He was buried in McLemoresville, Tennessee next to his wife, Dixie. Those are short lines that reveal that much happened within those three places.
What I love is that Hal grew the living history world of storytelling. He made it amazing and inspiring so that others would want to take on the mantel of Mark Twain or any other number of historical figures. People did not have to win a Tony or Academy Award or an Emmy. They could simply…be.
Let us remember Hal’s stories and the influence he still has across the storytelling, acting, and writing worlds.
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You can see more details on Hal Holbrook with the Story Artists Memorial.
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I appreciate Hal Holbrook for his dedication to the craft and showing people that what you love can be something that the world celebrates.
Alice still has a story. You have a story. We all have stories.