Hal Holbrook

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In this three-hour interview, Hal Holbrook talks about his early life, and deciding to become an actor while in college. He chronicles the creation of his classic one-man show “Mark Twain Tonight!” up until and beyond performing it on CBS in 1967 for producer David Susskind. He recalls appearing on the daytime drama The Brighter Day and portraying “Hays Stowe” on the legal drama The Bold Ones. Holbrook discusses playing Abraham Lincoln on stage many times, and twice for television in Sandburg’s Lincoln and North and South. He details working for producer Linda Bloodworth Thomason on the comedy series Evening Shade, and on Designing Women, which co-starred his wife Dixie Carter. He recalls guest-appearances on Sons of Anarchy and Grey’s Anatomy, and well as some of his work in feature films, including “All the President’s Men” and “Into the Wild.” Amy Harrington conducted the interview on July 11, 2017 in Beverly Hills, CA.

“I’d never been in front of an audience in my life. And when I started to talk, I got a feeling I had never experienced before. I realized that people were listening to me. It tapped something inside of me. I walked off stage and there was an elderly lady who’d been in Vaudeville and theater for years. She took a look at me and she said quietly, ‘You’re hooked, sonny.’”

Highlights
Hal Holbrook on the creation of his one man show "Mark Twain Tonight!"
17:33
Hal Holbrook on meeting Ed Sullivan and appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show as "Mark Twain"
08:12
Hal Holbrook on positive public reaction of his playing a homosexual along with Martin Sheen in That Certain Summer
03:31
Hal Holbrook on playing "Reese Watson" on Designing Women, with his wife Dixie Carter
03:34
Hal Holbrook on being known as a character actor
03:13
Hal Holbrook on how he would like to be remembered
08:45
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences
12:29
On attending Denison University, where he really became an actor and met his mentor; on going into the Army during World War II
25:08
On meeting his first wife, Ruby Johnston, and on traveling the country with a two-person show; on the creation of his one man show "Mark Twain Tonight!"
19:13
On performing Mark Twain Tonight! on CBS in 1967 for producer David Susskind; on how Mark Twain Tonight! changed from stage to television, and on how current events changed the show over time
12:36

Chapter 2

On being cast as "Grayling Dennis" on the daytime drama The Brighter Day; on meeting Ed Sullivan and appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show as "Mark Twain"; on his appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show leading to "Mark Twain Tonight!" being performed off-Broadway
20:51
On playing "Hays Stowe" on The Bold Ones; on the presidency of Donald J. Trump
10:49
On appearing in the groundbreaking made-for-television movie That Certain Summer playing Martin Sheen's partner; on positive public reaction to his playing a homosexual along with Martin Sheen in That Certain Summer; on television and democracy
16:52
On rehearsing; on fame and celebrity, and on being part of an acting company; on being known as a character actor
09:00
On playing "Abraham Lincoln" in various projects, including North and South and Sandburg's Lincoln; on the consistency of his performances as "Abraham Lincoln"; on working with Beulah Bondi in Sandburg's Lincoln
16:36

Chapter 3

On playing "Reese Watson" on Designing Women, with his wife Dixie Carter; on directing some episodes of Designing Women, and on working with Linda Bloodworth Thomason; on working with the cast of the show
11:41
On playing "Evan Evans" on Evening Shade, starring Burt Reynolds; on guest-starring on Sons of Anarchy, and on working with Katey Sagal on the show
09:53
On guest-starring on Grey's Anatomy; on appearing in the feature films "Into the Wild" and "All the President's Men"
07:20
On his father
13:39
On advice to an aspiring actor; on how he would like to be remembered
14:08
Shows

Bold Ones, The

View Show Page
Hal Holbrook on playing "Hays Stowe" on The Bold Ones
07:37

Brighter Day, The

View Show Page
Hal Holbrook on being cast as "Grayling Dennis" on the daytime drama The Brighter Day
08:13

Designing Women

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Hal Holbrook on playing "Reese Watson" on Designing Women, with his wife Dixie Carter
03:34
Hal Holbrook on directing some episodes of Designing Women, and on working with Linda Bloodworth Thomason
02:43
Hal Holbrook on working with Jean Smart, Delta Burke, and Dixie Carter on Designing Women
03:58
Hal Holbrook on having to be convinced to take a role on Designing Women
01:25

Ed Sullivan Show, The aka Toast of the Town

View Show Page
Hal Holbrook on meeting Ed Sullivan and appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show as "Mark Twain"
08:12
Hal Holbrook on his appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show leading to "Mark Twain Tonight!" being performed off-Broadway
04:19

Evening Shade

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Hal Holbrook on playing "Evan Evans" on Evening Shade, starring Burt Reynolds
06:32

Grey's Anatomy

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Hal Holbrook on guest-starring on Grey's Anatomy
01:47

Mark Twain Tonight!

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Hal Holbrook on his one-man show Mark Twain Tonight, and how he came to perform it on CBS in 1967 for producer David Susskind
06:05
Hal Holbrook on how Mark Twain Tonight! changed from stage to television, and on how current events changed the show over time
06:28

North and South

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Hal Holbrook on playing "Abraham Lincoln" in various projects, including North and South and Sandburg's Lincoln
07:33
Hal Holbrook on the consistency of his performance as "Abraham Lincoln" in various projects, including North and South and on Sandburg's Lincoln
03:49
Hal Holbrook on what he enjoyed about playing "Abraham Lincoln" in various projects, including North and South, and on working with Beulah Bondi in Sandburg's Lincoln
04:53

Sandburg's Lincoln

View Show Page
Hal Holbrook on playing "Abraham Lincoln" in various projects, including North and South and Sandburg's Lincoln
07:33
Hal Holbrook on the consistency of his performance as "Abraham Lincoln" in various projects, including North and South and on Sandburg's Lincoln
03:49
Hal Holbrook on what he enjoyed about playing "Abraham Lincoln" in various projects, including North and South, and on working with Beulah Bondi in Sandburg's Lincoln
04:53

Sons of Anarchy

View Show Page
Hal Holbrook on guest-starring on Sons of Anarchy, and on working with Katey Sagal on the show
03:05

That Certain Summer

View Show Page
Hal Holbrook on appearing in the groundbreaking made-for-television movie That Certain Summer playing Martin Sheen's partner
07:08
Hal Holbrook on positive public reaction to his playing a homosexual along with Martin Sheen in That Certain Summer
03:31
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Hal Holbrook on advice to an aspiring actor
04:59

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Hal Holbrook on attending Denison University, where he really became an actor and met his mentor
03:32

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Hal Holbrook on appearing in the groundbreaking made-for-television movie That Certain Summer
10:39

Donald J. Trump

View Topic
Hal Holbrook on the presidency of Donald J. Trump
03:11

Emmy Awards

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Hal Holbrook on performing Mark Twain Tonight! on CBS in 1967 and being nominated for an Emmy Award for his performance
02:22

Fame and Celebrity

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Hal Holbrook on fame and celebrity, and on being part of an acting company
02:33

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Hal Holbrook on going into the Army during World War II
09:39
Hal Holbrook on appearing in the groundbreaking made-for-television movie That Certain Summer
10:39

LGBTQ

View Topic
Hal Holbrook on appearing in the groundbreaking made-for-television movie That Certain Summer
10:39

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Hal Holbrook on attending Denison University, where he really became an actor and met his mentor
03:32
Hal Holbrook on the creation of his one-man show "Mark Twain Tonight!"
17:33

Pop Culture

View Topic
Hal Holbrook on fame and celebrity, and on being part of an acting company
02:33

Television Industry

View Topic
Hal Holbrook on advice to an aspiring actor
04:59

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Hal Holbrook on the presidency of Donald J. Trump
03:11

War

View Topic
Hal Holbrook on going into the Army during World War II
09:39

World War II

View Topic
Hal Holbrook on going into the Army during World War II
09:39
Professions

Actor

View Profession
Hal Holbrook on what he likes about acting
02:38
Hal Holbrook on rehearsing
03:13
Hal Holbrook on fame and celebrity, and on being part of an acting company
02:33
Hal Holbrook on being known as a character actor
03:13
Hal Holbrook on advice to an aspiring actor
05:23

Performers

View Profession
Hal Holbrook on what he likes about acting
02:38
Hal Holbrook on rehearsing
03:13
Hal Holbrook on fame and celebrity, and on being part of an acting company
02:33
Hal Holbrook on being known as a character actor
03:13
Hal Holbrook on advice to an aspiring actor
05:23
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Hal Holbrook on playing "Reese Watson" on Designing Women, with his wife Dixie Carter
11:43
Hal Holbrook on playing "Evan Evans" on Evening Shade, starring Burt Reynolds
06:54

Daytime/Primetime Serials

View Genre
Hal Holbrook on being cast as "Grayling Dennis" on the daytime drama The Brighter Day
08:13

Drama Series

View Genre
Hal Holbrook on guest-starring on Sons of Anarchy
03:21

Legal Dramas

View Genre
Hal Holbrook on playing "Hays Stowe" on The Bold Ones
07:37

Medical Dramas

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Hal Holbrook on guest-starring on Grey's Anatomy
01:47

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Hal Holbrook on his one-man show Mark Twain Tonight, which he performed on CBS in 1967, produced by David Susskind
12:36
Hal Holbrook on meeting Ed Sullivan and appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show as "Mark Twain"
12:38

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Hal Holbrook on appearing in the groundbreaking made-for-television movie That Certain Summer
10:39
Hal Holbrook on playing "Abraham Lincoln" in various projects, including North and South and Sandburg's Lincoln
16:36
People

Delta Burke

View Person Page
Hal Holbrook on working with Delta Burke on Designing Women
02:33

Dixie Carter

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Hal Holbrook on playing "Reese Watson" on Designing Women, with his wife Dixie Carter
03:34
Hal Holbrook on working with Dixie Carter on Designing Women
01:00

Robert Redford

View Person Page
Hal Holbrook on appearing in "All the President's Men" and how Robert Redford convinced him to take the part in the film
01:41
Hal Holbrook on his friendship with Robert Redford
03:16

Burt Reynolds

View Person Page
Hal Holbrook on playing "Evan Evans" on Evening Shade, starring Burt Reynolds
06:32

Katey Sagal

View Person Page
Hal Holbrook on guest-starring on Sons of Anarchy, and on working with Katey Sagal on the show
03:05

Martin Sheen

View Person Page
Hal Holbrook on appearing in the groundbreaking made-for-television movie That Certain Summer playing Martin Sheen's partner
06:09

Jean Smart

View Person Page
Hal Holbrook on working with Jean Smart on Designing Women
00:25

David Susskind

View Person Page
Hal Holbrook and performing Mark Twain Tonight! on CBS in 1967 for producer David Susskind
06:05

Linda Bloodworth Thomason

View Person Page
Hal Holbrook on directing some episodes of Designing Women, and on working with Linda Bloodworth Thomason
02:43

Donald J. Trump

View Person Page
Hal Holbrook on the presidency of Donald J. Trump
03:11

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