Hal Holbrook, best known for portraying Mark Twain on stage and screen for over six decades, is dead at 95. The prolific actor passed away on January 23 in Beverly Hills, California.

The Cleveland-born Holbrook began portraying the Southern author in the one-man show Mark Twain Tonight! in 1954, while he was studying at Lock Haven State Teachers College. The show traveled around the country, and eventually around the world. In 1967, Mark Twain Tonight! was broadcasted on CBS. He received an Emmy for his performance, which captured Twain's signature drawl and acerbic wit.

Interestingly enough, Holbrook was only 29 when he began playing 70-year-old Twain, and would continue to embody him well into his 80s. It wasn’t until September 2017 that Holbrook officially announced his one-man show’s retirement. He resigned in a letter to an Oklahoma theater where he was scheduled to perform. “I know it must end, this long effort to do a good job,” he wrote. “I have served my trade, gave it my all, heart and soul, as a dedicated actor can.”

In addition to his iconic role of Twain, Holbrook played the grandfatherly role of Ron Franz in Sean Penn's 2007 movie Into the Wild, earning him nominations for the Academy Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor. He also played the influential Republican journalist Francis Preston Blair in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln in 2012, but his most famous movie role is likely as the mysterious source Deep Throat in All the President’s Men.

Holbrook is survived by his children, his two stepdaughters Ginna Carter and Mary Dixie Carter, his two grandchildren, and two step-grandchildren.

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