HANNIBAL, Mo. — Actor Hal Holbrook has been performing as Mark Twain for six decades. Now, he’s getting an award named after the author and humorist. The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, Mo., said Wednesday that Holbrook is the first-ever recipient of the Mark Twain Lifetime Achievement Award to honor those whose life’s work has furthered the legacy of the literary icon.
Holbrook has been portraying Twain since 1954, and won a Tony award for “Mark Twain Tonight!” in 1966. He authored a memoir, “Harold: The Boy Who Became Mark Twain.”
The award was created in collaboration with the centennial of the Twain home and museum.
I have seen Holbrook play Twain several times, but one of my greatest thrills was to see him play Harry Hotspur (Sir Henry Percy) in Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1 at the Stratford, CT, Shakespeare Festival in 1961. He is an amazing actor.
At 70 years of age, actress Dixie Carter has died. Many people think of her only as Julia Sugarbaker in Designing Women on TV, but her career was long and diverse (and she was in that narrow club of people who performed or created performances at the, now gone, Bijou Theatre in NY in the 70s… she appeared in Sextet… a group I belong to.)
I would like to express sadness to her husband, the great actor Hal Holbrook, and her family. She was a performer who I saw in many roles in my own life. The Dixie Carter Performing Arts and Academic Enrichment Center (informally called “The Dixie”) in Huntingdon, Tennessee is named in honor of Carter.
No immediate cause of death was announced this morning, and this was apparently unexpected.