The boy who became Mark Twain

Hal Holbrook (left) performs The Butter and Egg Man at the Denison Summer Theatre with Dick Welsbacher ’48 and Luke Utter ’50.

We know Hal Holbrook ’48 as the Emmy and Tony award-winning actor who has been praised for his stage portrayal of Mark Twain. We also know him for his Academy Award nomination in 2008 for his role in Into the Wild.

But did you know that his grandparents raised him? That he used to dance like Fred Astaire in their basement? That he never really knew his mother? That he and his college buddies called campus Shangri-la? And that he got the nickname “Hal” at Denison?

It’s all in his new autobiography, Harold: The Boy Who Became Mark Twain, which hit bookstores in September. Holbrook dedicates some book real estate to his time at Denison, including his great affection for his teacher, Ed Wright, and his classmate, Ace Morgan ’45.

To learn more about Holbrook’s life, check out the excerpt from the book in the next Denison Magazine.

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