Denison Alumni Stars Shine on Stage and Screen
Posted: February 20, 2008 / Last Updated: February 21, 2008
Hal Holbrook, Jennifer Garner and Steve Carell part of this year’s awards season
The Denison University community celebrates achievements in the theatre arts as three of the college’s alumni stars walk the red carpets at Hollywood’s award ceremonies this season.
Hal Holbrook, a 1948 graduate, is nominated as Best Supporting Actor by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his role in “Into the Wild.” At 82, he is the oldest actor ever nominated in that category. Holbrook plays Ron Franz, a lonely retired soldier who forms a grandfatherly bond with a young drifter. This is the first Oscar nod for Holbrook, who has taken home four Emmys. Holbrook’s legendary career began as a student of the late Ed Wright in Denison’s theatre program, which included summer performances under a tent on the college’s lower campus. Holbrook starred as Abraham Lincoln in the television miniseries based on Carl Sandburg's literary account titled "Lincoln." He also won praise as the major in Arthur Miller's "Incident at Vichy" on Broadway. Holbrook played the character of the mysterious Deep Throat in the 1976 classic movie, "All the President's Men," and he was acclaimed for his portrayal as Hays Stowe in "The Bold Ones" television series.
Holbrook has gained international recognition for his portrayal of Mark Twain on stage. Holbrook says that he keeps “Mark Twain Tonight” fresh by selecting quotations from Twain’s writings that speak to current events. His appearance on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the Midland Theatre in Newark should be lively given the current political contests.
Jennifer Garner, a 1994 graduate, joins the cast of “Juno” in hoping their film wins the Best Picture Oscar this year. Other cast members looking for gold are Best Actress in a Leading Role nominee Ellen Page, Best Director nominee Jason Reitman, and Best Original Screenplay nominee, author Diablo Cody. Garner has won Golden Globe, People’s Choice and SAG awards. As a student, she appeared in a number of major productions at Denison. Garner recently returned to live theatre on Broadway in the critically acclaimed role of Roxane in “Cyrano do Bergerac” with Kevin Kline.
In “Juno,” Garner plays prospective adoptive mother Vanessa Loring, a somewhat uptight woman whose surface-perfect life masks some hidden problems. Sixteen year-old Juno, an independent and pragmatic high school student, has decided to give up her baby for adoption. She develops a bond with prospective father Mark, which could throw everyone’s plans into chaos. Garner’s most recent motion picture prior to “Juno” was Catch and Release (2006), a story of a women struggling with the untimely death of her fiancé.
Steve Carell ’84, lead actor in NBC’s “The Office,” has a new award at home, having collected this year’s Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. He also was a nominee for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series.
Carell has graced the cover of Life as funniest man and hosted the season premier of the 2005-2006 “Saturday Night Live” series. He won the 2006 Golden Globe for Best Actor in Television Comedy for his portrayal of Michael Scott in “The Office.” Once a member of Denison’s improvisation troupe, Burpee’s Seedy Theatrical Company, Carell went on to Chicago’s Second City troupe and served as a writer on the “Dana Carvey Show” and as a correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” Carell’s breakout performance was as Evan Baxter opposite Jim Carrey in “Bruce Almighty” in 2003. His comedic genius was noticed again in 2004 opposite Will Ferrell in “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.” He then starred in the 2005 hits “Bewitched” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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