'Sons of Anarchy': Hal Holbrook Had an Impactful Role in the FX Drama

Hollywood lost one of its legends in 95-year-old Hal Holbrook. The Emmy-winning actor died on Jan. 23 in his California home. Among his most memorable roles, Holbrook won a Tony Award for best actor as the title character of Mark Twain Tonight!, a show he also directed. He also appeared in the NBC miniseries Lincoln in 1976, where he won an Emmy. In one of his final roles on the small screen, Holbrook appeared in Sons of Anarchy, where he played Gemma Teller's father, Nate Madock.

He made his first mark on the show with a couple of episodes in Season 3 and later returned for an appearance in Season 7. Despite having limited time on the series, Holbrook's character wound up having some major scenes, one of which being the first time viewers saw him. He made his debut in the first episode of the third season when Gemma (Katey Sagal) went with Tig (Kim Coates) to visit her father as she was on the run from murder charges. Her father was suffering from dementia and had a caretaker overseeing him at his home. The episode takes a turn for the worst when Holbrook's character sees Tig and his caretaker in bed, to which he responds by shooting Tig in the shoulder after believing his wife, who had died years before, was the one there instead of his caretaker. He winds up fleeing along with the rifle and heads towards his lake house, where he questions how much longer he wants to live. Gemma talks him off the ledge, but due to his caretaker dying after trying to escape, she has to send him off to a nursing facility where viewers see him checking in.

Holbrook doesn't appear in Sons of Anarchy again until the seventh season. His one-episode appearance that season was in the penultimate episode. Gemma goes to visit him in the nursing home, telling the members of SAMCRO that her father was approaching his death bed. After being absent for four seasons, the character of Madock has really fallen ill to his dementia as he hardly recognizes her. That would be the final time Holbrook would show his face in the series, meaning his character's fate was never revealed other than his mental health was taking a significant turn for the worse in his last encounter.


All seven seasons of Sons of Anarchy are now available for streaming on Hulu after debuting in 2020 following its run on Netflix. Its spin-off series, Mayans M.C., can also be streamed on the service.