The year 1891-1892 Holbrook spent not too successfully at Leland Stanford Jr. University.
The boy caught his first glimpse of theatrical life in 1878, when he appeared as a child in The Streets of New York. He then went on the stage, playing Corporal Ferry in The New South at Stockwell's Theatre, San Francisco, September 12, 1892, under the management of William A. Brady. He made his New York début in the same play at the Broadway Theatre, January 2, 1893, and continued to act in it for two seasons. Later he returned to California, got together a company of his own, and took it to Alaska. Blinn made his London début as Wing Shee in The Cat and the Cherub at the Lyric Theatre, October 30, 1897. He was popular in London and until 1903 had more engagements in England than in the United States. In 1900, in New York, he acted with Maurice Barrymore in The Battle of the Strong. In 1907-1908, under the management of Arnold Daly he acted in The Shirkers, How He Lied to Her Husband, The Van Dyck, After the Opera, The Hour Glass, and Candida; later he was to be seen with Daly in The Regeneration. For three seasons 1908-1911 he was leading man with Mrs. Minnie Maddern Fiske in Salvation Nell, The Pillars of Society, Hannele, The Green Cockatoo, Becky Sharpe, and Mrs. Bumpstead-Leigh.
In 1913 Blinn organized the Princess Theatre, New York, and produced thirty one-act plays, with which he later went on tour. Always a competent player, he enjoyed steady employment. In 1919 he starred as Henry Winthrop in The Challenge; in 1920 he was Jeffrey Fair in The Famous Mrs. Fair and joint star with Mary Nash in Man and Woman; for three seasons 1920-1923 he played Pancho Lopez in The Bad Man with gorgeous comic verve; he starred in The Dove 1925-1926 and produced and starred in Molnar's The Play's the Thing 1926-1928. His home was at Croton-on-Hudson. There, while riding a new horse, he was thrown June 16, 1928, and badly bruised. Infection set in, and he died after a week's illness. He was buried in the old Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, in Scarborough, New York.
Holbrook Blinn married Ruth Benson. She was the daughter of Maj. Henry McKinley Benson, appeared with her husband in several plays.