Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Riddle Me This: Frank Gorshin RIP

Sad news from CNN today that Frank Gorshin, "The Riddler" on tv's "Batman," has died at the age of 72:

Gorshin's wife of 48 years, Christina, was at his side when he died Tuesday at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, his agent and longtime friend, Fred Wostbrock, said Wednesday.

"He put up a valiant fight with lung cancer, emphysema and pneumonia," Mrs. Gorshin said in a statement.

Despite dozens of television and movie credits, Gorshin will be forever remembered for his role as the Riddler, Adam West's villainous foil in the question mark-pocked green suit and bowler hat on "Batman" from 1966-69...

West said the death of his longtime friend was a big loss.

"Frank will be missed," West said in a statement. "He was a friend and fascinating character."

Gorshin earned another Emmy nomination for a guest shot on "Star Trek."

In 2002, Gorshin portrayed George Burns on Broadway in the one-man show "Say Goodnight Gracie." He used only a little makeup and no prosthetics.

"I don't know how to explain it. It just comes," he said. "I wish I could say, 'This is step A, B and C.' But I can't do that. I do it, you know. The ironic thing is I've done impressions all my life -- I never did George Burns."

Gorshin's final performance will be broadcast on Thursday's CBS-TV series "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

I once met Frank Gorshin very briefly in a lobby of a hotel I was staying at with my family in the late '80s. The hotel had a dinner theater and Frank was performing there. He was very kind and humorous, a real gent, and an old-school character actor, the likes of which will not be seen again any time soon.

I have always thought his impersonation of Marlon Brando in the criminally-underappreciated musical "Bells Are Ringing" was brilliant. It's a great performance in a really charming musical, starring Dean Martin and Judy Holliday, and now there's even more reason to check it out. So do it!
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Frank Gorshin, you shall be missed...

1 comment:

lang squal said...

I worked at Casa Manana in Fort Worth when one summer, Frank Gorshin performed his night-club act for a two week run.

I never met him, but his show was funny every night.
He was awesome as the Riddler, with the greatest costume in tv history.