Frank Gorshin, Batman’s Riddler, Dies at 72

Actor Frank Gorshin, the impressionist with 100 faces best known for his Emmy-nominated role as The Riddler on the old "Batman" television series, has died.

‘The Riddler’ Frank Gorshin Dies at 72 (AP)

Actor Frank Gorshin, the impressionist with 100 faces best known for his Emmy-nominated role as The Riddler on the old “Batman” television series, has died. He was 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. “It really was a catalyst for me,” Gorshin recalled in a 2002 Associated Press interview. “I was nobody. I had done some guest shots here and there. But after I did that, I became a headliner in Vegas, so I can’t put it down.”

It always amuses me when Hollywood stars get upset about having been typecast in a role that made them famous and financially secure. Goshin’s attitude was a good one.

FILED UNDER: Comic Books, Popular Culture
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. McGehee says:

    Riddle me this: who was the impression subject on whom Gorshin based much of his Riddler persona?




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  2. Cricket says:

    Rest in Peace, Riddler.

    I loved the old Batman series. Classy and comic
    book campy with good writing and stellar acting
    that took real talent.




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  3. Kent says:

    So what was his guest shot on Star Trek?




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  4. wavemaker says:

    McGehee — it’s killing me….tell us!!

    I always felt Gorshin’s impressions were at the very top of the craft. His Burt Lancaseter was superb. And an unsung dramatist too.




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  5. Eric says:

    He was the cop, I think, in the Black-and-White Cookie episode. (Let That Be Your Last Battlefield)




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  6. Alan Kellogg says:

    Correction

    Frank Gorshin was the first of two men to play The Riddler on the Batman tv series. Can you name the second?




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  7. bithead says:

    His acting is “Last Battlefield” was supurb… he deserved the nomination.




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  8. McGehee says:

    Wavemaker: I believe he once said it was Richard Widmark’s protrayal of an insane man in some movie I can’t name off the top — andin the interview promptly did his Richard Widmark and it was very Riddler-esque.

    As to Bithead’s question, I know the answer but will only hint so as not to spoil the fun of others: the actor in question also appeared often on “Night Court” — but he’s much better now.




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