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Frank Gorshin

Frank Gorshin

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Also Known As: Frank Gorshin Jr., Frank J. Gorshin Died: May 17, 2005
Born: April 5, 1933 Cause of Death: lung cancer, emphysema and pneumonia
Birth Place: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA Profession: actor, singer, impressionist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Frank Gorshin may have built his stage reputation on his impeccable celebrity impersonations, but as an actor, it was his manic portrayal of the quizzical super villain The Riddler on TV's "Batman" (ABC, 1966-68) that would endear him to generations of fans. After discovering his facility with mimicry at an early age, and honing his craft on the stages of the USO while in the Army, Gorshin embarked on an early career in film with small parts in such B-pictures as "Hot Rod Girl" (1956). Supporting roles in studio efforts like "Bells Are Ringing" (1960) and return visits to "The Ed Sullivan Show" (CBS, 1948-1971) throughout the 1960s increased his visibility. As the featured guest-villain on the pilot episode of "Batman" in 1966, however, Gorshin inextricably linked himself to a larger-than-life character he had no choice but to embrace in the years that followed. And there was no reason not to, as The Riddler was pure Gorshin - maniacal, mercurial, menacing and most definitely funny. A gifted actor beyond the camp of "Batman," he also impressed with a riveting performance in an episode of "Star Trek" (NBC, 1966-69), and later, in stage productions of "Jimmy" and "On the Twentieth Century." The...

Frank Gorshin may have built his stage reputation on his impeccable celebrity impersonations, but as an actor, it was his manic portrayal of the quizzical super villain The Riddler on TV's "Batman" (ABC, 1966-68) that would endear him to generations of fans. After discovering his facility with mimicry at an early age, and honing his craft on the stages of the USO while in the Army, Gorshin embarked on an early career in film with small parts in such B-pictures as "Hot Rod Girl" (1956). Supporting roles in studio efforts like "Bells Are Ringing" (1960) and return visits to "The Ed Sullivan Show" (CBS, 1948-1971) throughout the 1960s increased his visibility. As the featured guest-villain on the pilot episode of "Batman" in 1966, however, Gorshin inextricably linked himself to a larger-than-life character he had no choice but to embrace in the years that followed. And there was no reason not to, as The Riddler was pure Gorshin - maniacal, mercurial, menacing and most definitely funny. A gifted actor beyond the camp of "Batman," he also impressed with a riveting performance in an episode of "Star Trek" (NBC, 1966-69), and later, in stage productions of "Jimmy" and "On the Twentieth Century." The culmination of the gifted actor-impressionist's career came with his acclaimed portrayal of comedian George Burns in 2002. A bravura one-man stage show, "Say Goodnight, Gracie," provided the perfect vehicle for Gorshin, who continued to fine-tune the role right up until his passing in 2005.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 After the Game (2004)
3.
 Mail Order Bride (2003) Russian Doctor
4.
 High Times' Potluck (2003) Slim Man
5.
 Manna From Heaven (2001) Ed Burns
6.
 Beethoven's 3rd (2000)
7.
 Final Rinse (1999)
8.
 Man of the Century (1999) Roman Navarro
9.
 All Shook Up (1998)
10.
 Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (1997) Cain Ball
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1953:
Served in the US Army special services
1956:
TV acting debut in an episode of the syndicated series, "Frontier Doctor"
1956:
First feature appearance, "Between Heaven and Hell"
1957:
Appeared in the busted pilot "New Girl in His Life" (CBS)
1959:
Created the role of Pulaski on the CBS series "Hennessey" (role assumed by Norman Alden)
1959:
Had featured role in the musical film "Bells Are Ringing"
1965:
Co-starred in "That Darn Cat"
1966:
Recurring guest star as The Riddler on "Batman" (ABC)
1966:
Reprised role of The Riddler in "Batman: The Movie"
1970:
Broadway debut, played title role of "Jimmy", in short-lived biographical musical based on NYC mayor Jimmy Walker
1972:
Starred in the ABC series "The Kopykats"
:
Was a regular on the ABC game show "Rhyme and Reason"
1975:
TV-movie debut, "Sky Hei$t" (NBC)
1981:
Co-starred in the syndicated miniseries "Goliath Awaits"
:
Appeared in the ABC soap opera "Edge of Night"
1983:
Returned to Broadway in the short-lived mystery "Whodunnit"
:
Headlined a touring company of the musical "On the Twentieth Century"
1995:
Had a dramatic supporting role in "12 Monkeys"
1995:
Appeared in a Las Vegas production of "Guys and Dolls"
1998:
Had featured role in "Man of the Century"
2000:
Portrayed George Burns in the one-man show "Say Goodnight, Gracie"
2001:
Toured in "The Sunshine Boys" with Dick Van Patten
2003:
Featured in the comedy "Mail Order Bride"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Carnegie Institute of Technology: Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania -

Notes

"I don't think of myself as being funny. But life takes strange turns." --Frank Gorshin in PEOPLE, January 15, 1996

Gorshin claims one of the few voices he has not been able to master is that of the late, great Spencer Tracy.

"I didn't see ["Batman Forever"]. I don't want to see anything that I'm not in. All I can think is 'I can do that, too.'" --Gorshin in PEOPLE, January 15, 1996

On his TV success as The Riddler: "It afforded me a lot of things, in the way of finacial success and recognition. But being known as the Riddler all this time, there's always that feeling: 'Gee, I wish there was something else they would recognize me for.'" --Frank Gorshin in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, January 5, 1996

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Christina Randazzo. Married on April 8, 1960.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Frank Gorshin Sr.
mother:
Frances Gorshin.
son:
Mitchell Gorshin.

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