8 riveting facts about Frank Gorshin
The most famous Riddler had a few tricks up his sleeve.
Image: Everett Collection
Throughout its three-year run on primetime television, Batman was chock-full of colorful guest stars. There was Cesar Romero and the sinfully enjoyable Joker, Yvonne Craig as the delightful Batgirl and Julie Newmar as the stealthy Catwoman.
But no guest star left more of an impression than Frank Gorshin. Accompanied by his famous high-pitched laugh, the actor donned the green suit as the Riddler for 10 episodes.
Today would have been Gorshin's birthday. To honor the legendary character actor and impressionist, let's take a look at some things you might know have known about him.
1. He followed the Beatles on 'Ed Sullivan'
Gorshin was known for his impressions of stars like Kirk Douglas and Marlon Brando before his turn as the Riddler on Batman. His big break came with his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964, the same night The Beatles and Davy Jones debuted.
2. He was nominated for an Emmy
Although Batman is mostly remembered for its campy vibe, the series did earn some critical acclaim. Specifically, Gorshin was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Comedy for his appearance in the episode "Hi Diddle Riddle."
3. The Riddler's laugh was his own
Gorshin said he played around with a lot of laughs while preparing for the role of the Riddler. However, he decided his own high-pitched cackle was the perfect fit. "I thought, 'This is what I'm going to use,'" Gorshin told AP Radio in 1997.
4. He reprised the role in the 1970s
Who remembers the zany variety special Legends of Superheroes in the 1970s? Adam West and Burt Ward weren't the only ones to reprise their famous Batman characters. Gorshin also suited up as the Riddler in this one-off calamity.
Image: Legions of Gotham
5. His last performance was directed by Quentin Tarantino
Gorshin's last televised appearance was on the fifth season finale of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in 2005. The two-parter was directed by the celebrated Tarantino and aired two days after his death on May 19. The episode (which also starred Tony Curtis) was dedicated to his memory.
Image: CBS Television Distribution
6. He appeared in hundreds of TV shows and movies
Although Gorshin is best remembered for Batman, it definitely wasn't his only role. The character actor has hundreds of acting credits to his name, not to mention the many nights he spent headlining shows on the Las Vegas strip. "I just want to work - no matter what it is," Gorshin told the New York Times. "You got a job for me?"
7. 'Star Trek' was one of those roles
Aside from Batman, perhaps Gorshin's most famous guest appearance was on the season three episode of Star Trek titled "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield." Covered in black and white face paint, the actor portrayed a bigoted alien from the planet Cheron.
8. He was a huge smoker
Gorshin was known among his peers as an avid smoker. "Frank could reduce a cigarette to ash with one draw," West once claimed. Unfortunately, Gorshin passed away from lung cancer in 2005.
Image: A&M Records
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