Frank Gorshin, 72, best known as the Riddler on the TV series Batman, died of cancer Tuesday at Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, Calif.
Gorshin, an actor, singer, and impressionist whose credits included TV, films and Broadway, left an indellible impression as the cackling, body-suited villain--"Riddle me this, Batman"--in the popular ABC series of the mid-1960's. He was in heady company, joining some acting giants, including Art Carney, Burgess Meredith, Cesar Romero and Vincent Price, who put tongues firmly in cheek to play along with the campy series.
But Gorshin also left behind dozens of impressions of stars past and present as one of the leaders of a troupe of talented impressionists--including Rich Little, Marilyn Michaels, Will Jordan, George Kirby, and female impersonator Jim Bailey--who were staples of TV during the variety show heyday of the 1960's.
Boomers will remember particularly Gorshin's impressions of Richard Burton in Camelot, Kirk Douglas, and Jimmy Cagney. He was also nominated for an emmy for a guest appearance on the original Star Trek episode about prejudice, and reprised his role in a Batman TV remake of several years back.
(A full bio of Gorshin, who was born in Pittsburgh in 1934, can be found at http://www.pattersonandassociates.com/bios/Frank_Gorshin/)
Appropriately, Gorshin is going out on top. He makes a cameo appearance on Thursday night's season-ending episode of TV's top scripted series, CBS' CSI.
No word on whether the show would add an "in memoriam" tag to the episode.