Don't know if everyone is aware of his passing...
Thu May 19, 8:57 AM ET
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor and master impressionist Frank Gorshin, best known for his maniacally menacing turn as the Riddler on the 1960s TV series "Batman," has died at age 72, his agent said.
The veteran entertainer, diagnosed with lung cancer in 2003 while starring in a one-man Broadway show as comic legend George Burns, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Burbank, California, his agent and longtime friend Fred Wostbrock told Reuters.
Gorshin also had been suffering from emphysema and pneumonia, Wostbrock said.
His wife of 48 years, Christina, was with him at the end, the agent said.
Gorshin's death came two days before CBS was set to broadcast what became his final performance, a guest appearance on the season finale of the hit show "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."
Gorshin, a Pittsburgh native, got his start in television and film in the 1950s and '60s, often playing bad guys. But he soon gained attention as a gifted impressionist, doing comic imitations of such stars as Kirk Douglas, Marlon Brando and Burt Lancaster on the nightclub and TV variety show circuit.
One of his first big appearances, on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1964, happened to coincide with the Beatles' famed first performance on that program.
But Gorshin's biggest break came in 1966 when he was cast in the recurring role of the Riddler, the cackling, fiendish arch enemy of Batman on the ABC series based on the popular comic book hero.
Gorshin made a dozen appearances as the Riddler on "Batman," earning an Emmy nomination for his work, and donned his green question mark-patterned suit again for a big-screen movie based on the series.
Fellow actor Adam West, who starred as the title character on "Batman," issued a statement saying his old on-screen foil "will be missed. ... Frank made me laugh. He was a friend and a fascinating character."
Looking back on his career in a 1996 Entertainment Weekly interview, Gorshin voiced mixed feelings on his Riddler role.
"It afforded me a lot of things in the way of financial success and recognition," he said. "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."'
Gorshin also is remembered by "Star Trek" fans for his memorable guest performance on that show as Commissioner Bele, a half-black, half-white alien who appeared in a favorite episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," a parable on race relations.
Decades later, Gorshin portrayed the late George Burns -- a star he had never before included in his repertoire of impressions -- in the Tony-nominated Broadway show "Say Goodnight, Gracie,"
Wostbrock said it was during that show's run that Gorshin was diagnosed with cancer, but he remained with the production while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments, never missing a performance.