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Details Fans Still Don’t Know About Frank Gorshin

Though actor Frank Gorshin may remain best known for the 10 episodes in which he portrayed Batman‘s nemesis, the Riddler, on the 1960s series Batman, Frank’s turn as the character was only one notch on the actor’s immense belt of a career. Batman fans will interested to learn some of the many bits of trivia surrounding the man, who had been in show business for well over three decades before taking on his iconic role as the Riddler. Join Facts Verse as we explore details fans still don’t know about Frank Gorshin.

Though the 1966 series Batman only lasted for three years, it’s a major phenomenon during it’s run. Part of what made the show so special was the variety of guest stars that would come on the program to portray the titular Caped Crusader’s various nemeses. In addition to such classic portrayals as Cesar Romero’s Joker and Julie Newmar’s Catwoman, one of the most iconic villains on the seminal series proved to be Frank Gorshin’s take on the Riddler.

Frank Gorshin’s turn as the Riddler was so successful that he ended up portraying the character for a total of 10 episodes over the course of the series. The actor remains best known for his time on Batman, though he performed in a variety of other roles both before and afterward. The man was an incredibly interesting thespian, and today we’ll be taking a look at interesting details fans may want to know about him!

He Nominated for an Emmy

Frank Gorshin’s success as the Riddler didn’t solely come as a result of positive reception from the fans. Frank also saw some recognition from his peers in the industry when he nominated for an Emmy Award for his time playing the role. Thanks to his performance as the Riddler, Frank nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Comedy. The nod came specifically as a result of the actor’s appearance in the Batman episode “Hi Diddle Riddle”. Though the actor didn’t win, it stood as a remarkable enough feat that he nominated for his role in the campy series. Though the show a huge hit with the fans, more critical audience members didn’t always take it seriously.

Frank Made His Debut the Same Night as the Beatles

Everyone knows about the Beatles’ seminal appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9. 1964, but did you know that Frank Gorshin made his debut to the public on that very same episode? The episode also featured Davy Jones. Although Frank certainly wouldn’t go on to become as big of a star as any member of the Fab Four, he was a hit with audiences that night thanks to his impressions of popular stars, such as Marlon Brando. One may wonder if Frank debuting alongside the Beatles brought him more attention than he would’ve received otherwise or if he was somewhat overshadowed by the famous band.

Frank Directed by Quentin Tarantino

Everyone will likely know the name Quentin Tarantino, but not everyone knows that the director liked to make a habit of directing television episodes in his spare time. Quentin has directed a few episodes of various series, including the fifth season finale of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Fans may be wondering what exactly this has to do with Frank Gorshin. Well, Frank appeared in the episode! Not only that, but the episode ended up containing Frank’s very last performance.

Not just anyone gets to say that Quentin Tarantino directed them, not to mention in the final performance of their career! Due to the fact that it ended up being the actor’s last performance, the two-part episode was dedicated to him. Frank’s appearance on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation was his last guest appearance on a television series, but the actor had made countless other guest appearances on other series since his days as the Riddler on Batman.

Frank Was on Star Trek

Besides his appearance as the Riddler, one of Frank Gorshin’s other more iconic performances was on the original Star Trek. Frank appeared in an episode of the show’s third season, in the episode “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield. The plot of that episode required Frank’s face to completely covered in face paint since he was playing an alien.

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Frank Gorshin Smoked Five Packs a Day

Frank came from a time when smoking wasn’t that big of a deal. However, he considered a heavy smoker even for the time period. Frank known to smoke up to five packs a day, and some said that he could inhale a whole cigarette in one drag! While smoking might have considered cool back when Frank started doing it, the habit ended up contributing to the various illnesses that caused his death.

Frank’s Son Is a Genius

Frank’s son is Mitch Gorshin, who survived him after his death. Although Mitch has proved incredibly talented over the course of his life, he has chosen not to follow in the footsteps of his father. However, what he has chosen to do is arguably even more impressive than his father’s works!

Mitch started out his career by working as an Imagineer at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It was here that Mitch got his experience as an engineer that he would later put to even more incredible use in the United States Navy. Mitch developed technology during his time as an Imagineer that he was able to implement into Navy training exercises with great success. Mitch used his theme park designing skills to design a realistic battlefield for soldiers to experience.

Frank performed a lot in Las Vegas during his lifetime, and Mitch would oftentimes accompany him on his trips. Mitch got to experience a lot of the amazing thrills that Las Vegas had to offer during his youth, at least the ones that were appropriate for kids! Mitch’s experiences in Las Vegas as a kid influenced the third stage of his career that occurred after his time designing Navy training modules. This third stage saw Mitch redesigning classy luxury hotels. Subsequently, Marriott reached out to Mitch and hired him exclusively.

Frank Gorshin Was a Skilled Impressionist

Batman fans will know Frank Gorshin as the Riddler, but the actor actually started his career as a skilled impressionist. That was how he broke out on the scene on The Ed Sullivan Show, and most of his live performances centered on his ability to mimic popular entertainers. Some of the many entertainers that Frank could do spot-on impressions of included Cary Grant, James Cagney, and Al Jolson.

Frank had been born in 1933, and his family lived in Pennsylvania. Frank began working at the Sheridan Square Theatre during his high school years, and it was during this time that the young man first started developing his talents as an impressionist. He worked as an usher at the establishment before winning a local talent contest at the age of 17, thanks to his impressions. The prize of the contest was a one-week engagement at a popular nightclub, where Frank showcased his impressions and became a star!

Frank Served in the Army

While Frank never engineered any groundbreaking Navy training modules like his son ended up doing, he did serve in the United States Army during the 1950s. Frank drafted into the army in 1953 when he was 19 years old. During his time in the military, Frank posted in Germany. It was during Frank’s time here that he met the man that would go on to make him famous. This was a man by the name of Maurice Bergman, who would go on to hook Frank up with a notable Hollywood agent following their days in the military.

Frank got his start appearing in B Movies

Although Frank would later become best known for his notable tenure playing the character of the Riddler on the 1960s series Batman, his turn as that iconic character certainly wasn’t his first brush with camp. During Frank’s early days in the entertainment industry, many of his roles came from B movies that were being put out by American-International Pictures. Frank starred in several pictures for the studio, including Hot Rod Girl and Dragstrip Girl. The actor’s big break finally came in 1960, when he was offered a role in the Dean Martin comedy Bells Are Ringing.

He Made His Broadway Debut in 1970

A decade after his first role in a major movie with Bells Are Ringing, Frank Gorshin made his official debut on Broadway. This debut came when he starred in the Broadway production Jimmy, which premiered in 1970. The production got great reviews from critics, and Frank went on to star in a variety of touring productions over the ensuing decade. During his time performing in touring productions, some of the many productions that Frank could be seen in across the country included Guys and Dolls and Peter Pan.

Frank Died from a Variety of Causes

Although Frank technically died from a cocktail of illnesses, they could all be attributed to his heavy smoking habit that he maintained over his lifetime. He suffered from a mix of lung cancer, emphysema, and pneumonia. All three illnesses came together to result in the actor’s 2005 death shortly after filming the aforementioned episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The actor was 72 years old at the time of his death and was survived by Mitch.

Although Frank Gorshin remains best known for his time as the Riddler on the 1960s series Batman, he was an incredibly interesting thespian who did a variety of other notable things during his career! Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Frank Gorshin was an immensely talented impressionist with a vast career in entertainment, or did you only know him as the Riddler on Batman? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!

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