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'Say Goodnight' - Frank Gorshin Dead at 72

Frank Gorshin, Film, TV and Broadway star who was best known for his Emmy-nominated role as The Riddler on the old "Batman" television series, passed away at age 72. Gorshin's wife of 48 years, Christina, was at his side when he died at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. "He put up a valiant fight with lung cancer, emphysema and pneumonia," Mrs. Gorshin said in a statement.

Born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1934, Gorshin worked as an usher at the Sheridan Square Theatre and began doing impressions of some of his screen idols. At 17 he won a local talent contest with the prize being a 1-week engagement at Jackie Heller's Carousel night club, where famed notorious comedian Alan King was headlining. Frank then attended the Carnegie-Mellon Tech School of Drama and worked on stage in Pittsburgh. Friend and classmate, Arnold Brockman told BroadwayWorld, "Frank was a super-talented individual. It was apparent in College that he was somebody who was very special."

In 1953 he entered the US Army during the Korean war and served in Special Services as an entertainer. It was just after his service was up that Gorshin met his Hollywood agent via a friend in the army. From that moment, he worked continuously in Hollywood in both the film and television industry.

Amongst Frank's credits include the role of Blake Barton in the movie musical of "Bells Are Ringing" opposite Dean Martin. During his extensive career in Hollywood, Frank also appeared famed night clubs in California and Las Vegas opening up for the likes of Bobby Darrin and had several guest spots on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Gorshin made his debut on the great white way
as the star of "Jimmy" which garnered him rave reviews. He also starred in many touring company productions such as "Promises, Promises"; "Peter Pan"; "Prisoner of Second Street" and "Guys and Dolls." He was most recently on Broadway with "Say Goodnight Gracie" in 2002 using only a little makeup and no prosthetics. "Say Goodnight Gracie" was nominated for a 2003 Tony for Best Play and Gorshin was nominated for a Drama Desk Award and won the coveted Outer Critics Circle Award. He had just fiinished a tour of the show.

In reference to becoming George Burns, Gorshin said, "I don't know how to explain it. It just comes," he said. "I wish I could say, 'This is step A, B and C.' But I can't do that. I do it, you know. The ironic thing is I've done impressions all my life – I never did George Burns."

Gorshin's final performance will be broadcast on Thursday's CBS-TV series "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

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