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Frank Gorshin Dies at 72

Frank Gorshin as The Riddler

The Riddler has stumped us for the last time:

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) — Actor Frank Gorshin, the impressionist with 100 faces but perhaps best known for his Emmy-nominated role as The Riddler on the old “Batman” television series, has died. He was 72.

Gorshin’s wife of 48 years, Christina, was at his side when he died at 5:25 p.m. Tuesday at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, where he was hospitalized for three weeks for a variety of ailments, his agent and longtime friend Fred Wostbrock said Wednesday.

“He put up a valiant fight with lung cancer, emphysema and pneumonia,” Mrs. Gorshin said in a statement.

Despite dozens of television and movie credits, Gorshin will be forever remembered for his role as The Riddler, Adam West’s villainous foil in the question mark-pocked green suit and bowler hat on “Batman” from 1966-69.

Jim Carrey’s take on the Riddler paled in comparison to Frank Gorshin. And while Rich Little may be considered the greatest impressionist of the ’70s and ’80s, Gorshin was the best in my mind. No one has ever come close to his Kirk Douglas.

There are comedians and comic actors who never make me laugh (Jim Carrey, for one), and those who always do. Gorshin was one of those.

In fact, Gorshin, Burgess Meredith (the Penguin), and Cesar Romero (the Joker) may well be the best collection of villains ever assembled for a television series. (John DeLancey’s Q in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” would rank pretty high on that list, too. Thoughts?)

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