Riddle me this, Birthday Bat Fink

Frank Gorshin was a comedian and impressionist best known for his Emmy nominated role as The Riddler in Batman, the 1960s live-action series.  For two of the three seasons, he got to find out the pain of wearing tights and the soothing power of talcum powder.

He started his career as a teenager, doing impressions and winning talent contests.   He attended Carnegie Mellon University before he was drafted into the Army.  For 18 months, he was a part of Special Services which means be entertained the troops.  That was a job usually filled by Bob Hope.

Eventually, he became a dramatic actor with his roots still in comedy.  He was a guest 12 times on The Ed Sullivan Show including February 9, 1964 the night Ed showcased eventual Monkee Davy Jones and The Beatles.   We figured with all the teenybopper screaming no one heard his act.

He was also in the semi-acclaimed  Star Trek episode “Let that be Your Last Battlefield” where he played the half-black, half white alien.  This idea was rebuked by Michael Jackson in his video “Black and White” and also in his real life.

Frank appeared in many television and film role including the cult classics Hot Rod Girl and Drag Strip Girl.  He looked silly in a girdle and panty hose.

He once said, “I am a man of few words but many riddles”, “With money. who needs friends?” and “The finer the bait, the shorter the wait!”   He passed away coming back from a performance of his one-man show about George Burns called Good Night, Gracie on May 17, 2005.  His gravestone reads “What does it all mean?,” a riddle that is still to be answered.

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