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Actor-Impressionist Frank Gorshin Dies in California at 72 logo
Frank Gorshin
Frank Gorshin, who entertained Broadway audiences with his portrayals of comedian George Burns and New York City mayor Jimmy Walker, died today in Burbank, California at 72. He had been battling lung cancer, emphysema, and pneumonia, according to a spokeperson.

Gorshin began his film career in 1956 with a small role in The Proud and the Profane. Over the next decade, he appeared in such movies as Bells Are Ringing (1960), Where The Boys Are (1960), and That Darn Cat (1965) before gaining international fame for his portrayal of The Riddler in the Batman television series (1966-'69). He earned two Emmy nominations for his TV work -- one for his Batman role, one for guest-starring in an episode of Star Trek. His final television performance, on the hit CBS series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, is scheduled to be seen tomorrow evening (May 19).

In 1969, Gorshin made his Broadway debut as Mayor Jimmy Walker in the musical Jimmy, which played eight previews and 84 performances at the Winter Garden. He didn't return to Broadway until 1983, when he replaced George Hearn in Anthony Shaffer's Whodunit.

Well known for his skills as an impressionist, Gorshin first played George Burns in the solo show Say Goodnight Gracie in Fort Lauderdale in 2000, earning the Carbonell Award for Best Actor. Written by Rupert Holmes, the show moved to Broadway's Helen Hayes Theater in September 2002; Gorshin earned an Outer Critics Circle Award and a Drama Desk Award nomination for his performance.

Say Goodnight Gracie played 27 previews and 364 performances before closing on August 24, 2003. Gorshin then toured with the show across the country. He also appeared throughout the U.S. in productions of Promises, Promises, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, Guys and Dolls, and The Sunshine Boys.

Gorshin is survived by his wife of 48 years, Christina.

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