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TrekToday - Frank Gorshin, TOS' Bele, Dies at 72

Frank Gorshin, TOS' Bele, Dies at 72

By Michelle
May 18, 2005 - 8:16 PM

Frank Gorshin, who received an Emmy Award nomination as Bele from the original Star Trek episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", has died at 72. A veteran of numerous stage, film and television performances, Gorshin is best remembered among genre fans as the Riddler on television's Batman - another role for which he received an Emmy nod.

The Associated Press reported via CNN that the impressionist passed away on Tuesday with his wife of 48 years, Christina, at his side. "He put up a valiant fight with lung cancer, emphysema and pneumonia," she said.

Among Gorshin's theatre work, it was his portrayal of comedian George Burns on Broadway in 2002 in a one-man show, Say Goodnight Gracie, which earned him the most acclaim. But most fans probably picture Gorshin in the bowler hat and green suit covered with question marks that he wore on Batman from 1966-69. The man who played the title character, Adam West, described Gorshin as a longtime friend "and fascinating character" and said he would be missed.

"[Batman] really was a catalyst for me," Gorshin had recalled in an Associated Press interview. "I was nobody...after I did that, I became a headliner in Vegas."

The Star Trek episode for which Gorshin is famous concerned two aliens, one black on the left and white on the right side, one white on the left and black on the right side, who had taken their people's war to the stars and to Captain Kirk's Enterprise.

Gorshin's last television role is in tomorrow's season finale of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. His nightclub act had been a Las Vegas fixture for years, and he filmed a cameo appearance as himself for the Quentin Tarantino-directed episode, "Grave Danger."

Additional obituaries may be found at WNBC, Yahoo!, Fox News and from a friend of Gorshin's at The 1966 Batman Message Board.

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