Fans of the 1960s Batman series that starred Adam West and Burt Ward as the dynamic duo are remembering Riddler actor Frank Gorshin on the 15th anniversary of his death at the age of 72. Nominated for one Primetime Emmy for his role as the costumed and clue-dropping Riddler, one of Gotham City's most frequent offenders alongside the Penguin (Burgess Meredith) and the Joker (Cesar Romero), Gorshin's Riddler appeared in ten episodes of the campy DC Comics-inspired series that aired on ABC for three seasons between 1966 and 1968. Gorshin also appeared in the feature film that partnered Riddler with Batman and Robin's greatest rogues: Penguin, Joker, and Catwoman (Lee Meriwether).
In a 1997 interview with AP Radio (via CBS News), Gorshin recalled of his high-pitched Riddler laugh, "I fooled around with all kinds of different laughs and then I found out that when I do laugh I get this high-pitched laugh and I thought, 'This is what I'm going to use.'"
The role for which he's most remembered "really was a catalyst for me," the comedian and impressionist said in a 2002 Associated Press interview. "I was nobody. I had done some guest shots here and there. But after I did that, I became a headliner in Vegas, so I can't put it down."
After reprising his role in 1979 reunion special Legends of the Superheroes, which teamed West's Batman and Ward's Robin with a legion of other superheroes, Gorshin would later lend his voice to another Bat-villain, that of the deranged Dr. Hugo Strange, in three episodes of 2004 animated series The Batman.
Frank Gorshin (the Riddler) passed away on May 17, 2005, age 72. pic.twitter.com/z57EBCGMyv— 60s Batman 📺 (@60s_Batman) May 17, 2020
Remembering Actor Comedian #FrankGorshin on the anniversary of his death #OTD #OnThisDay #OnThisDate #classictv #Batman #Batman66 @60s_Batman #TheRiddler @SilverAgeTV #silveragetv @classic_film pic.twitter.com/KZo4fK7r82— Robert Hoover (@MinyaJr327) May 17, 2020
Frank Gorshin (April 5, 1933 – May 17, 2005) pic.twitter.com/v7D3WshkHl— Aurora (@CitizenScreen) May 17, 2020
I met Frank Gorshin once. He really appreciated his fans and couldn’t have been nicer— William Gregg Stamey (@gregg_stamey) May 17, 2020
My favorite villain on that show. Amazing performance and I love that suit.— brian dockery (@brian_dockery) May 17, 2020
He’s always been my favorite villain from the Batman show.— Kolchak (@waldrop_j) May 17, 2020