Frank Gorshin: Pittsburgh Pariah

Riddle me this, why wasn't Gorshin booked back home?

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By the time he joined Batman, Frank Gorshin was already a veteran of stage and screen. Like his castmates, Gorshin was selected to provide some acting aplomb to what might otherwise have been silly material. His Riddler, though, would go down in infamy as one of the most recognizable and beloved television villains of all time.

Gorshin's nightclub act took him all over the country and landed him parts in prestigious pictures. He was a Las Vegas mainstay and found success in New York, Chicago, and Miami Beach as well. He headlined rooms all over and drew adoring crowds everywhere he went.

Everywhere, that is, except for his hometown, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Gorshin, a dropout of the Carnegie Tech Drama School, spoke at length about his hometown snubs in a 1965 interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"I suppose I am just a bit hurt," Gorshin told journalist Harold V. Cohen, "because you sort of like to feel wanted in the place where you were brought up. I don't know what it is, but every time my agency has offered me to a cafe in [Pittsburgh], there hasn't been the slightest bit of interest." 

He didn't need the work. Frank Gorshin's talents were in constant demand. That same year, he'd starred in Disney's That Darn Cat, his eighth movie in just five years. He stayed busy with further live performances, as well. 

"It isn't that I'm not up to my ears in bookings, but I'd pass up any of the other places just for the kick of coming back to where my family and my friends and my roots are." 

"Maybe I'll be back soon," Gorshin said in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I'd like nothing better. I just don't understand it, why places like the Holiday House and the Twin Coaches aren't interested in me. I just don't understand it."

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5 Comments

Bapa1 2 months ago
Frank Gorshin's Riddler was the best!
Robertp 2 months ago
He did a great job. Was probably difficult to pull off his part in Batman.
Runeshaper 2 months ago
Frank Gorshin was GREAT! If any place passed him up, that was their loss.
Snickers 2 months ago
Just sad he wasn't wanted in his hometown. But glad he never was hurting for work. Have seen him all over the T.V in westerns and his role on the Star Trek episode " Let This be your last Battlefield".
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