Childhood & Early Life
Frank John Gorshin Jr. was born on April 5, 1933, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA to Frank Gorshin Sr., and Frances. His father was a railroad worker while his mother was a seamstress.
He started working as a cinema usher when he was 15. He attended Peabody High School and acquired his first paid employment at a night club where he bagged a one-week engagement. He took the engagement even though his brother had died in a road accident just two nights before.
After attending Carnegie Tech School of Drama, he served in the U.S. army for two years. During his tenure, he served as an entertainer in Germany.
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Frank Gorshin's first movie role was in the 1956 war film ‘Between Heaven and Hell’. After this, he appeared in the B-grade movies ‘Hot Rod Girl’, ‘Invasion of the Saucer Men’ and ‘Dragstrip Girl’.
After appearing in an episode of the syndicated western television series ‘Frontier Doctor’, he featured in the comedy-drama series ‘Hennesey’.
In 1960, Gorshin had a role in the romantic flick ‘Bells are Ringing’. That year, he also took the comic role of the jazz bassist Basil in ‘Where the Boys Are’.
In 1961, he performed as an impressionist who murders his fiancée in ‘The Defenders.’ The actor also had roles in the films ‘Ring of Fire’ and ‘The George Raft Story’ that year.
Thereafter, he guest-starred multiple times on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ and featured in ABC's crime drama series ‘The Untouchables’.
From 1963 to 1965, Gorshin played Pvt. Gavin in two episodes of ‘Combat’ and also featured in ‘That Darn Cat!’, a story about bank robbers, a mischievous cat, and kidnapping.
He made guest appearances in a number of TV shows including ‘Password All-Stars’, ‘The Roger Miller Show’, ‘The Danny Kaye Show’ and ‘The Munsters’, to name a few.
After playing a boss-behind-bars in Otto Preminger's ‘Skidoo’ in 1968, Gorshin starred in the Broadway production of ‘Jimmy’. During this time, he also had a memorable role as the half-blackface and half-whiteface alien in an episode of Star Trek titled "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield".
From 1971 to 1972, he featured in the game show’ The Hollywood Squares’. This was followed by his performance on the stage, in the play ‘The Prisoner of Second Avenue’.
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In the ensuing years, the actor had roles in the television programs ‘Hawaii Five-O’, ‘Ironside’, ‘Get Christie Love!’, ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Charlie's Angels’.
He played the role of a villain named Dan Wesker in the series ‘Goliath Awaits’ in 1981 and the role of Smiley Wilson on ABC’s opera ‘The Edge of Night’ the same year.
In his final years, Gorshin played comedian George Burns in the play ‘Say Goodnight, Gracie’ which earned a 2003 Tony Award for best play.
He played John H. Keynes, a Harvard Law School Professor, in the Korean series ‘Love Story in Harvard’. He afterwards voiced Hugo Strange in a few episodes of ‘The Batman’.
His last appearance on television was in an episode of ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’ in 2005.
Family & Personal Life
In April 1957, Frank Gorshin married a woman named Christina Randazzo and had one son named Mitchell with her. The couple separated later on but remained married until Gorshin’s death.
He was a heavy smoker. On May 17, 2005, the actor died from lung cancer, complicated by pneumonia and emphysema. He was 72.
He was buried at the Calvary Catholic Cemetery, Pittsburgh.