'Laugh-In' actor Henry Gibson dies at 73 (click for story)
By Derrik J. Lang, AP Entertainment Writer
LOS ANGELES — Henry Gibson
, the veteran comic character actor best known for his role reciting offbeat poetry on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In,
has died. He was 73.
Gibson's son, James, said Gibson died Monday at his home in Malibu after a brief battle with cancer.
After serving in the Air Force and studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Gibson — born James Bateman in Germantown, Pa., in 1935 — created his Henry Gibson comic persona, a pun on playwright Henrik Ibsen's name, while working as a theater actor in New York. For three seasons on Laugh-In,
he delivered satirical poems while gripping a giant flower.
Gibson went on to appear in several films, including The Long Goodbye
which earned him a Golden Globe nomination. His most memorable roles included playing the menacing neighbor opposite Tom Hanks
in The 'Burbs,
the befuddled priest in Wedding Crashers
, a comically inept Nazi in The Blues Brothers
and voicing Wilbur the Pig in the animated Charlotte's Web.
His recent work included playing cantankerous Judge Clarence Brown
on ABC's Boston Legal,
for five seasons and providing the voice of sardonic, eye-patched reporter Bob Jenkins on Fox's King of the Hill.
In 2001, Gibson returned to the stage in New York in the Encores! New York City Center production of Rodgers and Hart's A Connecticut Yankee.
Gibson is survived by three sons and two grandchildren.