Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pat Hingle


Primarily known to today's film audiences as Commissioner Gordon in the first four Batman remakes, Hingle had a lengthy career on film and the stage. He appeared in the original casts of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (as slimy eldest son Gooper) and The Price (as policeman Victor Franz), as well as other notable premiere productions of Dark at the Top of the Stairs and J.B. He spent some time in the long-running original production of The Odd Couple and worked a season with the American Shakespeare Festival, playing Macbeth, among other roles.

On film, he was Warren Beatty's father in Splendor in the Grass and Sally Field's in Norma Rae. Actress Angelica Huston reported that his work in The Grifters so terrified her that, during the filming, she could not sleep at night. His breakout performance on film eluded him when he fell down an elevator shaft in 1959; he lost a finger and the title role of Elmer Gantry (to Burt Lancaster, who won the Oscar). He spent the rest of his career "in support."

Over the years, Hingle's stage work included revivals of Death of a Salesman, Our Town, Strange Interlude, and The Glass Menagerie (as the Gentleman Caller!) His final Broadway appearance was as Ben Franklin in the 1997 revival of the musical 1776.
He continued to appear in films and on regional stages until his death last week.