Henry Gibson

Actor, Poet
With an act he had perfected in college, Henry Gibson made his fame in the Sixties playing a stand-up poet reciting ironically inane free verse that parodied the apoplectic poesy of the Beat Generation. Discovered by ... Read more »
Born: 09/21/1935 in Germantown, Pennsylvania, USA

Filmography

Actor (91)

Big Stan 2008 (Movie)

(Actor)

King of the Hill 2005 - 2008 (Tv Show)

Voice

Boston Legal 2006 - 2007 (Tv Show)

Actor

Trapped Ashes 2007 (Movie)

("Wraparound Story") (Actor)

Wedding Crashers 2005 (Movie)

Father O'Neil (Actor)

Charmed 2003 (Tv Show)

Actor

Rocket Power 1999 - 2003 (TV Show)

Voice

Rocket Power: Reggie's Big (Beach) Break 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Voice

Stargate SG-1 2002 - 2003 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Guardian 2003 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Year That Trembled 2003 (Movie)

Ralph Tyler (Actor)

Teddy Bear's Picnic 2002 (Movie)

Clifford Sloane (Actor)

Early Edition 1987 - 1988, 1990 - 1996, 1999 - 2000 (Tv Show)

Actor

Murder, She Wrote 1987 - 1988, 1990 - 1996, 1999 - 2000 (Tv Show)

Actor

A Stranger in the Kingdom 1999 (Movie)

Jack Burrows (Actor)

Buddy Faro 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Maggie Winters 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Magnolia 1999 (Movie)

Thurston Howell (Actor)

Providence 1999 (Tv Show)

Actor

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch 1999 (Tv Show)

Actor

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1992 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day 1997 (Movie)

Robinson (Actor)

Bio-Dome 1996 (Movie)

William Leaky (Actor)

Coach 1990 - 1991, 1994 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

Evening Shade 1990 - 1991, 1994 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

Mad About You 1994 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

Mother Night 1996 (Movie)

of Adolph Eichmann (Voice)

Santo Bugito 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Voice

Sisters 1987 - 1988, 1990 - 1996 (Tv Show)

Actor

Daisy-Head Mayzie 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Voice

Escape to Witch Mountain 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

The John Larroquette Show 1994 - 1995 (Tv Show)

Actor

Cutters 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In 25th Anniversary 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Santa Barbara 1983 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Tom & Jerry: The Movie 1993 (Movie)

of Applecheeks (Voice)

Brenda Starr 1992 (Movie)

Professor Gerhardt Von Kreutzer (Actor)

The Adventures of Don Coyote and Sancho Panda 1990 - 1992 (TV Show)

Voice

None But the Lonely Heart 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Gremlins 2: The New Batch 1990 (Movie)

Fired Employee (Actor)

Tune in Tomorrow... 1990 (Movie)

Big John Coot (Actor)

Night Visitor 1989 (Movie)

Dr Lawrence (Actor)

The 'Burbs 1989 (Movie)

Dr Werner Klopek (Actor)

The Magic Balloon 1989 (Movie)

(Actor)

Galaxy High School 1986 - 1988 (TV Show)

Voice

Home Again 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Switching Channels 1988 (Movie)

Ike Roscoe (Actor)

Innerspace 1987 (Movie)

Mr Wormwood (Actor)

Long Gone 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Monster in the Closet 1987 (Movie)

Dr Pennyworth (Actor)

The Wuzzles 1985 - 1987 (TV Show)

Voice

Slow Burn 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

The Blinkins 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Voice

The Biskitts 1983 - 1985 (TV Show)

Voice

High School, U.S.A. 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Actor

The Incredible Shrinking Woman 1981 (Movie)

Dr Eugene Nortz (Actor)

Health 1980 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Blues Brothers 1980 (Movie)

Head Nazi (Actor)

The Halloween That Almost Wasn't 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Actor

Dorothy Hamill's Corner of the Sky 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Actor

A Perfect Couple 1978 (Movie)

Fred Bott (Actor)

The Kentucky Fried Movie 1977 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

The Bureau 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Actor

The Last Remake of Beau Geste 1976 (Movie)

General Pecheur (Actor)

Nashville 1975 (Movie)

Haven Hamilton (Actor)

Charlotte's Web 1973 (Movie)

of Wilbur (Voice)

Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In 1967 - 1973 (TV Show)

Actor

The Karen Valentine Show 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Actor

The Long Goodbye 1973 (Movie)

Dr Verringer (Actor)

Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In 1967 - 1968 (TV Show)

Actor

F Troop 1965 - 1967 (TV Show)

Actor

The Outlaws Is Coming! 1965 (Movie)

Charlie Horse (Actor)

Kiss Me, Stupid 1964 (Movie)

Smith (Actor)

The Nutty Professor 1962 (Movie)

College Student (Actor)

Around the World in 80 Days (TV Show)

Actor

Asylum (TV Show)

Actor

Escape From Bogen County (TV Show)

Actor

Every Man Needs One (TV Show)

Actor

Evil Roy Slade (TV Show)

Actor

For the Love of It (TV Show)

Actor

Honeymoon Suite (TV Show)

Actor

Luck of the Irish (TV Show)

Actor

Nashville Grab (TV Show)

Actor

Return to Green Acres (TV Show)

Actor

Robbut: A Tale of Tails (TV Show)

Voice

Total Recall 2070 (TV Show)

Actor
Music (1)

Nashville 1975 (Movie)

("200 Years") (Lyrics)

Biography

With an act he had perfected in college, Henry Gibson made his fame in the Sixties playing a stand-up poet reciting ironically inane free verse that parodied the apoplectic poesy of the Beat Generation. Discovered by Jerry Lewis and anointed as Hollywood's go-to odd little man, Gibson parlayed outré guest appearances on such popular television sitcoms as "The Beverly Hillbillies," "F-Troop" and "Bewitched" into a steady gig on the ABC sketch comedy revue "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In." Finding favor with iconoclastic filmmaker Robert Altman, Gibson was cast as little men who exerted a big influence in "The Long Goodbye" (1973) and "Nashville" (1975), while he contributed larger-than-life cameos to John Landis' "The Blues Brothers" (1980) and Joe Dante's "The 'burbs" (1988), playing, respectively, an Illinois Nazi hauptsturmfuehrer and Tom Hanks' sinister next-door neighbor. An in-demand voice artist in later life, Gibson gave speech to characters on a number of animated series and in features, most notably as crusty Texas newsman Bob Jenkins on Fox's "King of the Hill." He impressed the critics with his appearance as an aging, gay barfly in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia" (1999) and enjoyed semi-regular status as an unorthodox judge on the ABC courtroom drama "Boston Legal" shortly before his death from cancer in September 2009. Though he never fully slipped his early association with comedy, Gibson proved time and again that he was more than just a one-hit-wonder, emerging from the shadow of his "Laugh-In" persona as a character actor of surprising gravity and grace.

Henry Gibson was born James Bateman in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, PA on Sept. 21, 1935. The son of Edmund Albert Bateman and his wife, the former Dorothy Cassidy, he was a child actor from the age of seven, making his debut with the Mae Desmond Theatre Company in 1943. At Philadelphia's St. Joseph's Preparatory School, he was president of the drama club. As a student at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., Bateman met a kindred soul in younger student Jon Voight. Bateman and Voight formed a comedy team focused on a pair of numbskulled hillbilly brothers named Harold and Henry Gibson, with the latter chosen as a comic play on dour Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. After obtaining a bachelor degree in dramatic arts in 1957, Bateman enlisted in the United States Air Force. Stationed in France, he rose to the rank of Intelligence Officer. During his time in Europe, he also audited classes at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

Returning stateside in 1960, Bateman reunited with Voight. The pair headed to New York City to try their routines in the cabarets of Greenwich Village. Voight eventually moved on to serious drama and feature films, earning fame as the star of John Schlesinger's "Midnight Cowboy" (1969). Retaining his old character moniker as a stage name, Gibson hit the stand-up comedy circuit, performing satirical poems straight-faced while holding an oversized flower. Spotted by comedian Jerry Lewis during an appearance on "Tonight Starring Jack Paar" (NBC, 1957-1962) in August 1961, he was offered a role in Lewis' "The Nutty Professor" (1963), in which he appeared as a college student named Gibson. That same year, Gibson made three appearances on "The Joey Bishop Show" (CBS, 1961-65) and contributed character parts to episodes of "77 Sunset Strip" (ABC, 1958-1964) and "The Beverly Hillbillies" (CBS, 1962-1971), appearing on the latter as rhinestone-suited cowboy star Quirt Manley. Gibson was buried down in the cast list of Billy Wilder's "Kiss Me, Stupid" (1964), starring Dean Martin and Kim Novak, but made more of an impression as a red Indian cum beatnik in the later Three Stooges vehicle "The Outlaws is Coming" (1965). Additional TV work followed, with Gibson put to good use as maladroit cavalry Private Wrongo Starr on "F-Troop" (ABC, 1965-67) and as Napoleon Bonaparte on "Bewitched" (ABC, 1964-1972). In 1967, he revived his fey Southern poet character for the pilot for "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In," later joining the regular cast of the vaudeville-style sketch comedy series, which ran on NBC between 1968 and 1973. Gibson appeared in 23 episodes of the series, holding the stage on his own for "A poem by Henry Gibson" and garnering a Golden Globe nomination before departing after the 1970-71 season for more ambitious projects.

Gibson played the unfortunately named Clifford Stool, no-account nephew of railroad tycoon Mickey Rooney and antagonist of John Astin's Wild West gunman "Evil Roy Slade," a 1972 NBC telefilm. The following year, the actor supplied the voice of Wilbur the pig in Paramount Pictures' animated adaptation of "Charlotte's Web" (1973), and played a sinister physician in "The Long Goodbye" (1973), Robert Altman's revisionist take on the 1953 Raymond Chandler mystery novel. Altman would call on Gibson again for his next film project, but in the interim, Gibson made rent paying appearances on the unsold pilot for "The Karen Valentine Show" (1973) and in episodes of "Love, American Style" (ABC, 1969-1974) and "Get Christie Love" (ABC, 1974-75). He contributed a macabre cameo to "The Kentucky Fried Movie" (1975), in a faux public service announcement for the United Appeal for the Dead. Gibson would be nominated for another Golden Globe for playing a vainglorious country star in Altman's "Nashville" (1975). An amalgam of Porter Waggoner, Roy Acuff and Hank Snow, Gibson's patriotic and vitriolic Haven Hamilton was emblematic of Altman's condemnation of petty tyrants. Gibson performed his own songs in the film and his spot on performance netted him a National Society of Film Critics Award. Though shut out at the 1976 Academy Awards, "Nashville" was a box office and critical success, albeit reviled by the American country music industry.

Gibson worked for Altman twice more, in "A Perfect Couple" (1979) and "Health" (1980), appearing in the latter in drag. The actor earned a new generation of fans as an Illinois Nazi who fatally tangles with "The Blues Brothers" (1980). Though limited to a few short scenes, Gibson's spectacular death, as a passenger in a Ford Pinto falling from more than a mile above downtown Chicago, was a highlight of the film. Gibson reunited with his "Nashville" co-star Lily Tomlin as a mad scientist who makes big trouble for "The Incredible Shrinking Woman" (1981). A social satire by way of a spoof of the sci-fi classic "The Incredible Shrinking Man" (1957), the project was initiated by "Blues Brothers" director John Landis, who quit over creative differences with Universal Pictures and was replaced by Joel Schumacher. In the Canadian comedy "Tulips" (1981), Gibson brought his deadpan comic timing to the role of hitman Maurice Avocado, who agrees to murder would-be suicide Gabe Kaplan but refuses to break the contract when Kaplan falls in love with depressive street singer Bernadette Peters. Gibson spent the duration of the decade in uninspired TV work while making the occasional feature film appearance, as with "Monster in the Closet" (1986), a comic horror film about the wages of repressed homosexuality.

For filmmaker Joe Dante, Gibson played the minor but amusing role of Mr. Wormwood, a supercilious supermarket manager in "Inner Space" (1987); in this aerobic spoof of "Fantastic Voyage" (1967), miniaturized astronaut Dennis Quaid is injected into the inner ear of grocery store clerk Martin Short, leading to slapstick comedy in the world of industrial espionage. In "Switching Channels" (1988), Ted Kotcheff's updating of the Howard Hawks classic "His Girl Friday" (1939), Gibson played a meek death row inmate whose impending execution provides the film with a B-plot backdrop for its main stage love/hate relationship between cable TV journalists Burt Reynolds and Kathleen Turner. Joe Dante called Gibson back to play a small town cannibal in his cul-de-sac comedy "The 'burbs" (1988), opposite Tom Hanks. Gibson also contributed a cameo to Dante's "Gremlins 2: The New Batch" (1990).

As a voiceover artist, Gibson gave voice to assorted characters on such animated TV series as "Galaxy High School" (CBS, 1986), Hanna-Barbera's "Fish Police" (CBS, 1992) and the Nickelodeon Network's "Rugrats" (1991-2004). He also contributed to the films "Tom and Jerry: The Movie" (1992), "The Bears Who Saved Christmas" (1994), and "Daisy-Head Mayzie" (1995), for which he provided the voice of Dr. Seuss' incorrigible feline, The Cat in the Hat. Gibson was the voice of Nazi obersturmbannfuehrer Adolf Eichmann in "Mother Night" (1996), Keith Gordon's adaptation of the wartime novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. He played another overreaching scientist in "Bio-Dome" (1996), becoming in the process the unwitting comic foil of slacker funnyman Pauly Shore. The actor was all but unrecognizable under heavy makeup as Nilva, chairman of the Slug-o-Cola soft drink company, in a comic 1998 episode of the sci-fi weekly "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" (CBS, 1993-99).

In 1999, Thomas Paul Anderson cast Gibson in a poignant cameo in "Magnolia," a multi-character drama set in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley and inspired by the ensemble films of Robert Altman. Gibson kept busy in the years to follow, turning up in bits as a funeral director in "Never Die Alone" (2004), written by his son James Gibson, and as a cleric in "The Wedding Crashers" (2005) starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughan. He provided the voice of one-eyed Texas newsman Bob Jenkins for several episodes of the animated comedy "King of the Hill" (Fox Network, 1997-2010) and appeared semi-regularly as a judge on the offbeat courtroom drama "Boston Legal" (ABC, 2004-08). Predeceased in 2007 of his wife of 40 years, Henry Gibson succumbed to cancer on Sept. 14, 2009, a week short of his 74th birthday.

By Richard Harland Smith

Relationships

Edmund A Bateman

Father

Dorothy Bateman

Mother

Charles Alexander Bateman

Son

James Bateman

Son

Jonathan David Bateman

Son

Losi Geiger

Wife
Married in April 1966 died in 2007

Matt Malloy Actor

Nephew

EDUCATION

Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

London , England 1960

Saint Joseph's Preparatory School

Philadelphia , Pennsylvania
President of the Drama Club

The Catholic University of America

Washington , Washington D.C. 1957

Milestones

2005

Had a memorable role as a priest in "The Wedding Crashers"

2005

Voiced reporter Bob Jenkins on the FOX animated series, "King of the Hill"

2004

Played the recurring role of Judge Clark Brown on ABC's "Boston Legal"

1999

Played a wealthy bar patron in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia"

1997

Co-starred in the horror film "Asylum" on HBO

1997

Had a recurring role on ABC's "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" as the Witch Judge

1993

Appeared in two episodes of the NBC drama series, "Sisters"

1991

Appeared in "The Losers," a Dante-directed episode of "Eerie, Indiana" (NBC)

1989

Played a menacing neighbor in Joe Dante's "The 'Burbs"

1987

Co-starred in Joe Dante's "Innerspace," starring Dennis Quaid, Martin Short and Meg Ryan

1986

Provided the voice of Aimee's Locker in the sci-fi comedy cartoon, "Galaxy High School"

1983

Voiced Downer on the animated cartoon series, "The Biskitts" (CBS)

1981

Appeared in "The Incredible Shrinking Woman," starring Lily Tomlin and directed by Joel Schumacher

1980

Played the Head Nazi in John Landis' musical comedy, "The Blues Brothers"

1980

Co-starred in Altman's "HealtH" with Carol Burnett, James Garner and Lauren Bacall

1979

Re-teamed with Altman for "A Perfect Couple"

1977

Played himself in a segment for the fictitious United Appeal For the Dead in John Landis' "The Kentucky Fried Movie"

1975

Had a pivotal role in Altman's "Nashville"; also feature debut as songwriter and song performer

1973

Played a major supporting role in Robert Altman's "The Long Goodbye"; first collaboration with Altman

1972

Voiced Wilbur the pig in the animated feature, "Charlotte's Web"

1968

Made recurring appearances in the ABC anthology series, "Love, American Style"

1968

Cast as a regular for the first four seasons of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" (NBC)

1965

Played Wrongo Starr, a recurring character, on the ABC sitcom, "F Troop"

1965

Co-starred in "The Outlaws IS Coming!" the sixth and last film to star the Three Stooges

1963

Made feature film debut playing a college student in Jerry Lewis' comedy "The Nutty Professor"

1963

Made Broadway debut alongside Walter Matthau and Ruth Gordon in Lillian Hellman's "My Mother, My Father, and Me"

1941

Made professional stage debut at age seven

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