A sturdily built performer with a large square head and a rustic voice, Pat Hingle has been a solid character player on stage, screen and TV for over four decades. He began acting as a student at the University of Texas and made the move to NYC in the late 1940s. There, Hingle studied at the American Theater Wing and became a protege of director Elia Kazan at the Actor's Studio. He was soon working regularly on the NY stage, where he would appear in four Pulitzer Prize-winning plays ("Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" 1955, "J.B." 1958, "Strange Interlude" 1963 and "That Championship Season" 1973). Hingle performed initially on TV in an adaptation of "Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" (1950) for CBS' "Suspense", and his feature acting debut came in a small part as a bartender in Kazan's "On the Waterfront" (1954). He shone in a breakthrough supporting role in Kazan's "Splendor in the Grass" (1961), as the brusque father of Warren Beatty, but the greatest part of his career would have been the one that got away. Offered the title role in "Elmer Gantry" (1960), Hingle nearly died from a fall down an elevator shaft, preventing him from playing the role that would win Burt Lancaster a Best Actor Oscar.
Hingle spent much of his film and TV career playing ambiguous fathers, sympathetic community leaders, veteran cops, crafty judges and other law enforcement personnel. Younger audiences may know him best as Police Commissioner Gordon in the feature "Batman" series, but some may recognize him as the conflicted police chief father of a catatonic rapist in Clint Eastwood's "Sudden Impact" (1983) or as mob boss Bobo Justice, who comes west to teach a painful lesson to Anjelica Huston about skimming mob money at the track, in "The Grifters" (1990). Equally comfortable in the Old West, he unjustly sentenced Eastwood to death in Ted Post's "Hang 'Em High" (1968), strode the prairie in such oaters as "Nevada Smith" (1966) and "Invitation to a Gunfighter" (1964) and even lent some iconic authority to his small role as a bartender in Sam Raimi's "The Quick and the Dead" (1995). In addition to his feature work, Hingle worked frequently on TV and in regional theater during the 90s, most notably as Big Daddy in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", before returning to Broadway as Benjamin Franklin in the revival of "1776" (1997).