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Friday, September 18, 2009

Actor Henry Gibson Dies

Henry Gibson had died at the age of 73. LA Times:

    Henry Gibson, a veteran character actor who came to fame in the late 1960s as the flower-holding poet on TV's landmark satirical comedy show "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In," has died. He was 73.

    Gibson died late Monday night at his home in Malibu after a short battle with cancer, said his son Jon.

    Gibson, who more recently played a recurring role as cantankerous Judge Clark Brown on "Boston Legal," was part of the original ensemble cast of “Laugh In,” which ran on NBC from 1968 to 1973.

    The hourlong show, whose original cast included Ruth Buzzi, Judy Carne, Goldie Hawn, Arte Johnson, Jo Anne Worley and others, was an immediate hit.

    "Henry was an integral part of 'Laugh-In' for a long time, and he was brilliant," said Gary Owens, the show's announcer, who remained close to Gibson over the years. "He was a very funny man."

    Worley said Gibson "was probably the kindest person on 'Laugh-In' " and was the person she'd call whenever she needed show-business advice.


    George Schlatter, executive producer and creator of "Laugh-In," recalled that when Gibson auditioned for the show, "He came in and did a poem and a full back flip. He said, 'Is that anything?' I said, 'Be here Monday.' "

    Gibson "brought a wonderful warmth and whimsy and a charm to 'Laugh-In.' That went a long way to balance some of the political, satirical and bawdy humor we featured," Schlatter said.

    "Henry was a sweet, gentle man. Any piece we gave to Henry took on a different shape when he read it because he infused his own whimsy and his own gentle intelligence and wit to it."

    In the show's famous cocktail party scenes, when the music would stop and each cast member would deliver a funny line, Gibson was a religious figure holding a teacup and saucer.

    "My congregation supports all denominations," he said on one show, "but our favorites are twenties and fifties."

I thought the world of Henry Gibson.

Entertainment Weekly states Gibson's talent beautifully:

    It is an indication of Gibson’s talents that another of his Hollywood patrons was the very un-Dante-esque Robert Altman. The late great auteur cast him in a number of films, such as Nashville and A Perfect Couple. But, to me, Gibson will always be Dr Verringer in Robert Altman’s peerless 1973 noir classic, The Long Goodbye. The movie is stuffed with terrific performances from the likes of Mark Rydell, Sterling Hayden, and, of course, Elliott Gould as laconic, private eye-out-of-time Philip Marlowe. Gibson more than holds his own as the reptilian doc who may or may not be holding Hayden’s alcoholic writer against his will at his sanatorium. If you have seen The Long Goodbye, then you’ll know what I’m talking about. And if you haven’t? Then you are in for a treat.

Henry Gibson's talent was in his ability to underplay a role so well, so nuanced, so - in many times and roles - minimalistic, you had to focus only on him in the scene to fully appreciate what a marvelous actor he truly was. I'm a huge fan of the late director Robert Altman's films, and some of Gibson's finest performances are in those films.

Check out his filmography. He never stopped working...he worked constantly. I have so much respect for that. He was also a frequent voice on the animated sit-com "King of The Hill," see the filmography.

Henry Gibson. One of the best. I hate redundancy, but I thought the world of him.

Rest in Peace.

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It's sad to see the passing of the old-school talented actors who really spent their time acting instead of running around like the current crop of hand wringing Hollywood bed wetters jerking off whales and polar bears. That goes for Patrick Swayze too who was always a class act just like Henry Gibson.
I agree Molson. Gibson's acting was his magnificent ability at underplaying.

I can't remember the name of the movie, or maybe it was a made-forTV movie years ago - but I know it's not "The Long Goodbye," - Gibson played this evil character, a psychopath. Any actor could have taken it over-the-top and hammed it up and done a lousy job. Gibson's interpretation was so low-key, so soft-spoken, but he exuded evil lurking under the skin of the character. That's when I realized what acting chops he had. I wish I could remember the movie. He pulled off "pure evil" second to no one, including Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter.
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