US character actor Henry Gibson, best known for his role in Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In from 1968 to 1973, has died. He was 73.
Gibson died at his home in Malibu after a short battle with cancer, said his son Jon.
Gibson was an original cast member of Laugh-In alongside Ruth Buzzi, Judy Carne, Goldie Hawn, Arte Johnson and Jo Anne Worley. More recently he played the cantankerous Judge Clark Brown on Boston Legal.
George Schlatter, executive producer and creator of Laugh-In, said 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.
But Gibson was best known as the poet, holding a large flower and beginning his brief recitations with his signature catchphrase, “A poem, by Henry Gibson.”
He wrote all them himself.
As an actor, Gibson went on to appear in four films directed by Robert Altman, most notably “Nashville” (1975), for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actor.
Gibson also played an Illinois Nazi in “The Blues Brothers,” a menacing neighbor in “The ‘Burbs” and a priest in “The Wedding Crashers.” He also was the voice of Wilbur the Pig in the animated “Charlotte’s Web.” He made his feature film debut playing a college student in Jerry Lewis’ 1963 comedy “The Nutty Professor.”
He also made guest appearances on 1960s TV shows such as The Beverly Hillbillies, Bewitched, The Dick Van Dyke Show, F-Troop and My Favorite Martian.
Source: Los Angeles Times