September 21, 1935
Germantown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||September 14, 2009 (aged 73)|
Malibu, California, U.S.
|Other names||Olsen Gibson|
|Education||Saint Joseph's Preparatory School|
|Alma mater||Catholic University of America|
|Occupation||Actor, singer, songwriter|
|Television||Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1967–1973)|
Lois Joan Geiger
(m. 1966; died 2007)
|Children||3, including Charles Alexander Gibson|
His best-known roles include his time as a cast member of the TV sketch-comedy series Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In from 1968 to 1971, his portrayal of country star Haven Hamilton in Robert Altman's 1975 film Nashville, as the Illinois Nazi leader in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers, and in his performance opposite Tom Hanks in 1989's The 'Burbs.
Gibson was born September 21, 1935 in Germantown, Philadelphia, the sixth of seven children of Edmund Alberts Bateman and his wife Dorothy (née Cassidy). He attended Saint Joseph's Preparatory School, where he was president of the drama club.
After graduating from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., he served as an intelligence officer in the United States Air Force with the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing in France from 1957 to 1960. Early in his career as a professional entertainer, he developed a comedy act in which he played a poet from Fairhope, Alabama. He adopted the stage name Henry Gibson, which is a same-sounding phrase for the name of famed Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen. He also is known to have used the name Olsen Gibson.
Gibson's performing career began at the age of seven. He appeared in many stage and theater productions. Gibson made many appearances on Tonight Starring Jack Paar between 1957 and 1962, often reciting his poetry. In 1962, his appearance coincided with guest-host Jerry Lewis. Lewis, charmed by Gibson's demeanor, subsequently cast him in The Nutty Professor (1963). Gibson's career took off following this film appearance. That was followed in 1964 by his poetry-reciting cowboy character Quirt Manly on the popular show The Beverly Hillbillies. Around this time, Gibson appeared in an episode of My Favorite Martian.
Gibson spent three years as part of the Laugh-In television show's cast, where he was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1971. He often played "The Poet", reciting poems with "sharp satirical or political themes". Gibson would emerge from behind a stage flat, wearing a Nehru jacket and "hippie" beads and holding an outlandishly large artificial flower. He would bow stiffly from the waist, state "[Title of poem] — by Henry Gibson" in an ironic Southern U.S. accent, again bow stiffly from the waist, recite his poem and return behind the flat. Gibson's routine was so memorable that John Wayne actually performed it once in his own inimitable style: "The Sky — by John Wayne. The Sky is blue/The Grass is green/Get off your butt/And join the Marine(s)!", whereupon Wayne left the scene by smashing through the flat. Gibson also regularly appeared in the "Cocktail Party" segments as a Catholic priest, sipping tea. He would put the cup on the saucer, recite his one-liner in a grave and somber tone, then go back to sipping tea. In 1962, Gibson had issued a comedy album on Liberty records, titled Alligator. The album was rereleased in 1968, now titled ...by Henry Gibson, following his success on Laugh-In. The liner notes perpetuated the origin story of his being a country boy from Fairhope, Alabama. The album did not reach the Billboard Top 200 in either release. In 1968, Gibson appeared on the television show Bewitched as Napoleon Bonaparte. He appeared on Bewitched in 1970 as Tim O’Shanter, a leprechaun. Around this time, Gibson also made recurring appearances in the 1969–1974 anthology Love, American Style.
During the 1960s, Gibson had appeared on The Dick Van Dyke Show reading the poem "Keep a-Goin'", which he later turned into a song in the Robert Altman movie Nashville (1975). Notably, he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of Haven Hamilton in the film and won the National Society of Film Critics award for the role. The Nashville Tennessean called Gibson "the male superstar most surely to be in line for an Academy Award" and hailed his performance as being "so real to Music Row habitués as to be frightening." Gibson appeared in three other films directed by Altman: The Long Goodbye (starring Elliott Gould), A Perfect Couple, and Health.
In 1978, he appeared in The New Adventures Of Wonder Woman as the arch-villain Mariposa. Two years later, he appeared on The Dukes of Hazzard as Will Jason (Squirt) in the second-season episode "Find Loretta Lynn". The same year, he played the leader of the "Illinois Nazis" in the John Landis film The Blues Brothers; this became one of his better-known film roles. The next year, he appeared in The Incredible Shrinking Woman.
In the 1989 Joe Dante comedy The 'Burbs, starring Tom Hanks, Gibson played the villain. He reunited with director Dante a year later when Gremlins 2: The New Batch was released in 1990, performing a cameo as the office worker who is caught taking a smoking break on camera and fired by the sadistic boss. 1996 saw him playing an unusual dramatic role as former train conductor Robinson in the independent film Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day with Michael Stipe. That year, he was also the voice of Adolf Eichmann in Keith Gordon's film adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's novel Mother Night. During 1999, Gibson made an appearance in Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia as an eccentric barfly who antagonizes former child prodigy Donnie Smith, played by William H. Macy.
Gibson also worked frequently as a voice actor in animation, most notably portraying Wilbur the pig in the popular Hanna-Barbera children's movie Charlotte's Web (1973). He later worked for the company again on the cartoon The Biskitts. Additionally, Gibson's voice work was featured on The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy as Lord Pain, King of the Hill as reporter Bob Jenkins, and Rocket Power as grouchy neighbor Merv Stimpleton.
Later television work included a guest role on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine playing the Ferengi Nilva in the 1998 episode "Profit and Lace". Gibson also had a leading role in a season 5 episode of Stargate SG-1 entitled "The Sentinel" as the character Marul. His last major roles were in the 2005 film Wedding Crashers as Father O'Neil, and on the television show Boston Legal as supporting character Judge Clark Brown.
On April 6, 1966, Gibson married Lois Joan Geiger. They had three sons together – Jonathan David Gibson, an executive at Universal Pictures, Charles Alexander Gibson, a director and visual effects supervisor, and James Gibson, a screenwriter. His wife died on May 6, 2007 at age 77.
Gibson died of cancer on September 14, 2009 at his home in Malibu, California, a week before his 74th birthday. He was cremated at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery and his ashes given to his family.
|1963||The Nutty Professor||College Student||Film debut|
|1964||Kiss Me, Stupid||Smith|
|1965||The Outlaws Is Coming||Charlie Horse|
|1968||Chitty Chitty Bang Bang||Dancer||Uncredited|
|1973||The Long Goodbye||Dr. Verringer|
|1977||The Last Remake of Beau Geste||General Pecheur|
|1977||The Kentucky Fried Movie||United Appeal For The Dead Sketch|
|1979||A Perfect Couple||Fred Bott|
|1980||The Blues Brothers||Head Nazi|
|1981||The Incredible Shrinking Woman||Dr. Eugene Nortz|
|1983||National Lampoon's Vacation||Hotel Clerk||Uncredited|
|1986||Monster in the Closet||Dr. Pennyworth|
|1988||Switching Channels||Ike Roscoe|
|1989||The 'Burbs||Dr. Werner Klopek|
|1989||Brenda Starr||Prof. Gerhardt Von Kreutzer|
|1990||Gremlins 2: The New Batch||Employee Fired For Smoking|
|1990||Tune in Tomorrow...||Big John Coot|
|1992||Tom and Jerry: The Movie||Dr. Applecheek||Voice|
|1995||Cyber Bandits||Dr. Knutsen|
|1996||Color of a Brisk and Leaping Day||Robinson|
|1996||Mother Night||Adolf Eichmann||Voice|
|1997||Asylum||Dr. Edward Bellichek|
|1999||A Stranger in the Kingdom||Zack Burrows|
|2001||The Luck of the Irish||Reilly O'Reilly||TV Movie|
|2002||The Year That Trembled||Ralph Tyler|
|2002||Teddy Bears' Picnic||Clifford Sloane|
|2003||The Commissioner||Police Chief Jesse Curry|
|2004||Never Die Alone||Funeral Home Director||Uncredited|
|2005||Wedding Crashers||Father O'Neil|
|2007||Big Stan||Shorts||Final film|
|1963||77 Sunset Strip||Eddie||Episode: The Toy Jungle|
|1964||Beverly Hillbillies||Mr. Quirt Manly/Henry||Episode: An Man for Elly|
|1964||The Littlest Hobo||Ansel||Episode: The Great Manhunt|
|1964||Grindl||Private Stoner||Episode: Grindl, Girl Wac|
|1963–64||The Joey Bishop Show||Henry Schultz||4 episodes|
|1964||My Favorite Martian||Homer P. Gibson||Episode: Danger! High Voltage|
|1965||Laredo||Ranger Freddy Gruber||Episode: The Pride of the Rangers|
|1965||Mister Roberts||Insignia||3 episodes|
|1966||The Dick van Dyke Show||Doug Bedlork||Episode: Talk to the Snail|
|1966||F Troop||Pvt. Wrongo Starr||2 episodes|
|1967||Hey Landlord||Leroy||Episode: Aunt Harriet Wants You|
|1968–71||Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In||Guest Performer||84 episodes|
|1972||Evil Roy Slade||Clifford Stool||Television Movie|
|1972||Every Man Needs One||Walt||Television Movie|
|1972||Honeymoon Suite||Performer||Episode: First Pilot|
|1973||The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie||Mr. Grundy (voice)||Episode: The Mini-Munsters|
|1969–73||Love, American Style||Performer||5 episodes|
|1975||Violence in Blue||Performer||Television Movie|
|1975||Get Christie Love!||Garber||Episode: Murder on the High C|
|1975||McCloud||Cookie Watkins||Episode: Showdown at Times Square|
|1975||Barbary Coast||Dasher||Episode: Sharks Eat Sharks|
|1975||Police Woman||Otto Otterman||Episode: Don't Feed the Pigeons|
|1976||The Bureau||Chief Peter Davlin||Television Movie|
|1977||Escape from Bogen County||Abe Rand||Television Movie|
|1977||The Night They Took Miss Beautiful||Rolly Royce||Television Movie|
|1977||Halloween is Grinch Night||Max (singing voice)||Television Short|
|1975–78||Wonder Woman||Performer||2 episodes|
|1978||Fantasy Island||Fred Wade||Episode: Bet a Million|
|1979||The Halloween That Almost Wasn't||Igor||Television Short|
|1979||Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill||Milt Cavanaugh||Television Movie|
|1980||The Dukes of Hazzard||Squirt||Episode: Find Loretta Lynn|
|1980||For the Love of It||George||Television Movie|
|1980||The Littlest Hobo||Jeff Farley||Episode: Ghost Rig|
|1981||The Nashville Gab||Art Schmeckle||Television Movie|
|1982||Magnum, P.I.||Ronald Mills||Episode: Mixed Doubles|
|1982||Trapper John, M.D.||Dr. Brownwell||Episode: Candy Doctor|
|1982||Simon & Simon||Herbert T. Dowd||Episode: Fowl Play|
|1983||Small & Frye||Dr. Calder||Episode: Endangered Detectives|
|1983||Quincy, M.E.||Max||Episode: Murder on Ice|
|1983||The Biskitts||Downer (voice)||13 episodes|
|1984||The Smurfs||Additional voices||2 episodes|
|1984||High School U.S.A.||Vice Principal||Television Movie|
|1984||Cover Up||Milton||Episode: The Million Dollar Face|
|1981–84||The Fall Guy||Various||2 episodes|
|1984||The New Mike Hammer||Simon Rondale||Episode: The Deadly Prey|
|1985||The Pound Puppies||Nabbit (voice)||Television Short|
|1985||CBS Storybreak||voice||Episode: A Tale of Tales|
|1985||The Wuzzles||Eleroo (voice)||13 episodes|
|1986||The Twilight Zone||Mayor||Episode: Welcome to Winfield|
|1986||Knight Rider||Donald Crane||Episode: Voo Doo Knight|
|1986||Slow Burn||Robert||Television film|
|1986||Galaxy High School||Doyle & Aimee's Locker (voice)||13 episodes|
|1987||Long Gone||Hale Buchman||Television movie|
|1989||Around the World in 80 Days||Train Conductor||Miniseries|
|1990||Return to Green Acres||E. Mitchell Armstrong||Television Movie|
|1990||Timeless Tales from Hallmark||Sir Buffon||Episode: The Emperor's New Clothes|
|1990||Newhart||Tad Burrows||Episode: Father Goose|
|1988–92||Murder, She Wrote||Various||2 episodes|
|1991||Eerie Indiana||Mr. Lodgepoole||Episode: The Loosers|
|1991||Evening Shade||Bud||Episode: Chip off the old Brick|
|1991||What a Dummy||Performer||Episode: Tucker's on the Air|
|1992||Fish Police||voice||Episode: The Codfather|
|1992||Tales from the Crypt||Stanhope||Episode: None But the Lonely Heart|
|1993||Sisters||Cyrus Calhoun||2 episodes|
|1993||Rugrats||Hairdresser/Counselor (voice)||Episode: Chuckie's First Haircut|
|1995||Santo Bugito||Mothmeyer||Episode: My Name is Revenge|
|1995||Daisy-Head Mayzie||Cat in the Hat (voice)||Television Short|
|1995||Escape to Witch Mountain||Ravetch||Television movie|
|1995||The John Larroquette Show||Priest||Episode: Several Unusual Love Stories|
|1995||Coach||Ted Tilly||Episode: Turtle World|
|1996||Mad About You||Henry Gibson||Episode: Dream Weaver|
|1996||Duckman||(voice)||Episode: A Room with a Bellevue|
|1997||Adventures from the Book of Virtues||Dick's Please (voice)||Episode: Respect|
|1995–97||AAAHH!!! Real Monsters||Mayor/Husband/Maurice (voice)||4 episodes|
|1997–99||Sabrina the Teenage Witch||Witch Judge / Judge Samuels||4 episodes|
|1998||Star Trek: Deep Space Nine||Nilva||Episode: Profit and Lace|
|1998||Maggie Winters||Hotel Clerk||Episode: Angstgiving Day|
|1999||Providence||Mr. Berry||Episode: You Bet Your Life|
|1999||Sunset Beach||Wayne Landry||Episode: #1.667|
|1999||The Wild Thornberrys||Rhino (voice)||Episode: Born to Be Wild|
|1999||Total Recall 2070||Belasarius||Episode: Bones Beneath My Skin|
|1999||Hey Arnold!||Patty's Father (voice)||2 episodes|
|1999||The Amanda Show||Helicopter Pilot||Episode: #1.1|
|2000||Early Edition||Mr. Quigley||Episode: Luck o' the Irish|
|2001||The Luck of the Irish||Reilly O'Reilly||Television Movie|
|2002||Stargate SG-1||Marul||Episode: The Sentinel|
|2002||She Spies||Dr. Meelbow||Episode: The Martini Shot|
|2002||Charmed||Sandman||Episode: Sand Francisco Dreamin'|
|2002||Rocket Power: Race Across New Zealand||Merv Stimpleton (voice)||Television movie|
|1999–2004||Rocket Power||Merv Stimpleton/Young Merv/Reporter #1/Townsperson #3 (voice)||23 episodes|
|2003||The Guardian||Phil Hostetler||Episode: Big Coal|
|2003||Becker||Deputy Secretary||Episode: Chock Full O'Nuts|
|2004||Stripperella||Mr. Scrundle (voice)||Episode: Eruption, Junction|
|2004||Cracking Up||Dr. Bollas||Episode: Pilot|
|2004||Malcolm in the Middle||Frank Ralston||Episode: Kitty's Back|
|2005||The Batman||Bagely (voice)||Episode: Topsy Turvy|
|2004–07||The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy||Lord Pain (voice)||3 episodes|
|2004–08||Boston Legal||Judge Clark Brown||24 episodes|
|2005–08||King of the Hill||Bob Jenkins/Travis/Jenkins (voice)||7 episodes|
|2006||Eloise: The Animated Series||Mr. Noblesse (voice)||Episode: Eloise Goes to School Part 1|
|2007||All Grown Up!||Dr. Schleprizzi (voice)||Episode: Trading Places|
Awards and Nominations
|1970||Golden Globe Awards||Best Supporting Actor - Television||Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In||Nominated|||
|1975||Best Supporting Actor - Film||Nashville||Nominated|
|1975||Grammy Awards||Best Score Soundtrack||Nominated|
|1975||National Society of Film Critics||Best Supporting Actor||Won|
|1975||New York Film Critics Circle||Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
- Barnes, Mike (2009-09-17). "'Laugh-In' ignited a rich comic career". The Hollywood Reporter. pp. 6, 15. Retrieved 2009-09-16.
- [https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JGGT-JZQ United States Social Security Death Index database, FamilySearch.org; accessed 17 February 2016, Henry Gibson, 14 Sep 2009; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing)
- McLellan, Dennis (2009-09-17). "Actor was original cast member of 'Laugh-In'". Los Angeles Times. p. A24. Archived from the original on 2009-09-23. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
- "Henry Gibson biography". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
- ""Gibson, Henry 1935–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. 2007". Encyclopedia.com. The Gale Group, Inc. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
- Laugh-In Star Henry Gibson Moves into His Personal Prime Time with Nashville, People; accessed 15 July 2017.
- Obituary: Lois Gibson Malibu Times May 9, 2007
- "Henry Gibson". IMDb. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
- "Henry Gibson". IMDb. Retrieved May 1, 2020.