Birthday: September 21, 1935 Birth
Place: Germantown, Pennsylvania, USA Height: 5' 3"
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American comic actor Henry Gibson acted professionally since childhood, but didn't gain prominence until his discovery by Jerry Lewis for a role in The Nutty Professor (1963). Gibson quickly developed a comedy act for TV variety shows, in which he passed himself off as a fey, Southern-accented "blank verse" poet. So convincing was this persona that many viewers believed Gibson was a genuine Southerner, though he actually hailed from Pennsylvania. He played a cruder variation of his yokel character as a patron of the "Belly Button" bar in Billy Wilder's Kiss Me Stupid (1964), and was hilarious as a hip-talking Indian in the Three Stooges' feature film The Outlaws is Coming (1965). Gibson might have continued in small roles indefinitely had he not been catapulted to stardom in 1968 as part of the ensemble on TV's Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, where his introductory "A poem...by Henry Gibson" became a national catchphrase. Gibson stayed with Laugh-In until 1971, whereupon he launched a reasonably successful career as a straight character actor. One of his best film roles of the '70s was Haven Hamilton, a hard-driving, flag-waving country-western star in Nashville (1975). Gibson not only delivered an expert performance but also co-wrote the songs sung by Haven Hamilton, including the deliberately banal Bicentennial ballad, "200 Years", which opens the film. Henry Gibson continued throughout the next two decades playing strong movie character parts (the neo-Nazi commander in 1980's The Blues Brothers) and bright little cameos (the closet-smoking security guard in 1990's Gremlins 2). Gibson was also ubiquitously available as a guest star on such cable-TV reruns as Bewitched (he played a leprechaun) and F Troop (he was jinxed Private Wrongo Starr).
Attended Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, DC.
Father of Charles Gibson.
On the "Wonder Woman" (1976) season one commentary, executive producer Douglas S. Cramer called him a 60s and 70s comic genius.
Before appearing on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" (1968), he developed a nightclub act to perform his poems. It was during this time that he developed the character of a southern poet.
So convincing was his southern poet character that Gibson once received a letter from the Governor of Alabama claiming he was "...one of the most exciting talents to come out of Alabama since Tallulah Bankhead".
Attended the Catholic University of America with actor Jon Voight during the 1950s. Along with Voight, he developed a comedy routine and came up with the stage name Henry Gibson. Voight used the name Harold Gibson and together they played two southern hillbillies. After this, Voight took up more serious acting whilst Henry Gibson carried on with his comedy routine, eventually landing his famous role on "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" (1968), playing a southern poet.
Henry Gibson is actually a stage name - he was born James Bateman. He named himself after Norwegian poet Henrik Ibsen because "...if you say his name with a Southern accent it sounds like Henry Gibson"
The only male cast member of "Nashville" to receive a Golden Globe nomination.
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