Henry Gibson, the quintessential character actor who played Nazis, priests, drunks and nosy neighbors during a 45-year career that included a stint as an original cast member on 'Laugh-In,' died Monday at his home in Malibu. His son, James, said Gibson died after a brief battle with cancer. He was 73.
Beginning with a role in 'The Nutty Professor' in 1963, Gibson worked steadily until just last year. His big break arrived in 1968 when he began a 3-year stint on 'Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In,' where each week he would hold a flower and read a poem.
The rest of the 1960s and 1970s were spent working on acclaimed TV shows, including 'Love, American Style,' and more meaty film projects like Robert Altman's 1975 country music opus, 'Nashville,' for which Gibson earned a Golden Globes nomination.
In 1980, he played an Illinois Nazi going after a pair of soul-singing louts in 'The Blues Brothers' and later in the decade played the villainous neighbor in Tom Hanks' hit 'The Burbs.'
Other memorable films include a 'Gremlins' sequel, Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Magnolia,' and most recently a turn as a clergyman who gets an earful from Vince Vaughn in 'Wedding Crashers.'
Until last year, he carried on a recurring role on 'Boston Legal.'
Born James Bateman in Germantown, Pa., Gibson began acting professionally at age 8. He is survived by his wife and three sons.
Henry Gibson, Sept. 14: The actor known for roles in 'Blues Brothers,' 'The Burbs' and 'Laugh-In' died at his home in Malibu after battling cancer. He was 73.
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