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.