Pat Hingle, a veteran character actor best known for his role as Commissioner Gordon in four Batman films, has died after battling blood cancer. He was 84.
Hingle, who was diagnosed with myelodysplasia, a blood disease similar to leukemia, in November 2006, died just after 10 p.m. Saturday in his North Carolina home, according to The Associated Press.
Born Martin Patterson Hingle, the actor's career spanned six decades, including work in theater, television and film. He earned his big break when Elia Kazan, who cast him in an uncredited role in On the Waterfront selected Hingle to play "Gooper" in the original Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. Hingle was admitted into the prestigious Actors Studio in New York in 1952 and nominated for a Tony Award in 1958 for his work in The Dark at the Top of the Stairs.
Though he never became a huge film star, Hingle worked alongside many of Hollywood's finest, including Clint Eastwood (Hang 'Em High), Sally Field (Norma Rae), Warren Beatty (Splendor in the Grass) and Marlon Brando (Waterfront). Most recently he was seen in his recurring Batman roles and in 2006's Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.
Hingle suffered a serious accident in 1960 when he fell 54 feet down an elevator shaft, and fractured his skull, wrist, hip and leg, and several ribs. He also lost his little finger on his left hand. The accident forced Hingle to pass up the lead in Elmer Gantry, but the actor said years later he didn't mind.
"I know that if I had done Elmer Gantry, I would have been more of a movie name," Hingle told the New York Times in 1997. "But I'm sure I would not have done as many plays as I've done. I've had exactly the kind of career I hoped for."