Thursday, September 17, 2009

Henry Gibson, R.I.P.: You Learn Something New Every Day (Almost)!

This post originally appeared on my now-deleted blog, You Learn Something New Every Day (Almost)!

I first became aware of actor/comedian Henry Gibson (who regrettably just passed away) prior to his "big break" as part of the ensemble cast of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. Gibson had played a character called "Wrongo Starr" on the comedy Western, F-Troop.

Although having heard that he'd passed away at least twice since Laugh-In went off the air, I was always glad whenever I spotted him in a new role... like in The Wedding Crashers, or Boston Legal.

The first time I ever heard of Norwegian poet and playwright Henrik Ibsen was in high school. And when the name was spoken, I did a double-take and replied, "Henry Gibson?"

Well, it turns out that I wasn't the first to see -- well, hear -- that similarity. Years earlier, a guy named James Bateman realized that "if you say [Ibsen's] name with a Southern accent it sounds like Henry Gibson," and chose Henry Gibson for his stage name.

However, having read another quote, years earlier, in an anecdote wherein Gibson told comedy legend Pigmeat Markham that "Henry Gibson" was his real name... I did not know that, nor even suspect it... until today!

Rest in Peace, Mr. G.

Thanks for your time.


  1. I did a post about this same topic a few months back. I had a class on 19th century playwrights, and our professor railed about a student who wrote an essay mistaking Mr. Ibsen for the poet on Laugh In.

  2. Hm. Wonder if that misguided student was a Southerner.


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