Martin Patterson Hingle (July 19, 1924 – January 3, 2009) was an American character actor, who appeared in hundreds of television shows and feature films. His first film was On the Waterfront in 1954. He often played tough authority figures. Hingle was a close friend of Clint Eastwood and appeared in the Eastwood films Hang 'em High, The Gauntlet, and Sudden Impact. He also portrayed Jim Gordon in the Batman film franchise from 1989 to 1997.
Hingle was born in Miami, Florida (some sources say Denver, Colorado), the son of Marvin Louise (née Patterson), a schoolteacher and musician, and Clarence Martin Hingle, a building contractor. He attended Weslaco High School, where he played the tuba in the band. Hingle enlisted in the United States Navy in December 1941, dropping out of the University of Texas. He served on the destroyer USS Marshall during World War II. He returned to the University of Texas after the war and earned a degree in radio broadcasting in 1949. As a Navy Reservist, he was recalled to the service during the Korean War and served on the escort destroyer USS Damato.
Hingle began acting in college, and after graduating, he moved to New York and studied at HB Studio and the American Theatre Wing. In 1952, he became a member of the Actors Studio. This led to his first Broadway show, End as a Man.
On Broadway, he originated the role of Gooper in the original Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955). He played the title role in the award winning Broadway play J.B. by Archibald MacLeish (1958). He appeared in the 1963 Actors Studio production of Strange Interlude, directed by Jose Quintero, and That Championship Season (1972). He earned a Tony Award nomination for his performance in Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1957). In 1997, he played Benjamin Franklin in the Roundabout Theatre revival of the musical 1776, with Brent Spiner and Gregg Edelman.
Hingle's first film role was an uncredited part as bartender Jock in On the Waterfront (1954). Later in his career, he was known for playing judges, police officers and other authority figures. He was a guest star on the early NBC legal drama Justice, based on case histories of the Legal Aid Society of New York, which aired in the 1950s.
Another notable role was as the father of Warren Beatty's character in Splendor in the Grass (1961), directed by Elia Kazan, the director of On the Waterfront. Hingle was widely known for portraying the father of Sally Field's title character Norma Rae (1979). He also played manager Colonel Tom Parker in John Carpenter's TV movie Elvis (1979).
Hingle had a long list of television and film credits to his name, going back to 1948. Among them were The Fugitive (1964), Carol for Another Christmas (1964), Nevada Smith (1966), Mission: Impossible (1967), The Invaders (1967), Hang 'Em High (1968), The Gauntlet (1977), Sudden Impact (1983), Road To Redemption (2001), When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? (1979), Brewster's Millions (1985), Stephen King's Maximum Overdrive (1986), The Grifters (1990), Citizen Cohn (1992), Cheers (1993), The Land Before Time (1988), Wings (1996), and Shaft (2000). Hingle played Dr. Chapman in seven episodes of the TV series Gunsmoke (1971), and Col. Tucker in the movie Gunsmoke: To the Last Man (1992). In 1963, Hingle guest-starred in an episode of The Twilight Zone called "The Incredible World of Horace Ford" as the title character. He guest starred in the TV series Matlock and Murder, She Wrote. In 1980, he appeared in the short-lived police series Stone with Dennis Weaver.
He played Commissioner Gordon in the 1989 film Batman and its three sequels. He is one of only two actors to appear in the four Batman films from 1989 to 1997; the other is Michael Gough.
In November 2007, he created the Pat Hingle Guest Artist Endowment to enable students to work with visiting professional actors at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Hingle married Alyce Faye Dorsey on June 3, 1947. They had three children: Jody, Billy and Molly. The couple later divorced. In 1979 Hingle married Julia Wright. He and his second wife had two children.
In 1959 while playing J.B. on Broadway, he was offered the title role of the 1960 film Elmer Gantry but lost it to Burt Lancaster because Hingle had a nearly fatal accident. He was trapped in the elevator of his West End Avenue apartment building in Manhattan, when it stalled between the second and third floors. He crawled out and tried to reach the second floor corridor, but lost his balance and fell 54 feet (16 m) down the shaft. He fractured his skull, wrist, hip and most of the ribs on his left side. He broke his left leg in three places and lost the little finger on his left hand. He lay near death for two weeks, and his recovery required more than a year.
Hingle died at his home in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, of myelodysplasia on January 3, 2009; he had been diagnosed with the disease in November 2008. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Atlantic Ocean.
Selected TV credits and filmography
|1954||On the Waterfront||Jocko||Uncredited|
|1957||Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Warren Selvy||TV series |
Season 3 episode "Night of the Execution"
|The Strange One||Harold Koble|
|No Down Payment||Herman Kreitzer|
|1960||Wild River||Narrator||Uncredited voice|
|1961||Splendor in the Grass||Ace Stamper|
|1962||The Untouchables||Mitchell A. Grandin||TV series |
Season 3 episode "The Case Against Eliot Ness"
|1963||The Untouchables||Barney Howe / Barney Retsick||TV series|
Season 4 episode "Junk Man"
|The Twilight Zone||Horace Ford||TV series|
Episode "The Incredible World of Horace Ford"
|The Ugly American||Homer Atkins|
|All the Way Home||Ralph Follet|
|1964||Invitation to a Gunfighter||Sam Brewster|
|Carol for Another Christmas||Ghost of Christmas Present|
|1965||Daniel Boone||Will Carey||TV series |
Episode "The Returning"
|1966||Nevada Smith||Big Foot|
|The Andy Griffith Show||Fred Gibson||TV series |
Season 6 episode "Wyatt Earp Rides Again"
|1967||Mission: Impossible||R.J. McMillan||TV series
Season 1 episode "The Confession"
|The Invaders||Brother Avery||TV series |
Season 2 episode "The Prophet"
|1968||Sol Madrid||Harry Mitchell|
|Hang 'Em High||Judge Adam Fenton|
|1970||Bloody Mama||Sam Adams Pendlebury|
|1971||Gunsmoke||Dr. John Chapman||TV series |
7 episodes after Milburn Stone ("Doc") had heart surgery
|1972||The Carey Treatment||Captain Pearson|
|1973||One Little Indian||Captain Stewart|
|Happy as the Grass Was Green||Eric Mills|
|1974||The New Land||Cadbury||TV series |
Episode "The Word is: Mortal" (never aired)
|The Super Cops||Inspector Novick|
|Nightmare Honeymoon||Mr. Binghamton|
|1975||Hawaii Five-O||Ormsbee||TV series |
Episode "The Defector"
|1977||The Gauntlet||Maynard Josephson|
|Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo||Doc Hodgins||TV movie|
|1979||Elvis||Colonel Tom Parker||TV movie|
|When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?||Lyle Stricker|
|Disaster on the Coastliner||John Marsh||TV movie|
|1980||Running Scared||Sergeant McClain|
|M*A*S*H||Colonel Daniel Webster Tucker||TV series |
Season 8 episode "April Fools"
|Stone||Chief Gene Paulton||TV series|
|1983||Going Berserk||Ed Reese|
|Running Brave||Coach Bill Easton|
|Sudden Impact||Chief Lester Jannings|
|1984||In 'n Out||Oscar Milstone|
|The Act||Frank Boda|
|1985||The Falcon and the Snowman||Charles Boyce|
|Amazing Stories||The Sheriff||TV series |
Episode "Santa '85"
|The Lady from Yesterday||Jim Bartlett||TV movie|
|Brewster's Millions||Edward Roundfield|
|The Rape of Richard Beck||Chappy Beck||TV movie|
|1986||Maximum Overdrive||Bubba Hendershot|
|Murder, She Wrote||Ret. Lt. Det. Barney Kale||TV series |
Episode "Unfinished Business"
|1987||Baby Boom||Hughes Larabee|
|1988||The Land Before Time||Narrator / Rooter||Voice|
|War and Remembrance||Admiral William "Bull" Halsey||TV miniseries|
|1989||Batman||Commissioner James Gordon|
|1990||The Grifters||Bobo Justus|
|The Kennedys of Massachusetts||PJ Kennedy||TV miniseries|
|1992||Gunsmoke: To the Last Man||Colonel Tucker||TV movie|
|Batman Returns||Commissioner James Gordon|
|Citizen Cohn||J. Edgar Hoover|
|1993||Cheers||Gus O'Malley||TV series |
Episode "The Last Picture Show"
|1994||Lightning Jack||U.S. Marshal Dan Kurtz|
|1995||The Quick and the Dead||Horace the Bartender|
|Batman Forever||Commissioner James Gordon|
|1996||Wings||Jack Hackett||TV series |
|Larger than Life||Vernon|
|Bastard out of Carolina||Mr. Waddell|
|1997||The Shining||Pete Watson||TV miniseries|
|Batman & Robin||Commissioner James Gordon|
|A Thousand Acres||Harold Clark|
|Horror Story||Judge Caldwell|
|1999||Muppets from Space||General Luft|
|2000||Shaft||Judge Dennis Bradford|
|2000-2002||Batman OnStar commercials||Commissioner James Gordon||Voice|
|2001||Road to Redemption||Grandpa Nathan Tucker|
|2002||The Angel Doll||Noah Roudabush|
|2005||The Greatest Adventure of My Life||Gen. J.T. Boone|
|2006||Two Tickets to Paradise||Mark's Dad|
|Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby||Mr. Dennit Sr.|
|Waltzing Anna||Mo Kegley|
|2007||The List||Gus Eicholtz|
|2008||Undoing Time||Judge||Final film role|