Pat Hingle (Martin Patterson Hingle)

Pat Hingle

Hingle was born Martin Patterson Hingle 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. Hingle enlisted in the U.S. 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 into 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 the American Theater Wing. In 1952 he became a member of the Actors Studio. That 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 won 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 the character played by Warren Beatty in Splendor in the Grass (1961), which was directed by Elia Kazan, who was also the director of On the Waterfront. He was also widely known for portraying the father of the title character, played by Sally Field, in Norma Rae (1979).

Hingle had a long list of television and movie credits to his name, going back to 1948. Among them were The Fugitive(1964) ,Nevada Smith (1966), 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), 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 also 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 is probably best known in recent times for playing 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.

In 1960, he had been offered the title role in Elmer Gantry, but Burt Lancaster filled the part because Hingle had been in a near-fatal accident. He was caught in his West End Avenue apartment building in an elevator that had stalled between the second and third floors. He crawled out and sought to reach the second floor corridor but lost his balance and fell fifty-four feet 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 2006. His ashes were scattered into the Atlantic Ocean.

More Images

  • Pat-hingle-commissioner-gordon-1 -


  • July, 19, 1924
  • USA
  • Miami, Florida


  • January, 03, 2009
  • USA
  • Carolina Beach, North Carolina

Cause of Death

  • myelodysplasia


  • Cremated

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