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My friend... your luck is about to change.
~ Carl Grissom

Carl Grissom is a supporting antagonist in the 1989 Batman film. He was Gotham City's most powerful crime lord until he was betrayed and killed by his second-in-command Jack Napier, who survived an assassination attempt arranged by his boss and is now surfacing as the infamous supervillain Joker.

He was portrayed by the late Jack Palance, who also played Rothbart in The Swan Princess.

History

Carl Grissom used to be the most powerful crime lord in Gotham City, as he got some or even most officers of the Gotham City Police Department (except Commissioner Gordon) on his payroll, including Lieutenant Max Eckhardt. When the recently-elected District Attorney Harvey Dent begins to make connections between Grissom and Axis Chemicals, Grissom panics, knowing that the evidence stored at the factory is enough to have him executed.

Grissom also finds out somewhere along the line that his mistress Alicia Hunt has been having an affair with Napier. So to take his revenge, Grissom sends Napier and his crew to Axis Chemicals to seize the evidence before Dent can. At the same time, he calls Lt. Eckhardt and orders him to lead a team of police officers to kill Napier. However, the plan goes wrong when Commissioner Gordon intervenes to take Napier in alive. Eckhardt then attempts to escape, but is shot in the chest and killed by a vengeful Napier. Napier is then confronted by Batman, but falls into a vat of chemicals, leaving Grissom to believe that Jack is dead, much to his delight.

The next day in the night, after a shower, Grissom has a visit from Napier, who survived the fall in the vat of chemicals and now wants revenge for setting him up. Grissom feigns relief in an attempt to grab his gun, but Napier scoffs him and plays wise to Grissom's moves by holding the crime lord at gunpoint. Grissom then pleads for his life by offering to cut a new deal with Napier, but Napier refuses and instead reveals his new identity as the Joker, with green hair, white skin, and a widened, permanent grin with red lips, much to Grissom's horror. At that point, the Joker shoots Grissom to his death and takes over his crime empire. The Joker later told Grissom's crew that the latter was away and that he was standing in for him.

Trivia

  • In early drafts of the film's script, Rupert Thorne was meant to fill Carl Grissom's role before Grissom was created.
  • Coincidentally, Jack Palance, the actor who played Grissom in Batman, inspired the look of the face of Darkseid, a Superman rogue and another DC Comics villain (yet one actually created in the comics).
  • Along with Ross Webster from Superman III and Max Shreck from Batman Returns, Carl Grissom is one of the few characters created in a DC Comics live-action movie who has not been featured in actual comic media since then. Interestingly, all three characters were created to replace in their role an actual comic character.

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Carl Grissom
Carl Grissom

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Carl Grissom
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