Rupert Thorne was an influential city councilman from Gotham City. During an incident involving the disfigured scientist "Alex Sartorius" (Doctor Phosphorus), Thorne turned his attention on Batman. He vocally decried the efforts of the Dark Knight Detective, and lobbied to have his vigilante tactics outlawed. His efforts brought him to the attention of criminal scientist Professor Hugo Strange. Strange had long ago deduced Batman’s secret identity - a crucial piece of information, which Thorne believed would aid him in apprehending him. To this end, he captured Strange, and subjected him to torturous interrogation, ultimately resulting in the latter's death. For several weeks following Strange’s apparent demise, Thorne was haunted by his spectral apparition.
His failure to expose Batman and his experiences with Strange forced Thorne to abandon the political arena and go into hiding. He resurfaced several months later, but continued to manipulate Gotham City’s political climate. He managed to negotiate one of his cronies, Hamilton Hill, into the position of Gotham City Mayor. Through Hill, Thorne was able to fire Commissioner James Gordon – one of the few elected officials who openly supported the Batman. Gordon was replaced with another Thorne "yes-man", Peter Pauling.
Rupert later came into contact with Gotham Gazette reporter Vicki Vale. Through Vicki, Thorne was able to acquire photographs proving that Batman is in fact billionaire playboy, Bruce Wayne. Determined to take down Batman once and for all, Thorne hired Deadshot to murder Wayne. However, he never revealed to him that Wayne was actually Batman. Deadshot attempted to fulfill the contract, but was soundly defeated by the Dark Knight.
A short time later, Strange resurfaced alive and well. He had apparently faked his demise and had turned towards using psychotropic drugs to convince Thorne that it was his ghost that had been haunting him. Strange continued to torment Rupert, driving him nearly to the brink of insanity. In a haze of paranoia, Thorne mistakenly believed that Mayor Hill and Commissioner Pauling were attempting to kill him. He murdered Peter Pauling, and was summarily apprehended by the Batman. Following his arrest, Thorne began serving a sentence at Blackgate Penitentiary. Upon his release, Thorne discovered that the "ghost" was really an illusion made by Strange (with Doctor Thirteen's help), whereupon he headed for the office of the political rivals whom he imagined were responsible. Gunning down one official, Thorne was shot by another. Observing from a limousine outside, a snickering Strange bid Thorne a "good night."
Abilities and Skills
Rupert Thorne is an expert manipulator, who has used his influence and connections to shape Gotham City's political climate. He is also proficient in the arena of criminal organization and networking.
In Other Media
In the original script for the first WB film, that was written by Tom Mankiewicz in the early 80's, Rupert Thorne hired Joe Chill to murder Bruce Wayne's father, Thomas Wayne, who ran against Thorne for City Council. Sam Hamm and Tim Burton replaced the character with Carl Grissom, who was based on Thorne only with more normalized name.