Thursday, 4 May 2017

Don Gordon Passes On

Character actor Don Gordon died on April 24 2017 at the age of 90.  He had been diagnosed with cancer only five days before he died.

Don Gordon was born on November 13 1926 in Los Angeles, California. He made his film debut in 1949 in an uncredited role in Twelve O' Clock High. During the Fifties he appeared in such films as Halls of Montezuma (1951), Let's Go Navy! (1951), Force of Arms (1951), Girls in the Night (1953), Law and Order (1953), Revolt at Fort Laramie (1956), and Cry Tough (1959). He made his television debut in 1951 in an episode of Space Patrol. Towards the end of the decade Mr. Gordon starred in the syndicated TV series The Blue Angels. He guest starred on such shows as The Ford Television Theatre, Mister Peepers, Robert Montgomery Presents, Studio One, Sugarfoot, Trackdown, 77 Sunset Strip, The Millionaire, Johnny Staccato, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Playhouse 90, and The Twilight Zone.

In the Sixties he appeared in several episodes of the TV show Peyton Place. He guest starred on such shows as The Defenders, The Untouchables, Channing, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, The Fugitive, Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, Combat!, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, 12 O' Clock High, The Wild Wild West, The Invaders, and The Name of the Game. Don Gordon wrote and starred in the film The Lollipop Cover (1965). He appeared in the films Bullitt (1968), The Gamblers (1970), WUSA (1970), and Cannon for Cordoba (1970).

In the Seventies Don Gordon appeared in the films Z.P.G. (1972), Fuzz (1972), Slaughter (1972), The Mack (1973), Papillon (1973), and Out of the Blue (1980). He was a regular on the short-lived TV show Lucan. He guest starred on such shows as Search, Banacek, The F.B.I., The Magician, Mannix, Cannon, Matt Helm, The Streets of San Francisco, Charlie's Angels, Switch, Barnaby Jones, Vega$, and Hart to Hart.

In the Eighties Don Gordon guest starred on such shows as Matt Houston, The Powers of Matthew Star, The Love Boat, T. J. Hooker, Cover Up, Knight Rider, Airwolf, Remington Steele, and MacGyver. He appeared in the films The Beast Within (1982), Lethal Weapon (1987), Code Name Vengeance (1987), Skin Deep (1989), and The Exorcist III (1990).  In the Nineties he appeared in the film The Borrower (1991)  and guest starred on Diagnosis Murder.

Don Gordon was best known for playing tough, hard nosed characters. And it was the sort of role that he was very good at playing. He was Bullitt's partner Delgetti in Bullitt and he played the prisoner Julot in Papillon. He appeared as different gangsters on the classic show The Untouchables. That having been said, playing cops and criminals was not the limit of Don Gordon's talents. He played an unbalanced young man accused of murder in the two-part episode "Mad Man" of the classic TV show The Defenders. He was nominated for an Emmy for the role. In the Twilight Zone episode "The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross" he played a pushy and insensitive young man who learns he has the ability to trade personal characteristics with others. In The Last Movie he played Neville Robey, a man convinced he is going to strike it rich from gold in the Andes. Don Gordon had a great amount of talent and could play even the toughest characters with subtlety many other actors lacked.

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