Leo Gordon Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (1)  | Trivia (1)  | Personal Quotes (4)  | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Born in New York City, New York, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (cardiac failure)
Birth NameLeo Vincent Gordon
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Big, burly character actor, one of the toughest of screen heavies. New York-born Leo Gordon's combination of a powerful physique, deep, menacing voice and icy, withering glare was guaranteed to strike fear into the heart of even the bravest screen hero. Director Don Siegel, who used Gordon in his prison film Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954), once said that "Leo Gordon was the scariest man I have ever met"--this coming from a man who had directed John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Bette Midler! Siegel wasn't talking about just Gordon's screen presence. As a "heavy", Gordon was the real deal--before becoming an actor (he studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts), Gordon served five years in San Quentin State Prison for armed robbery (during which he was shot several times point-blank by police--and survived). "Riot in Cell Block 11" was filmed at Folsom State Prison--where Gordon also served time--and the Folsom warden remembered him as a troublemaker.At first he refused to allow the film to be shot there if Gordon was to be in it, but Siegel was able to convince him that Gordon was no threat to the prison.

Contrary to his image, though, Gordon was not just a one-note villain. He did play sympathetic parts on occasion, notably in the western Black Patch (1957)--which he also wrote--and in Roger Corman's civil rights drama The Intruder (1962), and turned in first-rate performances, especially in the latter film. Gordon was also a screenwriter, turning out several screenplays for Corman. He wasn't just limited to writing low-budget sci-fi films, either; he penned the screenplay for the WWII epic Tobruk (1967), writing in a meaty part for himself as Kruger, a tough sergeant in a platoon of German Jews masquerading as Nazi soldiers to help blow up a German oil storage facility.

Leo Gordon died in Los Angeles, CA, in 2000 at age 78 of heart failure.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frankfob2@yahoo.com

Family (1)

Spouse Lynn Cartwright (14 February 1950 - 26 December 2000)  (his death)  (1 child)

Trivia (1)

Father, with Lynn Cartwright, of daughter, Tara Gordon.

Personal Quotes (4)

Westerns are fundamental . . . the morality play. There's a good guy and a bad guy. You know which is which. You don't have to go into the psyche to find out his parents were abusive . . . [the heavy is] the guy people remember. You get more recognition.
[on the "benefits" of playing so many heavies] You get more recognition. After all, I look like a heavy. I'm 6' 2", 200 pounds. Got a craggy-ass face. I was walking down the street in Morocco when a little kid steps out of the alley and looks at me. He runs a few feet ahead of me--turns around and looks again--he puts his hands down like he's drawing two pistols. He goes, "Bip, bip, bip!' Y'know? Like he's shooting. You figure, "Here you are, a world away from anything you're familiar with, and some little kid in an alley in Morocco recognizes you?" Once, coming down the street in Madrid with my wife, a car slides up and these guys jump out. They were a couple of photographers from the Spanish press. They spent the whole afternoon with us.
[on whether he prefers screenwriting or acting] Writing is more rewarding than acting, but look at my face. Nobody believes I'm a writer. I should be 5' 8", 142 pounds, wear patches on my elbows and horn-rimmed glasses and smoke a pipe. That's a writer.
[about working with John Wayne in Hondo (1953), in which Gordon played a villain who gets killed by Wayne] In the scene . . . where he kills me down by the stream, I reach for my gun and he shoots me. I buckled up and pitched forward. Wayne hollered, "Cut! Cut!", even though John Farrow was directing. Wayne says to me, "What was that? When you get hit in the gut with a slug you go flying backwards". I pulled up my shirt to show him where I'd really been shot in the gut [by police while being arrested for armed robbery many years previously]: "Yeah? I got hit point blank and I went forward".

Salary (1)

Maverick (1994) $1,000 /day

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