According to Variety, Don Gordon – a character actor who has been in film and television since the 1950s – passed away a couple of weeks ago at the age of 90.
Gordon was born on November 13, 1926. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Gordon decided to join the Navy, despite being only 15 at the time, serving on both the USS Saratoga and the USS Yorktown. After the war ended, he began to work on his acting career. He started off with a handful of uncredited roles in the early 1950s, mostly playing soldiers; his first credited role was as a guest star on the TV show Space Patrol. He followed that up with his first credited role in a film – Girls in the Night – in 1953. Gordon worked steadily, mostly with appearances on TV with occasional movie roles.
His career picked up a bit in the 1960s, where he began to get recurring appearances on TV shows; he played Lt. Frank Bertelli in over 30 episodes of Blue Angels and four different characters in The Untouchables. His military history gave him an edge paying soldiers, and his Italian heritage helped him land several roles as gangsters. He followed these with multiple appearances on The Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Peyton Place, and numerous others.
In 1968, Gordon appeared as Delgetti in the Steve McQueen film Bullitt. The two men became great friends and worked together two more times in Papillon (1973) and The Towering Inferno (1974). One of Gordon’s last filmed appearances was in the 2005 documentary Steve McQueen – The Essence of Cool.
Gordon continued to work steadily through the decades. He continued to make guest appearances on various shows, playing five different characters over six episodes of The F.B.I. and popping up in episodes of Charlie’s Angels, Columbo, The Bionic Woman, and Starsky and Hutch. Gordon finally got a lead role in a series – Lucan – but it only lasted for 10 episodes before being canceled.
In the 80s, Gordon was seen in episodes of The Dukes of Hazzard, TJ Hooker, Knight Rider, Remington Steele, and MacGyver. He followed those roles up with a number of movies, including Lethal Weapon, Omen III: The Final Conflict, and The Exorcist III. He was mostly retired for the last couple of decades.
Gordon died on April 24, according to his wife. He is also survived by a daughter from a previous marriage. His legacy lives on through decades of movie and TV and he will be missed.
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