Don Gordon (born Donald Walter Guadagno; November 13, 1926 – April 24, 2017) was an American film and television actor, who was sometimes billed as Donald Gordon.
Gordon's television successes began with a starring role in the 1960–1961 syndicated series The Blue Angels, based on the elite precision flight demonstration pilots of the United States Navy Blue Angels.
In 1962, Gordon was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for his role as Joey Tassili on CBS's legal drama, The Defenders, starring E.G. Marshall. During 1977–1978, he co-starred in the television show Lucan,:632 and he played Harry in the CBS drama The Contender (1980).:207
His most notable film roles were those in which he appeared alongside his friend Steve McQueen:
and The Towering Inferno.
Additional television appearances
Gordon appeared in the 1959 episode "In a Deadly Fashion" of the syndicated television series Border Patrol, starring Richard Webb. He also guest starred in John Bromfield's syndicated crime drama, U.S. Marshal. Another early appearance from Gordon was in a memorable supporting role in CBS's The Twilight Zone episodes
"The Four of Us Are Dying"
and "The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross."
During 1959 and 1960, Gordon twice guest starred on McQueen's CBS western series, Wanted: Dead or Alive. In 1962, he appeared in "The Ginny Littlesmith Story" of ABC's The Untouchables. In 1963, he appeared in the episode "Without Wheat, There is No Bread" of the CBS anthology series, The Lloyd Bridges Show. That same year, he appeared on NBC's medical drama, The Eleventh Hour. In the 1963–64 season, he played a soldier returning from South Vietnam in the ABC drama, Channing, set on the fictitious Channing College campus.
Still another 1963 performance was as Quinn Serrato, with Harry Dean Stanton as Nick Crider and William Schallert as Sully Mason, in the episode "Nobody Dies on Saturday" of the NBC modern western series, Empire. Gordon appeared in two episodes of The Outer Limits entitled
and "Second Chance."
In 1964, Gordon appeared as deputy sheriff Morgan Fallon in "Tug Of War" an episode of The Fugitive series.
In 1967, he appeared as Charlie Gilman in "The Trial," an episode in the second season of "The Invaders" series, and appeared in an episode of The Wild Wild West.
In 1974, he played a former convict who is set up and murdered by the character played by Dick Van Dyke in the Columbo episode "Negative Reaction," starring Peter Falk.
Gordon played the U.S. Navy diving expert brother of Seaview crewman Kowalski in the Voyage to the Botton of the Sea episode "Deadly Waters." In 1983, Gordon appeared on CBS's The Dukes Of Hazzard as hit man Frank Scanlon, in the sixth season episode "Enos' Last Chance."
Gordon's last credited film work was the 2005 documentary, Steve McQueen – The Essence of Cool. Gordon was interviewed along with several others who had worked with McQueen, with whom he was a close friend and colleague.
On February 18, 1948, Gordon married actress Helen Westcott in Oxnard, California. They divorced in 1953. He married actress Bek Nelson on December 31, 1959, in Los Angeles. They adopted a daughter in 1966, and they divorced on May 23, 1979.
Gordon died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on April 24 2017, aged 90, survived by a wife and daughter from a previous marriage. He is interred at Westwood Village Memorial Park.
Twelve O'Clock High (1949) - First Patient in Base Hospital (uncredited)
Halls of Montezuma (1951) - Marine (uncredited)
Let's Go Navy! (1951) - Sailor (uncredited)
Force of Arms (1951) - Sgt. Webber (uncredited)
It's a Big Country: An American Anthology (1951) - Mervin (uncredited)
Girls in the Night (1953) - Irv Kellener
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) - Soldier (uncredited)
Revolt at Fort Laramie (1956) - Jean Salignac
The Benny Goodman Story (1956) - Tough Boy in Gang (uncredited)
The Walter Winchell File "The Bargain" (1958) - Deek
Cry Tough (1959) - Incho
The Outer Limits (Season 1, Episode 19, The Invisibles) (1964) - Agent Luis B. Spain
Combat! (Season 4, Episode 8, Crossfire) (1965) - Pvt. Stevens
The Lollipop Cover (1965) - Nick Bartaloni
The Gamblers (1970) - Rooney
WUSA (1970) - Bogdanovich
The Last Movie (1971) - Neville Robey
Z.P.G. (1972) - George Borden
Fuzz (1972) - Anthony La Bresca
The Mack (1973) - Hank
The Return of Charlie Chan (1973) - Lambert
Papillon (1973) - Julot
The Education of Sonny Carson (1974) - Pigliani
The Towering Inferno (1974) - Kappy
Out of the Blue (1980) - Charlie
Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981) - Harvey Dean, assistant of the Antichrist Damien Thorn
The Beast Within (1982) - Judge Curwin
The Dukes of Hazzard (1983) - Frank Scanlon
Lethal Weapon (1987) - Cop #2
Code Name Vengeance (1987) - Harry Applegate
Skin Deep (1989) - Curt
The Exorcist III (1990) - Ryan
2. Barnes, Mike (May 5, 2017). "Don Gordon, Top-Notch Character Actor and Pal of Steve McQueen, Dies at 90". The Hollywood Reporter.
3. Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
4. "("Don Gordon" search results)". EMMYS. Television Academy. Archived from the original on 26 July 2017.
5. "Marriages". Billboard. March 20, 1948. p. 48.
7. Wagner, Laura (Fall 2016). "Helen Westcott: "A Very Gifted Actress"". Films of the Golden Age (86): 74–76.
8. Aaker, Everett (2017). Television Western Players, 1960–1975: A Biographical Dictionary. McFarland. p. 318. ISBN 9781476628561.
9. Don Gordon, Steve McQueen’s Sidekick Onscreen and in Life, Dies at 90 The New York Times, May 7 2017.