Leo Gordon - Rotten Tomatoes

Leo Gordon



Leo Gordon cut one of the toughest, meanest, and most memorable figures on the screen of any character actor of his generation -- and he came by some of that tough-guy image naturally, having done time in prison for armed robbery. At 6 feet 2 inches tall, and with muscles to match, Gordon was an implicitly imposing screen presence, and most often played villains, although when he did play someone on the side of the angels he was equally memorable. Early in his adult life, Gordon did, indeed, serve a term at San Quentin for armed robbery; but after his release he studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and was a working actor by the early 1950's. His first credited screen appearance (as Leo V. Gordon) was on television, in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "The Blue And White Lamp", with Frank Albertson and Earl Rowe, in 1952. His early feature film appearances included roles in China Venture (1953) and Gun Fury (1953), the latter marking the start of his long association with westerns, which was solidified with his villainous portrayal in the John Wayne vehicle Hondo (1953). It was in Don Siegel's Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954), which was shot at San Quentin, that a lot of mainstream filmgoers discovered precisely how fearsome Gordon could be, in the role of "Crazy Mike Carnie." One of the most intimidating members of a cast that was overflowing with tough guys (and which used real cons as extras), Gordon's career was made after that. Movie work just exploded for the actor, and he was in dozens of pictures a year over the next few years, as well as working in a lot of better television shows, and he also earned a regular spot in the series Circus Boy, as Hank Miller. More typical, however, was his work in the second episode of the western series Bonanza, "Death on Sun Mountain", in which he played a murderous profiteer in Virginia City's boomtown days. Once in a while, directors triped to tap other sides of his screen persona, as in the western Black Patch (1957). And at the start of the next decade, Gordon got one of his rare (and best) non-villain parts in a movie when Roger Corman cast him in The Intruder (1962), in the role of Sam Griffin, an onlooker who takes it upon himself to break up a race riot in a small southern town torn by court-ordered school integration. But a year later, he was back in his usual villain mold -- and as good as ever at it -- in McLintock!; in one of the most famous scenes of his career, he played the angry homesteader whose attempt to lynch a Native American leads to a head-to-head battle with John Wayne, bringing about an extended fight featuring the whole cast in a huge mud-pit. Gordon was still very busy as an actor and sometime writer well into the 1980's and early 1990's. He played General Omar Bradley in the mini-series War And Remembrance, and made his final screen appearance as Wyatt Earp in the made-for-television vehicle The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Hollywood Follies. He passed away in 2000 of natural causes.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
67% Maverick
  • Actor
1994
No Score Yet Mob Boss
  • Actor
1990
No Score Yet Alienator
  • Col. Coburn
1989
35% Big Top Pee-wee
  • Joe the Blacksmith (as Leo V. Gordon)
1988
17% Saturday the 14th Strikes Back
  • Actor
1988
0% The Garbage Pail Kids Movie
  • Guard
1987
No Score Yet Fire and Ice
  • Jarol
1983
No Score Yet Bog
  • Dr. John Warren
1983
No Score Yet Rage!
  • Actor
1980
93% The Shootist
  • Books' victim in flashback
1976
No Score Yet Nashville Girl
  • Burt
1976
No Score Yet My Name Is Nobody (Il mio nome è Nessuno)
  • Red
1973
No Score Yet Bonnie's Kids
  • Charley
1973
No Score Yet Buckskin
  • Travis
1968
100% The St. Valentine's Day Massacre
  • James Morton
1967
No Score Yet Devil's Angels
  • Sheriff Henderson
1967
No Score Yet Tobruk
  • Sgt. Krug
1967
No Score Yet Hostile Guns
  • Pleasant
1967
No Score Yet The Night of the Grizzly
  • Cass Dowdy
1966
No Score Yet The Bounty Killer
  • Screenwriter
1965
No Score Yet L'arme à gauche (The Dictator's Guns)
  • Actor
1965
67% Kitten with a Whip
  • Enders
1964
No Score Yet Kings of the Sun
  • Hunac Ceel
1963
60% McLintock!
  • Jones
1963
71% The Haunted Palace
  • Edgar Weeden
1963
36% The Terror (The Haunting) (The Castle of Terror)
  • Actor
  • Screenwriter
1963
No Score Yet Tower of London
  • Screenwriter
1962
No Score Yet The Intruder
  • Sam Griffin
1962
No Score Yet Tarzan Goes to India
  • Bryce
1962
No Score Yet Noose for a Gunman
  • Link Roy
1960
70% Attack of the Giant Leeches
  • Screenwriter
1960
45% The Wasp Woman
  • Screenwriter
1959
No Score Yet Escort West
  • Screenwriter
  • Vogel
1959
No Score Yet The Jayhawkers
  • Jake
1959
No Score Yet Apache Territory
  • Zimmerman
1958
No Score Yet Cry Baby Killer
  • Actor
  • Screenwriter
1958
No Score Yet Quantrill's Raiders
  • William Clarke Quantrill
1958
No Score Yet Lure of the Swamp
  • Steggins
1958
No Score Yet Sendas Torturosas
  • Sam Mason
1958
No Score Yet The Tall Stranger
  • Stark
1957
No Score Yet Man in the Shadow
  • Chet Huneker
1957
No Score Yet Black Patch
  • Hank Danner
  • Screenwriter
1957
No Score Yet The Restless Breed
  • Cherokee
1957
No Score Yet Baby Face Nelson
  • Dillinger
1957
No Score Yet 7th Cavalry
  • Vogel
1956
91% The Man Who Knew Too Much
  • Chauffeur
1956
No Score Yet Great Day in the Morning
  • Zeff Masterson
1956
No Score Yet The Conqueror
  • Tartar Captain
1956
No Score Yet Man with the Gun
  • Ed Pinchot
1955
No Score Yet Tennessee's Partner
  • The Sheriff
1955
No Score Yet Soldier of Fortune
  • Big Matt
1955
No Score Yet Santa Fe Passage
  • Tuss McLawery
1955
No Score Yet Ten Wanted Men
  • Frank Scavo
1955
43% Sign of the Pagan
  • Bleda
1954
No Score Yet The Bamboo Prison
  • Pike
1954
100% Riot in Cell Block 11
  • Crazy Mike Carnie
1954
No Score Yet All the Brothers Were Valiant
  • Peter How
1953
No Score Yet Gun Fury
  • Jess Burgess
1953
86% Hondo
  • Ed Lowe
1953

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet Little House on the Prairie
1974-1984
  • Milo Stavroupolis

Quotes from Leo Gordon's Characters