Michael Gordon (film director)

Michael Gordon (born Irving Kunin Gordon; September 6, 1909 April 29, 1993) was an American stage actor and stage and film director.

Michael Gordon
Michael in 1949
Irving Kunin Gordon[1]

(1909-09-06)September 6, 1909
DiedApril 29, 1993(1993-04-29) (aged 83)
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Cohn
RelativesJoseph Gordon-Levitt (grandson)

Life and career

Gordon was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and raised in a middle class Jewish community.[2] He was a member of the Group Theatre (19351940), and was blacklisted as a Communist in the McCarthy era.[3] He later joined the faculty of the UCLA Theater Department. Gordon summered at Pine Brook Country Club in Nichols, Connecticut. Pinebrook is best known for becoming the summer home of the Group Theatre. Some of the other artists who summered there were: Elia Kazan, Harry Morgan, John Garfield, Lee J. Cobb, Will Geer, Clifford Odets, Howard Da Silva and Irwin Shaw.[4][5]

As a result of being blacklisted, Gordon's Hollywood career falls into two phases. In 1940, he started as a dialogue director and went on to direct B-movies. In the late 1940s, he distinguished himself by directing not just action movies but also melodramas and films noir. He also directed the 1950 film, Cyrano de Bergerac, for which José Ferrer won a Best Actor Academy Award. After being blacklisted, he was forced to stop directing films temporarily, but was called back to Hollywood at the end of the 1950s by producer Ross Hunter, who wanted him to direct Pillow Talk, a vehicle for Doris Day and Rock Hudson. Subsequently, Gordon's second creative phase was concerned with light-hearted comedy films.

Gordon and his wife, Elizabeth Cohn, had three children: Jonathan, Jane (mother of actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and Susannah.[6] Gordon died of natural causes on April 29, 1993.[7]


(Per AFI database)[8]


  1. http://dvd-copy.com/people/Michael-Gordon/0330456/bio.htm%5B%5D
  2. Davis, Ronald L. (2005). Just making movies: company directors on the studio system. Univ. Press of Mississippi. pp. 104. ISBN 1-57806-691-3.
  3. Honan, William H. (May 4, 1993). "Michael Gordon, Comic Director On Stage and Screen, Dies at 83". The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
  4. "Pinewood Lake website retrieved on 2010-09-10". Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
  5. Images of America, Trumbull Historical Society, 1997, p. 123
  6. Lidz, Frank (2007-03-25). "From Alien Boy to Growing Star in the Indie Universe". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-03-26.
  7. Honan, William H. (1993-05-04). "Michael Gordon, Comic Director On Stage and Screen, Dies at 83". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-10.
  8. "Michael Gordon". American Film Institute. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
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