Gale Gordon

Active - 1933 - 1989  |   Born - Feb 2, 1906   |   Died - Jun 30, 1995   |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Described by TV producer Hy Averback as "a combination of Laurence Olivier andCharley Chase," bombastic comic actor Gale Gordon was the son of vaudeville performers. His father was "quick-change" artist Charles T. Aldrich, and his mother was actress Gloria Gordon (best known for her portrayal of Mrs. O'Reilly on radio's My Friend Irma). Born with a cleft palate, Gordon underwent two excruciating oral operations as a child. By the time he was 17, Gordon's diction was so precise and his "new" voice so richly developed that he was invited to study acting under the aegis of famed actor/manager Richard Bennett.

After several years on stage, Gordon moved to California in 1929, where he worked in Los Angeles radio as a free-lance actor and announcer. He appeared in heroic and villainous "straight" parts on such syndicated radio series as The Adventures of Fu Manchu and English Coronets, but soon found that his true forte was comedy. Gordon played the flustered Mayor La Trivia on Fibber McGee and Molly, several prominent roles on The Burns and Allen Show, and, best of all, pompous principal Osgood Conklin on Our Miss Brooks. In films since 1933 (he played a bit at the end of Joe E. Brown's Elmer the Great), Gordon proved a formidable comic foil in such films as Here We Go Again (1942, again with Fibber McGee and Molly), and Jerry Lewis' Don't Give Up the Ship (1959) and Visit to a Small Planet (1960). It is impossible to have grown up watching television without at least once revelling in the comedy expertise of Gale Gordon. In addition to starring in the 1956 sitcom The Brothers, Gordon was also seen in the video versions of My Favorite Husband, Our Miss Brooks, The Danny Thomas Show, Dennis the Menace--and virtually every one of Lucille Ball's TV projects, including her last, 1986's Life with Lucy.

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