Bruce Gordon, a Matinée-Idol, an Action Star and Finally a Supporting Player


Bruce Gordon

Bruce Gordon




Bruce Gordon came to acting later than most. Born in South Africa (circa 1894), Gordon, at the age of twenty moved to England, to study medicine and surgery at London University. Now his first-tier interests were big-game hunting, and acting, but his father (a British Army Brigadier-General) spoke the word ‘doctor’ (as so many fathers have done, wanting the best for their child) and off young Gordon went. He was within one year of his medical degree, when the adventure and romance of moving pictures called.[1] His first work was with the Progress production company and then he directed and starred in The First Men in the Moon (1919) for Gaumont British Picture Corporation; Gordon had roles in two more English films before Commodore J. Stuart Blackton brought the South African native to the States with The House of the Tolling Bell, September 5, 1920.

Bruce Gordon The House of the Tolling Bell


After the release of The House of the Tolling Bell (in which he co-starred with May McAvoy) Gordon commenced a nationwide tour, not only being introduced to the American-movie-going-public, but also to promote the upcoming opening of The Forbidden Valley (again with May McAvoy) in October of 1920.

Bruce GordonBruce Gordon Tour

Bruce Gordon was so committed to this promotional opportunity, that when his wife arrived from South Africa, an hour was their reunion before leaving again on the personal appearance excursion. This was no small decision, for he had left Mrs. Gordon in England, shortly after their marriage;[2] Mrs. Gordon was able to move into their new home located in Brooklyn, New York, at 491 Willoughby Avenue;[3] somebody has a piece of history and they may not know it.


Gordon’s star would shine brightly for a while, but soon the leading roles where behind him and he saw his film-billing drop to, third, fourth, fifth… Beginning with the hopes of a matinée-idol, an action star, a man of adventure, Gordon became instead a solid supporting actor, ending up with about seventy-five movies to his credit.

Bruce Gordon The Timber QueenBruce Gordon Under the Tonto Rim (1928)Bruce Gordon Phantom Ship

Bruce Gordon Elephant Boy


By C. S. Williams


[1] The Milwaukee Journal (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) October 10, 1920

The Snyder Signal, (Snyder, Scurry County, Texas) March 25, 1921

[2] The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) October 1, 1920

[3] The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) October 1, 1920


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