Gale Gordon's most enduring role was on Lucy Show
Monday, July 3, 1995
Section: Entertainment: Show
Dateline: LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES - Gale Gordon, whose prissy manner and comic tantrums made him a favorite to viewers of Our Miss Brooks and three Lucille
Ball series, has died.
He was 89.
Gordon died Friday at the Redwood Terrace Health Centre in Escondido, Calif., of cancer, Joan Seward, a nurse at the centre, said
Saturday night. His actress wife, Virginia, died a few weeks earlier in the same nursing home, Seward said.
Gordon's most enduring performances were delivered on the Lucy Show, on which he appeared from 1963 to 1968 as the stubborn, stuffy
bank manager Mr. Mooney, whose life was bedevilled by his employee Lucy Carpenter.
From 1968 to 1974, Gordon played Lucy Carter's equally blustery brother-in-law and employer at the Unique Employment Agency on Here's
Ball considered Gordon so indispensable she cast him again in her short-lived 1986 series Life With Lucy.
When Ball died in 1989, Gordon commented she never considered herself particularly funny.
"But when she told a story or recalled an event that happened, she always illustrated it with her body and her face.
"She never saw it but she was extremely amusing."
For nine years on radio and television, Gordon grumped as the high school principal Osgood Conklin on Our Miss Brooks. When the original
Mr. Wilson on Dennis the Menace, Joseph Kearns, died in 1962, Gordon took over the role of the irascible next-door neighbor and played
it for two seasons.
One of the most prolific actors in radio and television, Gordon commented in 1966: "I'm not a compulsive actor. To me it's just a job to do.
"I turn it off as soon as I leave the studio. I couldn't give you a single line of dialogue the next day.
"I can't stand these actors who are always `on.' "
His verbal skills made him perhaps the busiest actor on radio in the years just before television knocked radio drama and comedy aside for
In the early 1950s, he was playing regular roles in seven weekly broadcasts Fibber McGee and Molly (as Mayor LaTrivia), My Favorite
Husband, Our Miss Brooks, the Alice Faye-Phil Harris Show, the Halls of Ivy (Ronald Colman), the Dennis Day Show and the Great
Gordon had no trouble making the transition to the small screen. He became a regular on Pete and Gladys, Sally and the Jack Benny Show,
as well as the TV version of Our Miss Brooks. Gordon and Bob Sweeney starred from 1956 to 1958 in a CBS series, The Brothers, a rare
exception to his supporting-actor status.
He also appeared in feature films, often as a stuffy military officer. They included Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys, All in a Night's Work, Don't
Give Up the Ship, Visit to a Small Planet and All Hands on Deck.
He was born in New York City on Feb. 2, 1906, son of a vaudeville performer and an actress.
The family lived in England for several years and the experience resulted in Gordon's precise, slightly accented speech.
After a few years of touring the United States in stock companies, he landed in Hollywood as network radio was growing in importance.
He took time out from his growing career for World War II service on a coast guard ship.
While appearing on the Death Valley Days radio show in 1940, Gordon met and married actress Virginia Curley. They had no children.