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For the senior RAF officer, see Richard Jordan .

Richard Anson Jordan (July 19, 1937 – August 30, 1993) was a Harvard-educated Americanmarker stage, screen and film actor. He was a long-time member of the New York Shakespeare Festival, and appeared in many Off Broadway and Broadwaymarker plays. His films include Logan's Run, Les Misérables, Raise the Titanic!, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, The Yakuza, The Bunker, Dune, The Secret of My Succe$s, The Hunt for Red October and Gettysburg.

Early life

Jordan was born Robert Anson Jordan, Jr., in New York City, the son of Robert Anson Jordan of Boston and Constance Hand Jordan of New York. His maternal grandfather was the legendary Justice of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Learned Hand, one of the most respected jurists in the history of the United States. In 1942, Jordan's parents divorced and his mother married Newbold Morris, president of the New York City Council. The marriage was performed by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia at Gracie Mansionmarker,the first marriage performed there.


Following his graduation from Harvard in 1958, Jordan began his acting career in earnest. In 1961, he appeared on Broadway with Art Carney and Elizabeth Ashley in Take Her, She's Mine. At the same time, he began working in television productions, appearing in episodes of The Defenders, Naked City, Empire and Wide Country. He also began performing with Joe Papp's Public Theatre in Shakespearean productions such as The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice and As You Like It. In 1966 he returned to Broadway, appearing in Generation with Henry Fonda.

In 1970, Jordan turned from television to feature film work. In Valdez is Coming (1971) with Burt Lancaster he played a young opportunistic gunman and began a film career portraying a variety of villains. In The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) with Robert Mitchum, he played a U.S. Treasury agent who was no better than the hoods he hunted. Through the rest of the 1970s he played a host of villains and mixed good guy villains in films such as Rooster Cogburn (1975), Logan's Run (1976), and Interiors (1978). There was also the occasional "good guy," as in Old Boyfriends (1979), in which he played the father of his own daughter, Nina. Jordan also continued on the stage, joining Ralph Waite in the L.A. Actor's Theatre, and writing, directing and performing in plays such as Venus of Menschen Falls (1978). In the 1976 starred as Joseph Armagh, an Irish immigrant who fights his way to power and wealth but loses his soul along the way, in the television miniseries Captains and the Kings (1976). Jordan earned a Golden Globe award, an Emmy nomination for the production.

In the 1980s Jordan's films included "Raise the Titanic," (1980) Flash of Green (1984), The Mean Season (1985) and The Secret of My Success (1987). He also co-starred in an acclaimed television production of The Bunker (1981), playing Albert Speer to Anthony Hopkins's Hitler, and in ten episodes of the popular television series The Equalizer (1987-1988), helping to fill in while the star, Edward Woodward, recovered from a heart attack. Meanwhile, he continued on the stage as well, winning an Obie award for his appearance in New York in Václav Havel's A Private View (1983) and an L.A. Drama Critic's Award for directing another Havel play, Largo Desolato (1987).

In 1990 Jordan directed a production of MacBeth in New York and played National Security Advisor Jeffrey Pelt in The Hunt for Red October. He also starred in a television production of Three Hotels (1991) and the "Deadline" episode of Tales from the Crypt (1991) TV series, but soon his health began to fail. He had a brain tumor. He was filming The Fugitive in April 1993 when his fatal illness forced him to withdraw. He died on August 30, 1993, cared for by his daughter Nina and his last companion, Marcia Cross (Desperate Housewives).

Jordan's last film to be released was Gettysburg (1993), which was filmed during the summer of 1992, portraying Confederate Brig. Gen. Lewis "Lo" Armistead, who leads the doomed Pickett's Charge facing his friend, Union Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock, leading the troops on the other side. Producer-Director Ronald Maxwell dedicated the film to Jordan and to author Michael Shaara whose novel The Killer Angels was adapted into the film.


Jordan had a daughter Nina (born 1964) from his marriage (1964-1972) to actress Kathleen Widdoes, and a son Robert (born 1982) by his nine-year relationship with actress Blair Brown. At the time of his death, he was in a five-year relationship with actress Marcia Cross. He died of a brain tumor in 1993. A memorial in Jordan's honor was held at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles on October 8, 1993, the day Gettysburg was released.



  1. "Morris Marries Mrs. C. H. Jordan," New York Times, August 2, 1942
  2. "An Actor Who Dares to Turn Off TV, Los Angeles Times, February 7, 1978
  3. Variety, April 23, 1993
  4. "Her Midlife Miracle, Good Housekeeping, March 2007
  5. "'Killer Angels' Filming Begins Today",Gettysburg Times, July 20, 1992
  6. Los Angeles Times, October 8, 1993

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