Bobby Jordan

Robert G. Jordan (April 1, 1923 – September 10, 1965) was an American actor, most notable for being a member of the Dead End Kids, the East Side Kids, and The Bowery Boys.

Bobby Jordan
Born
Robert G. Jordan

(1923-04-01)April 1, 1923
DiedSeptember 10, 1965(1965-09-10) (aged 42)
OccupationActor
Years active1929–1961
Spouse(s)
Lee Jordan
(m. 1946; div. 1957)

BiographyEdit

Early life and careerEdit

Born in Harrison, New York,[1] Jordan was a talented toddler and could sing, tap dance, and play the saxophone by the time he was six years old.[citation needed] At the age of four, he was working in an early movie version of A Christmas Carol.

His mother took him to talent shows in and around Harrison, New York. He also modeled for newspaper and magazine advertisements and appeared in short films and radio programs. In the late 1920s, his family moved to the upper west side of Manhattan. In 1929, he was cast as Charles Hildebrand in the 1929 Broadway play Street Scene.

Dead End Kids and East Side KidsEdit

Though he was the youngest, Jordan was the first of the boys who made up the Dead End Kids to work in films with a role in a 1933 Universal short. In 1935, he became one of the original Dead End Kids by winning the role of Angel in Sydney Kingsley's Broadway drama Dead End about life in the slums of the east side of New York City. The play was performed at the Belasco Theatre and ran for three years with over 600 performances. He appeared for the first season and the beginning of the second but left in mid-November 1936. He returned in time to join the others in 1937 in Hollywood, California to make the movie version of the play, starring big names such as Humphrey Bogart, Joel McCrea, Sylvia Sidney, and Claire Trevor.

Following the making of Dead End, Jordan found himself "released" from his contract at Goldwyn, and subsequently, he appeared at Warner Brothers with the rest of the Dead End Kids. After one year, Warners released most of them, but kept Leo Gorcey and Jordan as solo performers. Jordan appeared (as Douglas Fairbanks Rosenbloom) in Warner's Damon Runyon comedy A Slight Case of Murder (1938) and at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in Young Tom Edison (1940).

In 1940, Jordan appeared in the movie Military Academy and accepted an offer from producer Sam Katzman to star in a new tough-kid series titled "The East Side Kids." Leo Gorcey soon joined him, then Huntz Hall, and the trio continued to lead the series until 1943 when Jordan entered the United States Army during World War II as a foot soldier in the 97th Infantry Division. He subsequently was involved in an elevator accident that forced him to have surgery to remove his right kneecap.

Later career and personal lifeEdit

When Jordan returned to films in 1945, he found that his former gang-mates Gorcey and Hall were obtaining the lion's share of both the content and the salary for the new Bowery Boys film series. Dissatisfied with his background status, he left the series after eight entries, and made only a few films thereafter.

On July 1, 1957, Jordan played Bob Ford, the assailant of Jesse James, in the television series Tales of Wells Fargo. The episode ends some two months before Ford assassinated James in the latter's residence in St. Joseph, Missouri.[2] One of his later performances was in an episode of Bonanza titled "The Many Faces of Gideon Flinch", where he played one of Bullet Head Burke's men.

In subsequent years, Jordan worked as a bartender, a bad choice for him considering his alcoholism.[3] He worked to support his family as a door-to-door photograph salesman and as a roughneck for an oil driller.

In 1957, Jordan and his wife divorced.

DeathEdit

On August 25, 1965, he entered the Veterans Hospital in Sawtelle, California for treatment of cirrhosis of the liver. He died on September 10, 1965[1] at the age of 42.[3] His former Dead End Kid and East Side Kid co-star Leo Gorcey once observed "Bobby Jordan must not have had a guardian angel.[4]

FilmographyEdit

Film (Partial)Edit

TelevisionEdit

Year Series Role Notes
1951 Boston Blackie Waiter Episode: "The Devil's Daughters"
1951/1952/1958 Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok Conductor / Steve Manson / Sandy Smith 3 Episodes
1952 The Unexpected Unknown Episode: "Calculated Risk"
1952 Gruen Guild Theater Unknown Episode: "For Life"
1952 Fireside Theatre Unknown Episode: "A Grand for Grandma"
1955 I Led 3 Lives Comrade Kapotek Episode: "Brainwash"
1956 Ford Star Jubilee Third Sailor Episode: "High Tor"
1956 Dragnet Unknown Episode: "The Big Search"
1957 The Millionaire Press Agent Episode: "The Professor Amberson Adams Story"
1957 State Trooper Ed Howard Episode: "The Live Shell Game"
1957 Tales of Wells Fargo Ernest 'Ernie' Handsfelt / Sonny Stillwell / Bob Ford 3 Episodes
1957 Casey Jones Billy Mapes Episode: "Storm Warning"
1957/1958 Highway Patrol Ed / Market Manager 2 Episodes
1958 Richard Diamond, Private Detective Connie Thorpe Episode: "The Payoff"
1958 The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin Bart Desay Episode: "Top Gun"
1958/1959 Maverick Bank Teller / Willy / Kansas City Hotel Desk Clerk 3 episodes
1959 77 Sunset Strip Auto Mechanic Episode: "Not an Enemy in the World"
1959 M Squad Car Lot Employee Episode: "Death by Adoption"
1960 The DuPont Show with June Allyson Willie Episode: "Once Upon a Knight"
1960 Rawhide Adair Episode: "Incident of the Murder Steer"
1960 Peter Gunn Waiter Episode: "Tramp Steamer"
1961 Michael Shayne Mel Steele Episode: "The Body Beautiful"
1961 Route 66 Garage Attendant Episode: "A Skill for Hunting"
1961 The Roaring 20's Herbie Episode: "Royal Tour"
1961 Bonanza Thug #2 Episode: "The Many Faces of Gideon Flinch"

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 183. ISBN 9780786409839. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  2. ^ ""Jesse James" on Tales of Wells, Fargo". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Overview for Bobby Jordan". Tcm.com. 2007-11-02. Retrieved 2014-03-08.
  4. ^ Fusco, Joseph (2015). Beyond Dead End: The Solo Careers of The Dead End Kids. BearManor Media. ISBN 978-1593938741. Retrieved 25 July 2020.

Further readingEdit

  • Dye, David. Child and Youth Actors: Filmography of Their Entire Careers, 1914-1985. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1988, p. 120.
  • Holmstrom, John. The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995, Norwich, Michael Russell, 1996, p. 116.

External linksEdit