Richard Jordan
Jordan in 1981
Robert Anson Jordan Jr.[1]

(1937-07-19)July 19, 1937
DiedAugust 30, 1993(1993-08-30) (aged 56)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1961–1993
(m. 1964; div. 1972)

Robert Anson Jordan Jr.[1] (July 19, 1937 – August 30, 1993) was an American actor. A long-time member of the New York Shakespeare Festival, he performed in many Off Broadway and Broadway plays. His films include Logan's Run, Les Misérables, Old Boyfriends, Raise the Titanic, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, The Yakuza, Interiors, The Bunker, Dune, The Secret of My Success, Timebomb, The Hunt for Red October, Posse and Gettysburg.

Early life

Jordan was born in New York City to Robert Anson Jordan, Sr. from Boston, Massachusetts, and Constance (née Hand) from New York.[1] His maternal grandfather was Learned Hand, judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and one of the most highly respected jurists in the United States. In 1942, when Jordan was five years old, his parents divorced. His mother married Newbold Morris, president of the New York City Council. Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia officiated at the ceremony held in Gracie Mansion, the first marriage performed there.[2] Jordan attended the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut. Following his graduation from Harvard University in 1958,[1] he furthered his studies at the Universite du Theatre des Nations in Paris.[1]


Jordan told the friends he made early in his career that he took the stage name Richard because he wanted to avoid being confused with another actor named Robert Jordan. He continued to be known as Bob to those friends.[1][3]

In 1961, Jordan appeared on Broadway with Art Carney and Elizabeth Ashley in Take Her, She's Mine. He also began working in television productions, appearing in episodes of The Defenders, Naked City, Ben Casey, Empire,[4] and The Wide Country. He performed with Joseph Papp's Public Theater in productions of Shakespeare's plays, such as The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice and As You Like It. In 1966, Jordan returned to Broadway, at the Morosco Theatre appearing in Generation with Henry Fonda.[5]

In 1970, Jordan made his film debut in Lawman (1971),[3] and Valdez Is Coming (1971),[4] with Burt Lancaster, and appeared opposite Robert Mitchum twice: in The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973),[4] as the informant-Coyle's handler, a pragmatic U.S. Treasury agent; and in The Yakuza (1975),[4] as the bodyguard of Mitchum's friend, George Tanner. He played a host of villains and mixed good guy-villains in films such as the western Rooster Cogburn (1975),[3] sci-fi adventure Logan's Run (1976), and the Woody Allen-directed drama Interiors (1978).[3] He played the father of his own daughter, Nina in Old Boyfriends (1979), alongside Talia Shire.[6]

While his film career developed, Jordan continued performing on the stage, joining Ralph Waite in the L.A. Actors' Theatre. He wrote, directed, and performed in plays such as Venus of Menschen Falls (1978).[7] In 1976, Jordan earned a Golden Globe award[1] for his role as Joseph Armagh, an Irish immigrant who fights his way to power and wealth in Captains and the Kings.[3]

In the 1980s, Jordan performed in a number of feature films, such as Raise the Titanic (1980),[3] Flash of Green (1984),[4] Dune (1984),[3] The Mean Season (1985), and The Secret of My Success (1987).[4] He co-starred in an acclaimed television production of The Bunker (1981),[3] playing Albert Speer to Anthony Hopkins's Adolf Hitler. In 10 episodes of the television series The Equalizer (1987–1988),[4] he played the lead role while series star Edward Woodward recovered from a heart attack.[3]

On stage, Jordan won an Obie award for his appearance in New York in the Czech playwright Václav Havel's A Private View (1983),[4] and an L.A. Drama Critics' Award for directing Largo Desolato (1987), another Havel play. Jordan played Romero's friend, Father Rutilio Grande in Romero (1989).[3]

In 1990, Jordan directed a production of Macbeth in New York City. He played U.S. National Security Advisor Jeffrey Pelt in The Hunt for Red October.[4] He starred in a television production of Three Hotels (1991),[4] and the 1991 "Deadline" episode of Tales from the Crypt.[4] In Posse (1993),[3][4]

Jordan's last film to be released was Gettysburg (1993), filmed during the summer of 1992.[8] He portrayed Brig. Gen. Lewis "Lo" Armistead, one of the Confederate officers who took part in Pickett's Charge at the battle of Gettysburg. Producer-director Ronald F. Maxwell dedicated the film to Jordan and to author Michael Shaara, whose novel The Killer Angels (1974) had been adapted for the film.[8]

Personal life

Jordan's daughter Nina Jordan was born in 1964 during his 1964–1972 marriage to actress Kathleen Widdoes.[1] His son Robert Anson Jordan III was born in 1982 during his nine-year relationship with actress Blair Brown.[1] At the time of his death, Jordan was in a relationship with actress Marcia Cross.


By 1993, his health began to fail and he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.[3] Cast as Dr. Charles Nichols, he was filming The Fugitive in April 1993 when his illness forced him to withdraw. He was replaced by Jeroen Krabbé.[3] He died on August 30, 1993, at the age of 56, cared for by his daughter Nina and his companion, Marcia Cross.[1][9]

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.[10]


Year Title Role Notes
1971 Lawman Crowe Wheelwright
1971 Valdez Is Coming R.L. Davis
1972 The Trial of the Catonsville Nine George Mische
1972 Chato's Land Earl Hooker
1973 Kamouraska Georges Nelson
1973 The Friends of Eddie Coyle Dave Foley
1974 The Yakuza Dusty
1975 Rooster Cogburn Hawk
1976 Logan's Run Francis
1976 Captains and the Kings Joseph Armagh 8 episodes
1977 Alibis Paul
1978 The Defection of Simas Kudirka Commander Edward Devon TV movie
1978 Interiors Frederick
1978 Les Misérables Jean Valjean TV movie
1979 Old Boyfriends Jeff Turrin
1979 A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square Pinky
1980 Raise the Titanic Dirk Pitt
1981 The Bunker Albert Speer TV movie
1984 American Playhouse Elmo Bliss Episode: "A Flash of Green"
1984 Dune Duncan Idaho
1985 The Mean Season Alan Delour
1986 The Men's Club Kramer
1986 Solarbabies Grock
1987 The Murder of Mary Phagan Hugh Dorsey 2 episodes
1987 The Secret of My Success Howard Prescott
1987-1988 The Equalizer Harley Gage 10 episodes
1989 Romero Fr. Rutilio Grande, SJ
1990 The Hunt for Red October Jeffrey Pelt
1991 Timebomb Col. Taylor
1991 Delusion Executive in Conference Room
1991 Shout Eugene Benedict
1991 Heaven Is a Playground David Racine
1992 Primary Motive Chris Poulas
1993 Posse Sheriff Bates
1993 Gettysburg Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Armistead Posthumous release


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Richard Jordan, Actor, Director, Producer and Writer, 56, Is Dead". The New York Times. September 1, 1993. Archived from the original on November 27, 2009.
  2. ^ "Morris Marries Mrs. C. H. Jordan", The New York Times, August 2, 1942.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Richard Jordan". Variety. Associated Press. September 1, 1993.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Richard Jordan Filmography". Retrieved May 27, 2023.
  5. ^ "Playbill Generation Henry Fonda 1966". April 9, 2016.
  6. ^ "Old Boyfriends, from left: Talia Shire, Richard Jordan, Nina Jordan, on set, 1979". May 19, 2011.
  7. ^ "An Actor Who Dares to Turn Off TV". Los Angeles Times. February 7, 1978.
  8. ^ a b Holt, Robert (July 20, 1992). "'Killer Angels' Filming Begins Today". The Gettysburg Times. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  9. ^ Diamond, Jamie (February 5, 2007). "Her Midlife Miracle". Good Housekeeping. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  10. ^ Los Angeles Times, October 8, 1993