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Gerald Gordon

Longtime actor Gerald Gordon, who was one of daytime TV’s most popular players for several decades, died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, L.A., following a lengthy illness. He was 67.

Gordon, who won an Emmy in 1976 for outstanding actor in a daytime drama special for his portrayal of Andrew Jackson in NBC’s “First Ladies Diaries: Rachel Jackson,” enjoyed a long career as a TV soap opera thesp.

He found his niche in 1964 when he portrayed the hot-tempered neurosurgeon Nick Bellini on NBC’s daytimer “The Doctors.” He is credited with creating soaps’ first and quintessential anti-hero. For more than a decade, his face was one of the most featured on daytime TV magazine covers.

Following his Emmy win in 1976, Gordon became one of the highest-paid soap actors when he joined ABC’s “General Hospital,” which he was featured on for three years. He returned during the 1982-83 season.

A Chicago native, Gordon studied acting with Viola Spolin at Northwestern U. before moving to New York to study with Lee Strasberg. He worked on Broadway and Off Broadway in such shows as “Compulsion,” “The Private Life of the Master Race” and “The Threepenny Opera.”

He essayed numerous roles on TV series including “Have Gun Will Travel,” “Naked City,” “Twilight Zone,” “Highway to Heaven,” “One Day at a Time” “Knight Rider” and most recently “Bay Watch” and “Law and Order.”

He also portrayed F. Lee Bailey in “The Patty Hearst Story” and appeared in “One Man’s Way,” “Mirage” and “Force Five.”

He is survived by his wife, screenwriter Nancy McCormick, a brother and a sister.

A memorial service is pending.

Family suggests donations be made to the Actors’ Fund, New York.

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