Stage, smallscreen thesp Carl Gordon dies

He was featured in August Wilson's plays, sitcom 'Roc'

Character actor Carl Gordon, who was featured on the sitcom “Roc,” died July 20 of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in Jetersville, Va. He was 78.

Gordon played the proud black father of Charles S. Dutton’s character on the Fox laffer, which ran for three seasons in 1991-94. A stage vet, he had no trouble doing his scenes when the skein went live for two seasons.

The Chicago Sun-Times in a 1992 interview quoted him as saying, “It feels good. It’s like going back to Broadway.”

On the Rialto he was featured in “The Great White Hope,” “Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death” and two August Wilson plays: “The Piano Lesson,” in which he originated the role of Doaker that he reprised in the Eye’s adaptation, and the 2003 revival of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” starring Dutton and Whoopi Goldberg. He also performed with the Negro Ensemble Company.

Thesp started his smallscreen career on “Sesame Street,” in 1969. Besides “Roc,” Gordon guest starred in dozens of series including “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper,” “The Practice,” “ER,” “Nash Bridges” and “Law and Order.” In film he worked on the John Sayles-helmed “Brother From Another Planet.”

Gordon was working in dead-end jobs and twice divorced when he prayed to figure out his next step, according to the New York Times. A voice within told him to try acting and so he enrolled at the Gene Frankel Theater Workshop, the oldest student and one without a college degree. But he slowly built up his resume.

Survivors include his wife, Jacqueline Alston-Gordon; a son; five daughters; nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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