The Working Actor
This is the sixth in a continuing feature at IndustryCentral profiling "The Working Actor".
William Shakespeare said "There are no small parts.....". William Shatner may have said it too, but the longhair with the tights was first, or so the reports go. In this feature we will explore what it really means to be an actor working in Motion Pictures and Television.
Broad public acknowledgment may have eluded some who find their way to these pages, or perhaps they may have brushed against what is referred to as stardom by virtue of one or more remarkable performances. However for many, the rewards of plying their craft in a field which has allowed them to earn a living may exceed the burdens of public acclaim. Given the chance, some in this clan might prefer the longevity offered by anonymity over the potential for short lived fame.
These individuals, either by design or fate, have managed to sustain a career by crafting performances which rendered them a good casting choice. They are usually thought of as a face you recognize, but you just can't get the name past the tip of your tongue.
Most of these folks have spent countless hours on stage in theaters ranging from 20 seats to 2000, building characters from the works of Ibsen, to Eliot, to Williams, to yes even Shakespeare, and so many of the modern Playwrights. They have rounded their skills doing drama, comedy, & musicals. Their work is a serious venture.
These people have given us screen performances which quite often were the catalyst that brought an Oscar or Emmy to another and yet they continue to work as "Characters" or "Co-Stars" without the trophies and plaques adorning their mantle.
Eve Gordon
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Eve Gordon's most recent work was starring in last month's ABC TV movie about the Partridge Family. Eve played Shirley Jones. She also has a recurring role as Felicity's mother on the popular TV series "Felicity". Other episodic work she's done includes "The Practice" and "Party of Five". Eve has starred in three series on Network Television. The first was "Almost Grown", with Tim Daly, created by David Chase, who went on to create "The Sopranos". Eve feels "That was my favorite role, as I played a woman from age 16 to 40, and all the years in between -- an actor's dream".

Next was "The Powers That Be", with arguably the best cast on TV (John Forsythe, Holland Taylor, Robin Bartlett, Peter MacNicol, David Hyde Pierce, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Valerie Mahaffey, Elizabeth Berridge). Eve was pregnant during that, and took some time off after. When her daughter was three months old, she included "The Good Life" in her growing career, with John Caponera and Drew Carey. "Whatever happened to him?" Eve muses.

Eve Gordon's first movie role was when she was still in school, in "The World According to Garp". "I had a good little scene with Robin Williams and an important plot function". That was also the last time Ms. Gordon had brown hair! (ALMOST) Her next role, starring in "Gemini" for Showtime, was directed by Barnet Kelman, who asked her to dye her hair blonde. "I'll always be amazed he didn't simply hire a blonde", she said.

Her other film roles have been in "Avalon", "Paradise", and "Leaving Normal" "- oh, wait, I have brown hair in that", she remembers, "Ed Zwick asked me to dye my hair brown to more closely resemble Meg Tilly, as I was playing her sister." She also dyed her hair brown in "Paradise", because the only other actors in the film (Melanie Griffith, Don Johnson) were also blonde! She got to keep my preferred hair color for "I'll Be Home For Christmas", last year's holiday film which has just come out on video.

The television movies she's done, besides "Come On Get Happy: The Partridge Family Story", include "A Thousand Men and A Baby" as Richard Thomas's wife, "Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves", co-starring with Rick Moranis, "Switched at Birth" as Brian Kerwin's wife, "The Heidi Chronicles" as Peter Friedman's wife, "Diedre Hall's Story" as her surrogate,, "The Boys" as James Woods' girlfriend, "The Whereabouts of Jenny" as Ed O'Neill's ex, and "A Woman Named Jackie" as Marilyn Monroe. Eve jokes, "I guess you want all your Actors of the Month to have played Marilyn" (see November 1999)

Like so many of our "Working Actors", Eve's beginnings were in the theatre. She studied at the Yale Drama School and did thirty plays there (some directed by John Madden), and kept at it for five years more around the country and on Broadway. Many of her stage performances included musicals "I'm a pretty good lyric soprano", but her absolute favorite is Cunegonde in "Candide" at the Goodman in Chicago. But then she also loved Richard Foreman's "Africanis Instructus" with music by the brilliant Stanley Silverman; She played the lead in that as well, and went to Europe on tour after performing in New York. Also in that cast was Keith David. "You should hear his singing voice - wow!" She exclaims.

Eve has done Brecht-Weill musicals, and many original plays by Jon Robin Baitz, A. R. Gurney, Jr., Albert Innaurato, Harry Kondoleon, Keith Reddin, John Guare, and other playwrights. Eve has been directed by Dan Sullivan at Seattle Rep, Peter Sellers at the Guthrie, Josephine Abady at the Long Wharf and the Berkshire Theatre Festival. "There's more", she tells us, "but even my agents tell me to cut it short on the theatre resume." What a shame, we say!

"I'm really happy with my career; it's exactly what I want. I have a great husband, two amazing little girls, and a nice house and security." Eve feels that if she could do anything over up to this point, she would have changed agents more frequently, but that's just because she's curious. She has actually have been with the same agency for her entire career! she feels that she would have worked more if she'd hopped around a little. "But then I might have become famous, and I wouldn't have my lovely life just the way I like it."

Jeri Scott
(323) 310-887-1770

Eve Gordon's advice to the aspiring actor:
"I'll just pass on what Joe Grifasi said to me when I was in a play at Yale, just starting out: 'Always live in an apartment you can afford on unemployment insurance checks, and never be afraid of making your agents mad at you.'

If you're really just starting out, I'd also advise setting yourself a realistic set of goals in a time-limited way -- write down your call-backs, test deals, etc and look it all over in two years. If you haven't gotten anywhere, try to be realistic. Develop skills in other jobs you would enjoy.

Don't let pride take you anywhere. Follow the work."

Eve Gordon's Credits (partial)
  • Come On, Get Happy: The Partridge Family Story (1999) (TV) .... Shirley Jones/Shirley Partridge
  • I'll Be Home for Christmas (1998) .... Carolyn
  • Thousand Men and a Baby, A (1997) (TV) .... Gen Keenan
  • Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves (1997) (V) .... Diane Szalinski
  • Never Say Never: The Deidre Hall Story (1995) (TV) .... Robin
  • Dad, the Angel & Me (1995) (TV) .... Maggie
  • Heidi Chronicles, The (1995) (TV) .... Lisa
  • "Good Life, The" (1994)TV Series .... Maureen Bowman
  • Secret Passion of Robert Clayton, The (1992) (TV)
  • "Powers That Be, The" (1992)TV Series .... Jordan Miller
  • Leaving Normal (1992) .... Emily
  • "Woman Named Jackie, A" (1991) (mini)TV Series .... Marilyn Monroe
  • Switched at Birth (1991) (TV) .... Darlena
  • Boys, The (1991) (TV) .... Amanda... aka Guys, The (1991) (TV)
  • Whereabouts of Jenny, The (1991) (TV) .... Theresa
  • Paradise (1991) .... Rosemary
  • Avalon (1990) .... Dottie Kirk "Almost Grown" (1988)TV Series .... Suzie Long Foley
  • Almost Grown (1988) (TV)
  • World According to Garp, The (1982) .... Marge Tallworth
    TV Guest Appearances
  • "Love Boat: The Next Wave, The" (1998)playing "Ann Patrick" in episode: "Such Sweet Dreams" (episode # 2.15) 3/19/1999
  • "Practice, The" (1997)playing "Janet Walsh" in episode: "Trench Work" (episode # 3.7) 11/15/1998
  • "Felicity" (1998)playing "Barbara Porter" in episode: "Last Stand, The" (episode # 1.1) 10/6/1998
  • "Practice, The" (1997) in episode: "Reasons to Believe" (episode # 3.2) 10/4/1998
  • "Felicity" (1998)playing "Barbara Porter" in episode: "Pilot" (episode # 1.0) 9/29/1998
  • "Party of Five" (1994)playing "Jeanie" in episode: "Of Human Bonding" (episode # 4.14) 1/21/1998
  • "Something So Right" (1996)playing "Lorraine Hadley"

    For more info and credits see IMDb


Barbara Niven [November 1999]
Barbara Niven
November 1999
Bill Lucking [October 1999]
Bill Lucking
October 1999
Richard Roundtree [September 1999]
Richard Roundtree
September 1999
Pat Harrington [August 1999]
Pat Harrington
August 1999
Robert donner [July 1999]
Robert Donner
July 1999

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