Susan Gordon, Stage and Child Film Actress, Dies at 62

By Robert Simonson
21 Dec 2011

Susan Gordon
Susan Gordon

Susan Gordon, who was a child actress in a number of infamous "B" movies in the 1950s and '60s, died Dec. 11. The cause was cancer. She was 62.

Susan Gordon was born July 27, 1949, in St. Paul, MN. She was two when she made her first commercial in Minnesota, for a candy company spot directed by her father, Bert I. Gordon, a maker of "B" sci-fi and fantasy movies such as "The Amazing Colossal Man" and "Earth vs. the Spider." (His films were later a staple on the series "Mystery Science Theatre 3000.") She made her film debut in her father's 1958 movie, "Attack of the Puppet People," in which a deranged puppet-master creates a machine that shrinks people down to a few inches.

The job came by accident. The young girl who was set to play a Girl Scout with a broken dolly fell ill. Susan, cute and blonde and eager, filled in, and her impromptu work caught the attention of Hollywood agents. In 1959 she starred in a live TV performance of "Miracle on 34th Street" with Ed Wynn. That same year, she starred in the film "The Five Pennies," playing a young version of the character Tuesday Weld played, and singing opposite Danny Kaye, who played a jazz trumpeter.

She also starred in in her dad's "The Boy and the Pirates" and "Tormented." Television work included episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Gunsmoke," "The New Breed," "The Danny Thomas Show," "My Three Sons" and "Route 66."



Ms. Gordon is perhaps best remembered for a 1962 "Twilight Zone" episode called "The Fugitive," in which she befriends the ruler of a planet who is hiding out on earth. When he is compelled to return to his kingdom, she pleads to go with him to escape her abusive home life.

Coming out of a decade-long retirement, Ms. Gordon appeared Off-Broadway in 2002 in A Magic Place in a New Time. Previous to that, she was an understudy for the long-running hit Nunsense!

She is survived by her husband, six children, and five grandchildren, as well as her mother, Flora Lang; father, Bert I. Gordon; and two sisters, Carol and Patricia.