Richard Jordan

Cussler described Dirk Pitt as a man with a oak-tanned face with firm features that were almost cruel but with deep sea-green eyes with a radiated penetrating kind of warmth. 

Biography (Press Kit)

More and more these days Hollywood seems to be turning to the Broadway stage to recruit its most promising screen talent, and Richard Jordan looms prominently as one of the most gratifying results of this cinematic trend.  His stage background, as well as his more recent movie and television performances, have made him extremely attractive to movie producers with leading man roles to offer.  Current proof is Jordan’s pivotal role in the ITC Films/Marble Arch Productions mammoth film, “Raise The Titanic!”

In the contemporary action-adventure dramas, Jordan is cast as Dirk Pitt, former Untied States navy captain and now a special government agent in charge of finding, then raising to the surface of the North Atlantic, the ill-fated White Star liner Titanic.  He is starred with Jason Robards, David, Anne Archer and Alec Guinness.  The motion picture was produced by William Frye, directed by Jerry Jameson and was written by Adam Kennedy, adapted from the best-selling novel by Clive Cussler.

Jordan’s recent credits include the mini-series, “Captains And the Kings” and “The French Atlantic Affair,” as well as the television movie, “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square.”  His feature film credits include “Interiors,” “Logan’s Run” and “Old Boyfriends.”

Richard Jordan was born on July 19 in New York City and attended school in Manhattan before going to England as an exchange student to study at Sherbourne School, a learning institution established in 900 A.D. and attended by the sons of England’s Alfred The Great.

Returning to the United States following his graduation from Sherbourne, Jordan entered Harvard University and was graduated in three years.  During this period, he also developed a love of acting by performing with off-campus stage companies.

Jordan’s first role was that of the juggler in “Madwoman Of Chaillot.”  his first professional assignment was in new York in the role of Romeo in a Joseph Papp presentation of “Romeo and Juliet,” one of Papp’s Shakespeare in the Park series.  He later portrayed “Lysander” in “A midsummer Night’s Dream,” then went on to complete five seasons of work with the New York Shakespeare Festival.

Jordan’s initial appearance on Broadway was with Art Carney in “Take Her, She’s Mine,” a comedy that ran for a year.

A prime mover in the “off-off-Broadway” trend, Jordan helped to form the Gotham Arts Theater in an old West 43rd Street funeral parlor to present a play somewhat suitably about necrophilia.  He also brought in noted young New York painters to design the sets, an experiment that left something to be desired.  As Jordan put it: “with our weirdo plays against their far-out sets…it was total insanity!”

Jordan’s career quickly elevated in both New York and California when he appeared in teh play, “The Trial  Of The Catonsville Nine.”  In motion pictures, he made his debut in Valdez is Coming,” filmed in Spain, and followed with “The Friends of Eddie Coyle.”

On television, Jordan has appeared in gust-star roles on “Banacek,” “hec Ramsey” and “Kojak.”  His excellent portrayal of an Austrian prince in “Incident At Vichy,” presented on National Educational Television, earned him a co-starring role with Robert Mitchum in the movie, “The Yakuza.”

Strictly the outdoor type, Jordan goes in for skiing, swimming, fishing and tennis, is an accomplished sailor and an avid chess player.  He lives in the Malibu beach section of Los Angeles in an old stone house, where he keeps horses and dogs.

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Some say he may become a new James Bond-type cult figure once “Raise The Titanic!” is released.  Others claim they know he prefers not to do sequels, but single, dramatic roles only.  Meanwhile, Richard Jordan, the subject of Hollywood dinner-table discussions these days, just smiles and quietly goes about his business.  There’s no doubt that he’s close to having it made as a star.

Jordan, a handsome, vigorous six-footer with a wealth of find acting experience in his background, has been enjoying mild success as a leading man in movies and television for the past five years.  His starring parts include the leading role in two popular mini-series, “Captains And Kings” and “The French Atlantic Affair,” and last year he played a lead in the television movie, ” A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.”  His feature films include attraction-getting roles in “Interiors,” “Logan’s Run” and “Old Boyfriends.”

Jordan came to films via the Broadway and off-Broadway stage and his initial screen appearance was in the role of the juggler in “Madwoman of Chaillot.”  He first had impressed in a major stage role in “The Trial Of The Catonsville Nine.”

Although Jordan is loath to talk about it, the fact is that his fan mail, particularly from young females, has been building steadily.  when his name appears on the screen at college campus movie houses, there’s instant squealing from the girls–the inevitable portent of superstardom.  His young fans hung around the set of “Raise The Titanic!” in droves while it was being filmed on such diverse locations as Hollywood and San Diego, California, Washington, D.C., in England and Greece, and even in Valdez, Alaska, the latter despite sub-zero, snowbound weather.  Jordan relates to young people.  He cheerfully signed autographs, talked into their tape recorders and posed for snapshots.

“I think of fans as my friends, rather than my audience,” the tall, blue-eyed actor says.

“I’m not going to try to seek out any group of people as a potential audience.  I do what I can to interpret roles on the screen, and if they like it, good.  I believe young people are more capable of understanding most contemporary art forms.”

While working in front of cameras at St. Ives in England in scenes with the great character actor, Alec Guinness, Jordan happily gave up a rest period to answer questions posed by a half dozen British college-age girls.  His answers were straightforward and candid, which were warmly appreciated.

On the weather:  “I live in California, you know, and in California you get blue skies most of the time.  I like clouds and rain, but I imagine if I had to live here in England the bad weather would depress me.”

Weather aside, automobiles were discussed:  “I drive a Volkswagen,” says Jordan.  “I now also own a jeep because the road to my house on Malibu Beach is a mile of dirt, and when it rains I have to have a four-wheel drive to get in and out.  My first car I remember very well.  It was a  1939 Ford station wagon with wood paneling.  It was very ‘in,’ and I loved it.”

How does Jordan spend his spare time?  “My house –I call it a castle because it is stone and looks like one, although it is quite small–is starting to fall apart and I have to repair it.  Also, bees are swarming inside its walls, and they have to be chased out.

“When I’m not trying to get rid of bees or fighting off the ants that eat the honey from the bees, I swim a lot.  I run on the beach, work out with weights, play with my dogs, play with my cats, take care of my vegetable garden, talk to friends, play chess….but not necessarily in that order.”

Does he consider himself fashion-conscious and what kind of clothes does he like to wear?

“Blue jeans and an old shirt and some cowboy boots suit me fine,” says Jordan.  “I like leather vests.  The good clothes I have are usually movie wardrobe which I can have after a picture is finished filming.  I don’t buy any dress-up clothes in a store if I can help it.”

Then came the obvious question:  What does he think of teenage girls and what does he dislike about them?

“I really hate punk clothing and artificial-looking hair.  I saw a couple of girls recently in London who had hair just sticking up straight.  I don’t know how they did it.  And it was sort of dyed blonde with green streaks!

“When I was fifteen, I didn’t have very much money.  I think my allowance was about a dollar a week.  Of course, I spent it on girls.  I went to work on a farm because the farmer had a pretty daughter.  I’ve been married and divorced, and now I’m going with Blair Brown and we may get married.  That’s what I think about girls.

What about his first appearance before the cameras?  Was he scared?

“Scared?”  Jordan exclaimed.  The first day I worked in front of the film cameras I thought I was going to faint.  It was awful.  I was cast as a rich kid who runs over a couple of people with his car by accident–heavy stuff.  It was on television, and I was only 21.  Once in a while now, I still get the same feeling when they turn the camera on me.

“There are rewards, you know, being an actor.  I get to work with some of the ‘legends,’ like I did a movie with John Wayne and Katherine Hepburn, and two with Robert Mitchum who is an incredible character and interesting to be around.  In this  movie, I’m working with Jason Robards,  a pleasure, and with Alec Guinness, an honor.  this whole sequence in St. Ives takes place between Sir Alec and myself.  It was a great thrill for me.”

The girls asked Jordan who would be the one person in the world he would like to meet above anybody.  The actor laughed.

“I guess the person I’d like to meet most would be William Shakespeare.  Maybe in some other world…”

“Raise The Titanic!” is a contemporary action-adventure drama, depicting the heroic efforts of a team of American scientists and military officers to find the Titanic, sunk after collision with an iceberg on its maiden voyage in the North Atlantic, and raise it to the surface.  On board is a rare mineral needed to power a laser beam defense system for the United States.  Jordan is cast a s Dirk Pitt, a former U.S. Navy captain who heads the salvage team.  The movie will open throughout the U.S. and Canada on Friday, August 1, released by AFD (associated Film Distribution).

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Biography by Kim Elder

Richard Jordan began life as Richard Anson Jordan on July 19, 1938 in New York City, New York.  He started his stage career while attending Hotchkiss in Lakeville, Connecticut.  While there he had the starring role in the school play “Mr. Roberts” and because of his outstanding performance he won a place in the Sharon, Connecticut summer stock company.  Then he continued his career at Harvard University with the Dramatic Club as an actor and a director while earning his B.A.  Then he made is New York Debut with the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1963 where he was cast as Romeo opposite Kathleen Widdoes’ Juliet who would wind up becoming Richard’s first wife.  Richard and Kathleen were married in 1964 and the marriage would last 8 years ending in divorce in 1972.  They have 1 Daughter, Nina who was born in 1966 and she would later co-star with her Dad in Old Boyfriends.  Richard would stay with the New York Shakespeare Festival for 8 years.  But during that time he also did Broadway and in one play titled “Generation” he would co-star with Hollywood legend Henry Fonda and this was in 1966 at the Morosco Theatre.  Also during this time he started making Guest Star appearances in several TV Series including The Defenders, Naked City, The Wide Country, Empire and Ben Casey.  Then in 1970 he would make his movie debut in the western, Lawman, starring Burt Lancaster.  But even after he started making
movies he never turned his back on the stage and during the 1970s he was the managing artist for the L.A. Actors Theater in Los Angeles where he also wrote and produced his own plays.  He won an Obie for his acting in the Vaclav Havel play “A Private View” and he won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Distinguished Directing of another Vaclav Havel play “Largo Desolato” and this was in 1987.  Then during the latter part of both of their careers, Richard directed fellow Shakespeare actor and friend, Raul Julia in Macbeth at the Public Theatre in New York.

He also made his mark on the small and big screen where he won the Golden Globe for Best TV Drama Actor for his outstanding performance of Joseph Armagh in the Classic Mini-Series Captains And The Kings.  One of his proudest achievements during film career was Gettysburg.  He was first cast for the part of General Lewis A. Armistead at the very beginning of the project which took 15 years for it to get filmed.  He was close friends with Michael Shaara who wrote the novel, The Killer Angels that the movie was based on and Richard helped with the screenplay.  So Richard contributed a lot more to the movie “Gettysburg” than most people realize.

Richard was the Grandson of Judge Learned Hand who was a U.S. Second Circuit Judge for the Court of Appeals for the states of New York, Vermont and Connecticut.  And he was perhaps one of the greatest judges that ever sat on the bench and was not a part of the Supreme Court but should have been.

His Stepfather, Newbold Morris was a member of the New York City Council during Mayor LaGuardia’s administration.  He was also an avid gardener and a master carpenter where he built his own furniture.

On August 30, 1993, in his final, prominent screen performance, as Brig. General Lewis Armistead in Gettysburg, was shown after his untimely death from a brain tumor. He had begun filming The Fugitive when his fatal illness forced him to leave the production.

FilmographyThanks goes to the Internet Movie Database again.