American director Bert I. Gordon, known for his low-budget creature features that brought super-sized monsters to drive-in cinemas in the middle of the 20th century, collapsed at his Beverly Hills home on Wednesday and later died. He was 100.
Patricia, Gordon’s daughter, confirmed his passing to The New York Times. Gordon’s science fiction B movies in Atomic Age America were eye-popping apocalypse spectacles that gave form to the nation’s nuclear fears. Gordon produced, directed, and wrote more than 25 films over the course of a 60-year career.
Some of the most famous is “Village of the Giants” (1965), “How to Succeed With S*x” (1970), and “Empire of the Ants” (1977). Two of his movies starred Orson Welles and Ida Lupino: “Necromancy” (1972) and “The Food of the Gods” (1976).
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Gordon’s work, like that of many cult filmmakers, initially received mostly negative reviews and moderate commercial success but has since gained a deeper critical appreciation.
Gordon was also a well-known visual effects artist, he used rear projection to great effect in creating giant rats, bugs, chickens, and even teenagers.
The young Gordon, who was born on September 24, 1922, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was given a 16 mm film camera as a present. Gordon met his future wife, Flora Lang, at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
After he dropped out to join the Army Air Forces during World War II, they frequently worked together on his features. Before separating in 1979, they had three daughters: Patricia, Susan, and Carol.
Gordon began his career in the 1950s as a production assistant on the CBS series “Racket Squad,” and later went on to serve as the show’s producer, cinematographer, and supervising editor.
Gordon tied the knot with Eva Marie Marklstorfer in 1980. Christina, their daughter, is the result of their union.
In addition, Gordon wrote a memoir titled “The Amazing Colossal Worlds of Mr. B.I.G.: An Autobiographical Journey” that came out in 2010.
His wife Eva Marie, their daughter Christina, and Gordon’s daughters Patricia and Carol all survive him. He lost his daughter Susan in 2011.