Gordon Davidson (director)

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Gordon Davidson
Born(1933-05-07)May 7, 1933
DiedOctober 2, 2016(2016-10-02) (aged 83)
OccupationStage director, film director, philanthropist
Judith Swiller (m. 1959)
  • Joseph Davidson
  • Alice Gordon

Gordon Davidson (May 7, 1933 – October 2, 2016) was an American stage and film director and the founding artistic director of Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles.

Early life[edit]

Gordon Davidson was born on May 7, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Cornell University in 1956, studying electrical engineering, and received a master's in theater from Case Western Reserve University in 1957.


Moving to Los Angeles in 1963 to serve as Director of the Theatre Group based at UCLA, Gordon Davidson was selected in 1967 to be Artistic Director of the then new Mark Taper Forum and staged as the inaugural show The Devils followed by In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Davidson directed over 40 plays including The Trial of the Catonsville Nine and Murderous Angels in 1971, Children of a Lesser God in 1982 and Stuff Happens in 2005. He also directed the film version The Trial of the Catonsville Nine in 1972 and a TV film called The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald in 1977. According to his Los Angeles Times Obituary, Davidson produced over 300 plays for the Theater Center Group.

In 1977, Gordon Davidson earned Best Director Tony Award for his staging on Broadway of The Shadow Box, which he first staged at Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. The Taper won the Tony that year for Outstanding Regional Theater.

In 2003, he made a brief cameo appearance as himself, directing a play starring James Earl Jones and Jack McFarland, in an episode of Will & Grace.

Until 2005, he worked as artistic director for the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles. He is fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Together with dancer and producer Felisa Vanoff (1925–2014), he established the Salon at the Taper, an annual charity dinner in honor of a lyricist.[1][2] Each year, the event was hosted by Michael Feinstein and took place in Los Angeles, California.[1][2] The proceeds went to Nick's Tix, a non-profit organization selling low-cost tickets to students, seniors and the disabled for all performances at the Los Angeles Music Center.[1][2]

Personal life and death[edit]

He was married to Judi Davidson. Their son is the director Adam Davidson. He died on October 2, 2016. He is interred at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, Ca. [3][4]


  1. ^ a b c Carmel Dagan, Felisa Vanoff, Dancer, Patron of the Arts, Dies at 89, Variety, June 10, 2014
  2. ^ a b c Felisa Vanoff, Former Dancer and Choreographer, Dies at 89, The Hollywood Reporter, 6/9/2014
  3. ^ Grimes, William (3 October 2016). "Gordon Davidson, Artistic Director of Mark Taper Forum, Dies at 83". The New York Times. p. B8.
  4. ^ Boehm, Mike (3 October 2016). "Gordon Davidson, Mark Taper Forum founder and L.A.'s 'Moses of theater,' dies at 83". Los Angeles Times.

External links[edit]