Charles Allen Pendleton|
July 29, 1923
September 20, 2003 (aged 80)|
Marina Del Rey, California
|Occupation||Film actor, bodybuilder|
Charles Allen Pendleton was born in Denver, Colorado, and began working out in his Denver neighbourhood to deal with his tough companions. During World War II he served in the U.S. Army in the Battle of the Bulge where he was taken prisoner of war. He later obtained a degree at the University of Southern California under the G.I. Bill. He became a high school teacher and guidance counselor in Los Angeles, where due to his physique he was given classes containing many delinquent students.
Following a return enlistment for the Korean War, he found film extra work in movies such as Prisoner of War, The Man with the Golden Arm and Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments, where he and his friend Joe Gold dragged Charlton Heston's Moses to Pharaoh Yul Brynner. Mae West chose him to appear in her nightclub act as part of her "buffed all-male chorus line".
He was one of the American bodybuilder-actors who migrated to Italy in the wake of Steve Reeves' success in the 1958 film Hercules after he sent a photo to an Italian producer who signed him on a contract. Prior to going to Italy, he saw a clairvoyant who asked him if he had ever been known by the name of Gordon Mitchell. He replied no, but on arrival in Rome, Mitchell was given his new name. He found work first in sword and sandal films such as Sinbad, Seven Slaves Against the World, Treasure of the Petrified Forest (1965), then in Spaghetti Westerns such as Beyond the Law and Savage Guns. Mitchell also appeared in Fellini Satyricon (1969), directed by Federico Fellini.
From the early 1970s onwards, he started to diversify into everything from horror (Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks - 1974), Nazi exploitation (Achtung! The Desert Tigers! -1977), sexploitation (Porno-Erotic Western - 1979), French criminal comedy (The Umbrella Coup - 1980), and post-apocalyptic films (Endgame - 1983). He also appeared in the bizarre 1982 Israeli adaptation of H. Rider Haggard's She as "Hector." The film was directed by Avi Nesher and co-starred Sandahl Bergman.
Mitchell was close friends with fellow American expatriate actors Richard Harrison, Mike Monty (he appeared in a number of films with both and shared an apartment with Monty in Italy during the 1960s), and John P. Dulaney. Like Monty, Harrison and Dulaney, Mitchell acted in low-budget action films in the Philippines during the 1980s, having roles in Commando Invasion and SFX Retaliator for director John Gale.
He returned to the United States in the late 1980s and retired from acting, but kept making occasional film appearances until his death from an apparent heart attack in Marina Del Rey, California, aged 80.
- The Ten Commandments (1956), as Egyptian Guard (uncredited)
- Li'l Abner (1959), as Muscleman Rufe (uncredited)
- Spartacus (1960), as Gladiator (uncredited)
- Atlas Against the Cyclops (as Mitchell Gordon) (1961), as Maciste
- The Giant of Metropolis (1961), as Obro
- The Centurion (1961), as Gen. Metellus
- Julius Caesar Against The Pirates (1962), as Hamar, the Pirate
- Vulcan, Son of Jupiter (1962), as Pluto
- The Fury of Achilles (1962), as Achilles
- Kerim, Son of the Sheik (1962)
- Brennus, Enemy of Rome (1963), as Brennus
- Seven Slaves Against the World (1964)
- Erik, il vichingo (1965), as Sven / Bjarni
- 3 Bullets for Ringo (1966)
- Born to Kill (1967)
- Death on the Run (1967)
- Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), as Stable Sergeant
- John the Bastard (1967)
- All on the Red (1968), as Erikson
- Beyond the Law (1968)
- The Killer Likes Candy (1968)
- Trusting Is Good... Shooting Is Better (1968)
- Fellini Satyricon (1969), as Robber
- Sartana the Gravedigger (1969)
- The Arizona Kid (1970)
- Dead Men Don't Make Shadows (1970)
- Django and Sartana Are Coming... It's the End (1970)
- Drummer of Vengeance (1971)
- A Barrel Full of Dollars (1971)
- Frankenstein 80 (1972)
- The Big Bust Out (1972)
- My Name Is Shanghai Joe (1973)
- Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks (1974)
- Il domestico (1974)
- Oil! (1977), as Joe
- Dr. Jekyll Likes Them Hot (1979)
- The Iron Hand of the Mafia (1980), as Don Nicola
- She (1982)
- Rush (1983)
- Endgame (1983)
- White Fire (1985)
- Operation Nam (1986)
- Myrna Oliver (September 25, 2003). "Gordon Mitchell, 80; Bodybuilder Made 'Sword and Sandal' B Movies". Los Angeles Times.
- Tyler, Dick & Draper, Dave, West Coast Bodybuilding Scene: The Golden Age, p. 266, 2004, On Target Publications
- Cinema Nocturna website