Gale Gordon was a veteran slow-burn comedic actor of radio and television best remembered for his roles in several of Lucille Ball's long-running series, including the bombastic banker Theodore J. Mooney of "The Lucy Show." The actor had a long association with Ball in her many television series.
Gordon, the son of British actress Gloria Gordon, began working with Ball on "My Favorite Husband" in radio and on the television version in 1953-54. The show was the precursor to the classic "I Love Lucy," in which Gordon played the Tropicana boss of bandleader husband Ricky (then Ball's real-life husband, Desi Arnaz).
After the Arnaz couple's divorce, Gordon stuck with Ball, first as her banker Mooney in "The Lucy Show" from 1962-68, and then as her blustery brother-in-law boss Harrison Carter in the subsequent "Here's Lucy," which ran from 1968-74. Gordon played Curtis McGibbon in Ball's final attempt at series television, "Life with Lucy," which aired for two months in 1986.
His familiar dead calm followed by exploding outrage also marked the persona of his characters in two other early television series — as Mr. Wilson, next-door neighbor of "Dennis the Menace" in 1959-63 and as Osgood Conklin in the series that moved him from radio to television, "Our Miss Brooks," with Eve Arden in 1952-56.
Times entertainment columnist Hal Humphrey, describing Gordon's trademark behavior in 1962, wrote: "Gale lets his slow burn smolder for several seconds, during which time he will speak in the calmest of tones. When the explosion finally comes, it is as sudden and loud as a cannon shot, and leaves his audience as weak and hysterical from the suspense as from the climax."
By the time he was drafted into the Army in World War II, Gordon had done more than 5,000 radio performances and was appearing on 35 shows.
Gordon, who had lived for many years on his Tub Canyon Ranch in Borrego Springs, died of cancer in the Redwood Terrace Health Center in Escondido.