The Ward M. Canaday Center

for Special Collections

The University of Toledo

Finding Aid

Steve Gordon Papers, 1971-1982

MSS-123

Size: 1.5 linear feet

Provenance: Received from Steve Gordon’s brother, Dr. Michael Gordon, 9 September, 1997.

Access: open

Related Collections: Jamie Farr Papers, MSS-024, Canaday Center.

Processing Note:

Copyright: The literary rights to this collection are assumed to rest with the person(s) responsible for the production of the particular items within the collection, or with their heirs or assigns.  Researchers bear full legal responsibility for the acquisition to publish from any part of said collection per Title 17, United States Code.  The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections may reserve the right to intervene as intermediary at its own discretion.

 

Completed by: Benjamin Grillot, October 1998

 

Biographical Sketch

            Steve Gordon was born in 1938 in the affluent Toledo suburb of Ottawa Hills, Ohio.  After graduating Ottawa Hills High School in 1957 he elected not to heed the advice of one of his English teachers to become a writer, deciding instead to major in History and Political Science at Ohio State University, from which he graduated in 1961.

            Upon graduation he moved to San Francisco, where, after a series of odd jobs, he became a successful advertising copywriter.  He continued his advertising career in New York City, where, goaded by friends to back up his claims of being able to write a better play or film than the ones he watched, he wrote a play that was produced on Broadway under Carl Reiner’s direction.  Though the play was unsuccessful and quickly folded, the experience led Gordon to writing and directing comedy for television programs.  His work appeared on such shows as “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Chico and the Man,” “Barney Miller,” as well as a show of his own creation “The Practice” which ran from 1975 through 1976.

            His first successful screenplay was produced in 1977 under the title “The One and Only” (originally titled “Mr. Lovely”), starring Henry Winkler.  This was followed by 1981’s critically and publicly acclaimed “Arthur,” which Gordon wrote and directed.  Starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minelli, it won two Academy Awards and brought Gordon his highest level of fame.

            Tragically, a year later, in November of 1982, Steve Gordon died of a heart attack in New York City at age 44, cutting short his promising career.

 

Scope and Content Note

The Steve Gordon Papers, 1971-1982, are comprised primarily of typescripts for various films, plays, and television series written by Mr. Gordon.  Also included is a deposition, taken in a lawsuit against Mr. Gordon, a collection of newspaper clippings related to “Arthur,” a 1981 New York Magazine, as well as several promotional materials.

            The collection is divided into three primary series.  Series 1 is arranged alphabetically, while series 2 is arranged both alphabetically and chronologically.  [S1] Typescripts, contains various drafts of films, television programs, and plays written by Mr. Gordon.  Also included are a group of unfinished pieces of various lengths.  These are grouped together and filed under the heading “Various Typescripts.” [S2] Printed Materials, contains a deposition taken in a 1978 lawsuit against Mr. Gordon.  Also included in this second series is a collection of newspaper clippings related to “Arthur,” as well as a 1981 issue of New York Magazine containing an article on Gordon.  [S3] Photographs, is comprised of promotional photographs taken of Gordon in 1981 in Paris, France.

Series List

S1

Typescripts

1971-1978, 1.2 linear feet

Arranged alphabetically

Included in this series are various typewritten drafts of films, television programs, and plays written by Mr. Gordon.  Also included are a group of unfinished pieces which vary in length.

 

S2

Printed Materials

1978-1982, .2 linear feet

Arranged alphabetically and chronologically

This series includes a deposition relating to a 1978 lawsuit regarding intellectual copyright, a 1981 issue of New York Magazine, and a collection of newspaper clippings related to “Arthur.”

 

S3

Photographs

1981, .1 linear feet

The Photographs series consists of three publicity photographs taken of Gordon in Paris, France.

Arrangement

Box

Folder

Folder Title

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

 

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

 

 

28

29

30

 

 

31

 

S1. Typescripts (1.2 linear inches)

       Arthur, (n.d.), (1 of 2)

       Arthur, (n.d.), ( 1 of 2)

       Big Eddy, (n.d.), (1 of 2)

       Big Eddy, (n.d.), (2 of 2)

       Charley’s Back In Town, 1978

       Mr. Lovely, 1977, (1 of 3)

       Mr. Lovely, 1977, (2 of 3)

         Mr. Lovely, 1977, (3 of 3)

       Mr. Zeke, (n.d.)

       The One and Only (See Mr. Lovely, Box 1, folders 6-8)

       The Practice – “Carlotta”, 1976

       The Practice – “The Doctor’s Doctor”, 1976

       The Practice – “The Dream”, 1976

       The Practice – “Helen’s Beau”, 1976

       The Practice – “It’s All in the Head”, 1976

       The Practice – “Judy Sinclair”, 1976, (1 of 2)

       The Practice – “Judy Sinclair”, 1976, (2 of 2)

       The Practice – “Love and Death”, 1975

       The Practice – “Mulligan”, 1976

       The Practice – Revised First Draft, 1975, (1 of 4)

       The Practice -  Revised First Draft, 1975, (2 of 4)

       The Practice -  Revised First Draft, 1975, (3 of 4)

       The Practice -  Revised First Draft, 1975, (4 of 4)

       The Roast, (n.d.)

       Tough to Get Help, 1971

       Various Unfinished Typescripts, (n.d.) (1 of 3)

       Various Unfinished Typescripts, (n.d.) (2 of 3)

       Various Unfinished Typescripts, (n.d.) (3 of 3)

 

S2.  Printed Materials

       Deposition, 1978

       New York Magazine Article, 1981

       Newspaper clippings, 1982

 

S3.  Photographs

       Promotional Photographs, 1981

 

 

 

 

 

Last Updated: 1/3/12