Jack Gordon (entertainment manager)
Gordon in 1998.
Jack Leon Gordon|
November 10, 1939
Springfield, Illinois, U.S.
April 19, 2005 65) (aged|
Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.
|Cause of death||Cancer|
Palm Valley View Cemetery|
Las Vegas, Nevada
Samuel Isaac Gordon|
Clifford William Johnson (1983)
Ethel L. Moxley
(m. 1961; div. 1972)
La Toya Jackson
(m. 1989; div. 1997)
Jack Leon Gordon (November 10, 1939 – April 19, 2005), also known as Samuel Isaac Gordon and Clifford William Johnson, was an American businessman and entertainment manager. Gordon was most known as the former manager and later husband of American singer–songwriter La Toya Jackson. In addition to being Jackson's manager, Gordon later served as the manager of American tabloid subject later turned porn actor John Wayne Bobbitt. Gordon died of cancer on April 19, 2005 at age 65.
Life and career
Early life and criminal allegations
Jack Leon Gordon was born in Springfield, Illinois, to Abraham Gordon, a Jewish Russian immigrant, and Faye Stein, an Illinois native of Jewish heritage. While some sources cite Gordon's birthplace as Springfield, Illinois, he claimed Las Vegas as his birthplace in 1983 when he changed his name in 1981 to Samuel Isaac Gordon. However, in 1983, when he again changed his name, this time to Clifford William Johnson, he said he was born in Springfield. In the 1970s, Gordon ran arcades at Circus Circus in Las Vegas. He later bought controlling interest in a Los Angeles massage parlor called Circus Maximus in West Hollywood. Gordon subsequently bought two additional massage parlors, one in Signal Hill and the other in Costa Mesa, California. In 1984 a conviction for pandering in Los Angeles resulted in three months probation.
Bribe offer to Gaming Commission chairman Harry Reid
In 1978, Jack Gordon offered $12,000 to then-chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission Harry Reid to approve two new, carnival-like gaming devices (Flip-A-Winna and Penny Falls) for casino use. Gordon believed the games would bring him more than $100 million in profits. Reid notified the FBI and allowed agents to videotape a meeting with Gordon in his office. At the point where Reid asked, "Is this the money?" FBI agents burst in to arrest Gordon. Reid, a former boxer, exclaimed "You son of a bitch, you tried to bribe me!" and attempted to strangle Gordon, before startled agents pulled him off. Gordon was convicted in federal court in 1979 and sentenced to six months in prison. In 1981, Reid's wife found a bomb attached to one of their cars, a bomb Reid suspects was placed by Gordon.
Management and marriage to La Toya Jackson
In the mid-1980s, Gordon began to manage La Toya Jackson alongside her father, Joseph. In the late 1980s, he took over her management completely. He married her in Reno, Nevada on September 5, 1989, claiming that it was for her own protection against kidnapping by the Jackson family. La Toya Jackson states that this was both unplanned and against her wishes. According to Jackson; "I told him, 'No way, Jack! I can't marry you. You know what marriage means to me. I've never been in love; I don't even date.... It's not right. I don't love you. I don't have feelings for you.'" Jackson claims to have tried to run out of the chapel three times but bodyguard Antonio Rossi grabbed her saying, "There's some things you have to do. Even if you don't want to." Jackson told Ebony magazine the marriage was "strictly in name only. It has never been consummated." Six months into the marriage, Jackson asked Gordon for an annulment in Italy. In response, she claims that Gordon repeatedly bashed her head against the side of a table, saying that he would never let her go. Paparazzi subsequently photographed Jackson with black eyes, which Gordon claimed was caused by intruders. From this point forward, Jackson lost all contact with her family and wrote her autobiography, La Toya: Growing up in the Jackson Family, which accused her father of child abuse.
Gordon sometimes hired bodyguards to watch La Toya and she claims that he would never allow her to speak to or see her family. La Toya's father Joseph stated in his book The Jacksons that he believed Gordon brainwashed her and made her fearful of her own family. Jackson's mother Katherine also agreed that La Toya had been brainwashed while Gordon claimed that Katherine had tried to kill La Toya. Sister Janet concurred with her parents saying at the time, "I think this guy who is with her has brainwashed her and made her like this... He keeps her away from the family, and now he's brainwashed her so much she keeps herself away from us." In 1993, in their New York home, Gordon allegedly beat La Toya repeatedly with a heavy brass dining room chair, leaving Jackson with contusions on her face, arms, legs and back in addition to a black eye, lip and chin swollen to "the size of a clenched fist," requiring 12 stitches in her mouth. Jackson told reporters, "he kicked me in the mouth (and) the boot went right up under my lip . . . all the way through the skin and burst my lip." Jackson supposedly lost consciousness during the beating, leading Gordon to believe she was dead. She recalled, "He called his friends and said, 'She's dead. I killed her,' because I was lying in a puddle of blood and I was out." Gordon was arrested but then released, claiming self-defense after La Toya "came at" him with a knife. He then declared to the press that he was undergoing radiation treatments for cancer.
In December 1993, Gordon hastily arranged a press conference in Tel Aviv, where he had Jackson read a statement that she believed sex abuse allegations against her younger brother Michael were true. She stated, "I cannot and will not be a silent collaborator in his crimes against young children... Forget about the superstar, forget about the icon. If he was any other 35-year-old man who was sleeping with little boys, you wouldn't like this guy". Gordon claimed La Toya had proof which she was prepared to disclose for a fee of $500,000. A bidding war between US and UK tabloids began, but fell through when they realized that her revelations were not what she had claimed them to be. According to La Toya, Gordon threatened to have siblings Michael and Janet killed if she didn't follow his orders. Under Gordon's management, Jackson's career declined, as he booked her disreputable jobs such as spokesperson for the Psychic Friends Network. Due to Gordon's steady stream of publicity stunts Jackson had become a hate figure of sorts. In 1996, Gordon attempted to force Jackson to dance at a Reading PA strip club. She refused to do so and in return, was booed and heckled by the predominantly male crowd. When Jackson became aware that Gordon was planning to feature her in a pornographic film, she decided she'd had enough. Jackson phoned brother Randy, who flew to New York City to help her escape while Gordon was out. Days later, La Toya filed for divorce.
Accusations about the Jackson family
While La Toya was in seclusion for four years, Gordon continued to make accusations about the Jackson family; he claimed that La Toya's younger brother Michael had performed monkey sacrifice rituals, abused Bubbles the chimpanzee, and even accused him of forcing Lisa Marie Presley to marry him. In 2002, Gordon did interviews advertising his tell-all book of the Jackson family entitled The Jackson Family: The True Story Of The Most Powerful Family In The Music Industry. The entire family — including his former wife — stated that his allegations were "pure fantasy."
FBI wiretaps in 1994, linked Gordon to Genovese crime family member James "Little Jimmy" Ida. Gordon was taped arranging for mobsters to shadow Jackson on a trip to Russia. Gordon paid the group $1,500 a month for at least two years to protect Jackson from "shakedowns" by rival mobsters. Gordon also employed the services of organized crime defense attorney and former Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman.
Other entertainment clients
Jack Gordon had few other entertainment clients apart from La Toya Jackson. Before Gordon became La Toya's co-manager with her father in the late 1980s (and eventually manager) it was widely known he had a disreputable past including trouble with the law. Joseph Jackson was always fearful of Gordon as he believed Gordon was probably armed. Gordon's clients included John Wayne Bobbitt, Divine Brown, Gloria Gaynor, Shannen Doherty, and Sharon Stone. In 1999, Gordon claimed that Paula Jones, a pivotal figure in the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton, had confided in him that Clinton had not sexually harassed her as she originally claimed. Gordon arranged Jones' nude spread in Penthouse, and claimed he helped her launch a psychic hotline. However, in a March, 1999 CNN Politics website article, Susan Carpenter McMillan, a confidante and former adviser to Jones, issued a statement from Jones that she had not, nor would she ever do anything with a psychic hotline.; McMillan also has stated that Gordon was "obsessed" with the former Arkansas state employee, phoning her up to 15 times a day.
Gordon died on April 19, 2005 at Mayo Hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona after battling cancer for several months; He was 65. He was survived by his brother Terry Gordon, his daughter Francesca Malkin, and his son Aaron Gordon.
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