As it turns out, the Maverick actor Leo Gordon had more talents than just acting. The “Big Mike McComb” actor also wrote several episodes of the legendary western television series. He accomplished this while also making regular appearances on the show.
Alongside his writing for Maverick, Leo Gordon also appeared in shows like Bonanza and Cheyanne. In total, Gordon only appeared in five episodes of Maverick and three episodes of Bonanza. However, the actor wrote nearly 50 scripts a piece for each of those shows. Along with these shows, Gordon also appeared on popular westerns such as Gunsmoke, Daniel Boone, the Andy Griffith Show, and Little House on the Prarie.
Leo Gordon Served in San Quentin Before Becoming Actor
Before he became a staple character actor in several western shows, Leo Gordon led a life just as rough and rowdy as the characters he played. For instance, he grew up during the great depression, so he scraped and clawed even when he was young. He joined the military after the United States entered World War II and served for two years.
However, Leo Gordon and one of his friends were arrested for attempting to rob a bar with a pistol. So the western star really did have some experience in robbing and looting. This little stunt landed Gordon a gunshot wound in the stomach and the pair of them a nickel term in San Quentin Prison.
Leo Gordon made the most of his time in prison, however, by furthering his education. He apparently read almost every book in the library at San Quentin. This inspired him to look for bigger opportunities when he was released. Namely, Gordon took advantage of the G.I. Bill benefits and took up acting lessons with the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
This gave him the tools he needed to become one of the most renowned character actors and screenwriters in American Western television. He landed acting roles in some of the top television shows of the time, including Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Maverick, and even The Andy Griffith Show. So, Leo Gordon went from a bank robber in real life to a bank robber on television.