​​Leonard Gordon’s Life and Death: The Story of Rita Moreno’s Husband

​​Leonard Gordon was an American doctor and talent manager best known as the late husband of Rita Moreno, the world-famous Puerto Rican actress, dancer, and singer. The couple was married for 45 years before Gordon died in 2010.

Despite the longevity of their marriage and even though what they had looked like a happy, wonderful union to people outside, this was far from reality; their marriage was not completely hassle-free as they battled several ups and downs until the very end of Gordon’s life.

Summary of Leonard Gordon’s Biography 

  • Full name: Leonard Gordon
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: March 26, 1920
  • Died: June 30, 2010
  • Leonard Gordon’s Age at death: 90
  • Nationality: American
  • Zodiac Sign: Aries
  • Sexual Orientation: Straight
  • Religion: Christianity
  • Marital Status: Married
  • Leonard Gordon’s Wife: Rita Moreno
  • Leonard Gordon’s Children: Fernanda Luisa Gordon
  • Leonard Gordon’s Parents: Alex Gordon and Senka Gordon
  • Famous for: Being Rita Moreno’s husband

Leonard Gordon was Born in New York

Leonard Gordon was born in New York City, the most populous city in the United States. This was also where he was raised by his family. Gordon was born on the 26th day of March 1920. His star sign was Aries.

According to our findings, Leonard Gordon was born to a father called Alex Gordon and a mother identified as Senka Gordon. Not much is known about what his parents did for a living to raise him in New York. Very little information is available about his family background.

Not much is known about what schools Gordon attended in the USA. But he apparently had lots of formal education because it is on record that he eventually practiced medicine.

Leonard Gordon
Leonard Gordon

Gordon was a Trained Cardiologist and Internist

After completing his education, Leonard Gordon embarked on a successful career in the field of medicine, specializing in cardiology and internal medicine. According to reports, Gordon was a highly skilled cardiologist whose expertise in the field was well-recognized. His practice was based in the bustling city of Los Angeles, where he had earned a reputation as an experienced medical professional.

Beyond his specialization in cardiology, Dr. Gordon was also an accomplished internist. Reports say his broad range of knowledge and expertise in the field made him a sought-after physician in Los Angeles. He is said to have had a reputation for providing compassionate and personalized care to his patients.

Because he was doing very well for himself, it was not very difficult to set him up with the famous actress Rita Moreno who would later become his wife.

Leonard Gordon’s Wife, Rita Moreno, is a Hollywood Legend

Leonard Gordon’s wife, Rita Moreno, is one of the most successful Hollywood stars of her era. She is a celebrated actress, dancer, and singer who has enjoyed a remarkable career spanning over seven decades. Her talents and achievements have earned her numerous accolades, including an Academy Award, a Tony Award, and two Primetime Emmy Awards. She is one of the very few performers in the world to win an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony, and a Grammy, thus becoming an EGOT.

Moreno was born in Puerto Rico in 1931 and moved to New York City with her family at a young age. She began her acting career as a child, appearing in commercials and small roles in films such as So Young, So Bad, and The Toast of New Orleans in the 1940s. However, it was her breakthrough role as Anita in the film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical West Side Story in 1961 that cemented her status as a Hollywood icon.

Moreno’s portrayal of the fiery and charismatic Anita earned her critical acclaim and a well-deserved Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She has appeared in numerous other popular movies like The Four Seasons, Carnal Knowledge, and Jane the Virgin, for which she won her second Primetime Emmy Award. She was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004 and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2009, among other honors.

At the time she met Leonard Gordon, she was already an established actress who was well-known around the world for her incredible acting skills.

Leonard Gordon Met His Wife on a Blind Date

The love story of Rita Moreno and Leonard Gordon began in a unique and unexpected way. In 1964, mutual friends arranged for the two to meet on a blind date, but this was not your typical setup. Rather than the usual dinner-and-movie affair, the plan was for Gordon to attend one of Moreno’s performances and watch her perform.

Leonard Gordon
Leonard Gordon and Rita Moreno

As fate would have it, Moreno was performing in the Broadway production of The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window at the time, providing Gordon with the opportunity to witness her talent firsthand. It was a momentous occasion for Gordon, who was eager to see the talented actress in action. At the time, Moreno was already a Hollywood icon, having already won an Academy Award for her role in West Side Story three years earlier in 1961.

Her star power was on full display during the Broadway run of The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, where Gordon finally had the chance to see her perform live. It was after the show that the couple finally met in person, and there was an instant spark between them.

Moreno and Gordon’s connection continued to grow stronger as they discovered they shared many interests, including a deep love for the theatre. As their bond deepened, they fell deeper in love, with Moreno famously stating that Gordon was the only man she had ever truly loved.

Their shared passion for the arts and respect for each other’s talents continued to bring them closer together.

Gordon and Moreno Got Married in 1965 – One Year After Their First Meeting

Leonard Gordon and Rita Moreno’s relationship was a high-profile one when they fell in love. Because of Rita’s huge celebrity status at the time, this was unavoidably so. They made some headlines as they appeared in public severally and got tongues wagging about their romance. Gordon and Moreno’s love only grew stronger with time, and they eventually decided to take the next step and tie the knot.

Eventually, the couple got married in 1965, just one year after they first met in 1964. The wedding took place on June 18, 1965, and it was a star-studded affair. The ceremony was attended by family and friends, as well as fellow celebrities, including Sammy Davis Jr., Anthony Quinn, and Richard Burton. The couple’s wedding was widely reported in the media, with many fans and well-wishers eager to see the two lovebirds tie the knot.

After the wedding, Gordon and Moreno continued to be the picture-perfect couple, supporting each other in their respective careers and sharing their mutual love for the arts.

They Had One Child Together

During their marriage, Leonardo Gordon and Rita Moreno welcomed one child into their lives. They had a daughter whom they named Fernanda Luisa Gordon. According to our findings, Fernanda was born in 1967.

Leonard Gordon with his wife, Rita Moreno, and their daughter, Fernanda Luis Gordon

Fernanda inherited her parents’ creative genes and went on to pursue a career in the arts. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree from the prestigious California College of Arts and Crafts and later earned her Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Southern California.

Leonard Gordon’s Daughter Briefly Followed In Her Mother’s Footsteps

Leonard Gordon’s daughter, Fernanda, followed in her mother’s footsteps and briefly explored acting during the 1990s. She made appearances in the miniseries An Inconvenient Woman and the television series The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. She also starred in the TV series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

However, after a while, Fernanda found her true calling as a jewelry designer, and she founded her own brand called Nandiz Designs. Her jewelry has been featured in high-end boutiques and galleries across the United States, earning her a reputation as a talented and innovative designer.

In 2021, Fernanda was featured in the documentary film Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It, which chronicles the life and career of her famous mother. The film offers a rare glimpse into the personal life of the Moreno-Gordon family and highlights the deep bond between Fernanda and her mother.

Gordon was a Grandfather to Two Children

Before his death, Leonard Gordon witnessed the birth of his grandchildren. He and his wife, Moreno, were completely overjoyed to become grandparents after their daughter, Fernanda, gave birth. According to our findings, Gordon’s daughter, Fernanda, married David Tyler Fisher in 1996. The couple welcomed their first child, a son named Justin, the same year, making Gordin and Rita proud grandparents for the first time.

Three years later, in 1999, Fernanda and David welcomed their second son, Cameron, completing the family and making Gordon and Rita grandparents for the second time. Gordon was very fond of his grandchildren. In fact, he and Rita Moreno even made the decision to move from Los Angeles to Berkley, California, in order to be closer to their grandkids.

Gordon’s wife, Rita, is reported to have doted even more on their grandchildren. She explains that she treasures her relationship with her two grandsons and has always been a hands-on grandmother. Today, even though they are grown, she still pampers them. In 2021, she declared in an interview with PEOPLE that her grandsons are her ‘heart and soul’. Apparently, they remain an important part of her life.

Leonard Gordon Became His Wife’s Manager After Retiring From Medicine

Leonard Gordon
Leonard Gordon with his wife, Rita Moreno.

After recording success in the medical field, Leonard Gordon eventually decided to transition to a new chapter in his life. He decided to retire from medicine to become his wife’s manager. Having watched his wife go about her Hollywood business, he had become knowledgeable on how things were done, and he wanted to help guide Rita Moreno through the ups and downs she may be experiencing.

As Rita Moreno’s manager, Gordon is reported to have played an important role in getting and managing the different acting jobs that came her way. Everything went through him, and he reportedly helped her secure some of her iconic roles. However, details about the exact roles he helped her get are not very clear.

Gordon was said to be a trusted advisor and confidant to Rita and always advocated for her best interests, providing unwavering support throughout her journey.

Leonard Gordon and Rita Moreno’s Marriage was Filled With Hiccups

On the surface, the union between Leonard Gordon and Rita Moreno seemed like a perfect match. However, this was not the case at all. After Gordon’s death, Rita Moreno opened up and shared some insights into their marriage, which revealed that the couple had a lot of troubles during their 45-year-long union. In retrospect, Rita revealed that she often felt suffocated in the relationship.

She made these revelations in the 2021 documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It. She explained that while Gordon was a good man, he was not a good husband at all. His controlling nature often left Moreno feeling like she needed his permission to do anything. As a matter of fact, she explained that if her husband was alive, she would not have dared to make the documentary because he would have shut down the idea. That was how controlling he was, according to Rita.

The couple reportedly faced significant misunderstandings throughout their years of marriage, and Rita Moreno said she was forced to yield to Gordon’s will due to his dominant personality. This situation made Moreno feel like she was losing her sense of self. Although they appeared happy to outsiders, Moreno was struggling to keep it together. The demands of their relationship took a toll on her mental health, and she was forced to suppress her feelings to maintain the facade of a perfect marriage.

Despite the challenges they faced, Rita Moreno found a way to move forward after Gordon’s passing. She used her experience to educate others about the importance of maintaining one’s individuality in a relationship. She shared that it was critical to be honest with oneself and one’s partner about personal needs and boundaries in a relationship.

Gordon’s Wife Nearly Divorced Him

While revealing how bad her marriage was, Rita Moreno revealed that at one point, the situation of her and Gordon’s union had become so messy that she seriously considered ending the marriage and filing for a divorce. However, her love for her daughter Fernanda gave her the strength to soldier on. She knew that a divorce would have been difficult for Fernanda, and she didn’t want to subject her to the pain of watching her parents separate and live apart.

Rita’s devotion to her daughter is undeniable, and it is evident in the special bond they share. In a candid interview with People Magazine in 2019, Rita revealed that she stayed in the marriage solely for the sake of Fernanda. Despite the difficulties she faced in her relationship with Leonard, Rita was determined to give Fernanda a stable and happy home.

Apparently, as a mother, Rita has always put her daughter’s needs first, and this selfless act of love is a testament to the strength of their relationship.

Leonard Gordon Died in 2010 at The Age of 90

On June 30, 2010, Leonard Gordon passed away. He died at the ripe old age of 90 years in Berkeley, California. Although the exact cause of his death remains unknown, it is believed that the man died of old age, given how old he was. During his final hours, Rita remained by Leonard’s side, despite the challenges they had faced in their marriage.

In a 2021 interview with The Guardian, Rita revealed that she stayed with Leonard Gordon until the very end, including a month-long stay in the hospital where she slept on a cot and provided him with 24/7 care. She explained that despite what went wrong with their marriage, she still respected him till the end and paid him his respect in his last hours.

In fact, in the same interview, she spoke about the importance of forgiveness and letting go of anger, even in the face of challenges.

His Wife Felt ‘Liberated’ When He Died

After over four decades of marriage, Rita Moreno revealed that she found herself feeling both liberated and ready for a new chapter in her life after her husband’s death. She said in the aftermath of Gordon’s death, she experienced a range of emotions, including grief, relief, and confusion. In an interview with a popular magazine, she revealed that she cut a lock of her husband’s hair after he passed away, which she still keeps as a precious memento of their life together.

She also recounted the moment she looked at him for the last time as he lay in repose, feeling a sense of detachment and bewilderment at the power he had held over her for so many years. She explained that as she stood at the door, taking one last look at her late husband, she couldn’t help but wonder how such a small and frail person could have caused her so much pain and unhappiness. She described him as looking “wizened,” his body shrunken and frail, and his skin pale and ghostly.

According to her, she asked herself how could someone who appeared so powerless in death have wielded such a strong influence over her during their marriage. It was a question that she struggled to answer, but one that ultimately led her to a newfound sense of freedom and self-discovery.

Shortly after Gordon’s death, Rita Moreno was asked if she would remarry, and she vowed that she would never taste marriage again because she was completely exhausted from what her last marriage made her feel. But despite all the negativity, she said she and Gordon did have some really good times as well.

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