Joyce Gordon, one of the most successful commercial and voiceover performers of her generation and the first woman to serve as president of a branch of the Screen Actors Guild, has died at the age of 90, union officials announced Saturday.
Gordon died late Friday, according to SAG-AFTRA.
“Joyce was everything you could want in a SAG-AFTRA member and leader: intelligent, talented, unceasingly dedicated to her fellow performers, and a warm and generous friend,” SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said Saturday. “Her stature as a pitchwoman and voiceover talent was indispensable in convincing the advertising industry to take seriously the concerns of commercial performers in the early days of that contract. Our hearts go out to Joyce’s family.”
Gordon was the on-camera spokeswoman for Crisco and Duncan Hines and did hundreds of promos for news and sports programs. Her career took off in the 1950s, when she forged a trail for a generation of women with a series of firsts, including being the first woman to do network promos and the first female announcer for a political convention on network television.
In 1959, during Howard Keel’s Screen Actors Guild presidency, Gordon was part of the first dozen branch members to serve on the national board — the sole woman in that group of 12, according to SAG-AFTRA. In 1966, she was elected president of the New York Branch of Screen Actors Guild, a first for a woman in any branch of the Guild.
She served the union for more than four decades, was a trustee of the SAG-AFTRA Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund, and a longtime proponent of the merger between the Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
Gordon was married for more than 50 years to actor Bernard Grant, who passed away in 2004. She is survived by her son, Mark Grant; daughter Melissa Grant; grandson Jason Vanderzwan; and a sister, Jill Gordon.