Bruce Gordon, a granite-faced, gravel-voiced character actor famous for playing heavies, most memorably the mob boss Frank Nitti on the classic television series "The Untouchables," died on Thursday. He was 94 and lived in Santa Fe, N.M.
The death, after a long illness, was announced on the Web site of Santa Fe Funeral Options, a local funeral home. Information on survivors, or on where Mr. Gordon died, was not made available.
With his broad, strong, slightly asymmetrical features, Mr. Gordon looked as though he had been carved from stone — with a few judicious slips of the chisel. His face and his voice preordained him for a life of playing tough guys on television, film and in an extensive stage career.
As the white whale of Eliot Ness, the federal agent played by Robert Stack, Mr. Gordon was a recurring fixture of "The Untouchables," broadcast on ABC from 1959 to 1963. (His death follows that, on Jan. 12, of Paul Picerni, who played Ness's right-hand man, Agent Lee Hobson.)
Nitti was the front man for Chicago's organized-crime syndicate in the 1930s, while its leader, Al Capone, was in jail for tax evasion. In real life, according to published accounts, Nitti appeared to have been little more than a figurehead, with the real power concentrated among Capone's other lieutenants.
As played by Mr. Gordon, Nitti was memorably in control, presiding over an illicit network of late-Prohibition-era breweries, drug running, gambling and much else. He was filled with menace: pinstriped, perennially scowling and looming so large he seemed to crowd the borders of the screen.
Yet because of Mr. Gordon's essential warmth as an actor, his Nitti had tremendous rough-hewn charm. Even the character's oft-repeated threat — "You're dead!" — uttered with a finger stabbing toward the intended victim, had, in his delivery, a comic monosyllabic eloquence.