Elder brother of legendary Broadway producer (and former vaudevillian) Max Gordon, Cliff Gordon (1880-1913) was best known in vaudeville for delivering stump speeches as “The German Senator”. Born Morris Saltpeter, it was he who changed his name to Gordon first, younger brother Max followed suit to simplify things. Born to immigrant Jewish parents on the Lower East Side, much like Weber and Fields he hid his occupation from his folks until he was making over three times their salary. He thrived in small time and burlesque before touring with his own music comedy The Merry Whirl during the 1909-1910 season. He died mysteriously at the age of 32 after performing on a bill with Sarah Bernhardtat New York’s Majestic Theatre
To find out more about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.