May 11, 2004 by

Nick Gordon


Categories: Artists, Media, Writers/Editors

ngordon.jpgNicholas Cranber Gordon, a prominent British wildlife filmmaker, died on April 25 of a heart attack. He was 51.

Born in Twickenham, England, Gordon attended Lindisfarne College in north Wales. Originally trained as a chartered surveyor, he was sidetracked when he joined a sub-aqua club. His first diving experience off the Isle of Man sparked a desire to become a wildlife photographer.

Gordon was 26 when he landed a job as a news cameraman for the BBC. After filming a documentary about alligators and dolphins in China, the ITV wildlife show “Survival” hired him to shoot the giant anaconda in South America.

For the next two decades, Gordon traveled all over the world filming exotic animals and writing about environmental and travel issues. More of a “mover” than a tourist, he would physically transplant himself to places like Guyana, Brazil, Madagascar, Alaska, South Africa, India and the Caribbean for months or years at a time.

Gordon’s expeditions were often dangerous, which earned him the nickname the “real life Indiana Jones.” He endured malaria, dengue fever and hepatitis. He was once imprisoned by the Yananamo people and bitten by an alligator. He even ate roasted tarantulas inside an Indian crypt.

Gordon shot and produced numerous documentaries, but he was best known for the 2001 film, “Jaguar – Eater of Souls.” He also wrote articles for BBC Wildlife Magazine, and the books “Tarantulas, Marmosets and Other Stories” and “In the Heart of the Amazon.”

His production company, Wild at Heart, is currently producing “Secrets of the Amazon,” a new seven-part series. Gordon was shooting tarantula footage for the series in Amazonas, Venezuela, when he died. His final book, “Wild Amazon,” will be published later this year.

Watch Video From “Wild Shots” (Windows Media)

26 Responses to Nick Gordon

  1. jackie grigor

    im am so very very sorry we have lost not only a great film maker and all but a wonderfull man in the making . i am dumb struck that a wonderfull person should loose his life at such a young age ,,i am facinated in the life of all otters and i have read and watched his documents with awe he will be sadly missised by all ..god be with you wherever you are………..jackie

  2. neil mcintyre

    i had the privellage of working for ann and nick at the captains table restaurant on the isle of mull,a few years ago and was very saddend and shocked to hear of his passing. his film work was truly amaizing and a joy to watch my thoughts with his family,

  3. Gill

    My brother, my best friend, was loved and respected by friends, colleagues and wildlife enthusiasts. Our mother is comforted by the wonderful tributes that people have sent to us from all over the world.Thank you.

  4. Nelson Bonner

    I did not know of Nick Gordon until a few minutes ago. I was searching for web references to my high school friend of 42 years ago, Lee Lyon, who became a wildlife filmmaker and died by elephant trampling in the 70s.
    Nick Gordon’s website — — was the only reference I could find for Lee. Unfortunately, this link is no longer active, due, certainly, to Nick Gordon’s passing away.
    I wouldn’t be writing this except for the fact that, in reading the tributes above I read about Nick Gordon’s association with the Isle of Mull.
    Yesterday evening I attended the memorial service of Tom Cuthbertson in Santa Cruz, California. Tom was a high school friend of Lee’s and of mine. He was very interested in his Scottish heritage and, according to the program in his memorial service, “On Mull, off the Western Highland coast of Scotland, Tom cried at Duart Castle, ancestral home of his MacLean clan.”
    I had never heard of the Isle of Mull before attending Tom’s memorial service last night. Now I read of it a second time, 24 hours later, in conjunction with Nick and, by extension, Lee.
    Godspeed, Lee and Nick and Tom.

    • Delta Willis

      Nelson Bonner I worked with Lee Lyon and one of my colleagues published a book about her, perhaps disguised as fiction; we also had a tribute in one of the Survival programs. I’m digging around now as I write my memoirs.

  5. Derek Bellis

    I am really saddened to hear of Nick’s premature death. Whilst we had not been in touch, since our Lindisfarne days, I did exchange emails with him in early 2004. He seemed to be on top of the world.
    My deepest respects and sympathies to his family and friends and may his soul rest in eternal peace.
    Great to have known you Nick. See you in heaven.
    Much love.
    Derek & Tony Bellis-Ex Lindisfarnians

  6. alberto saiz

    im very very sad.As young wildlife photographer and cameraman,for me Nick`s work was truly an inspiration. My respect to hsi family and friends.
    Rest in wishes from spain

  7. Derek Carr

    We are almost two years on now and the deep sense of loss has eased none! One year, ten months, seven weeks & four days after his death I am sitting in my office and have just looked up at a collegues callendar showing a picture of what I thought was a Jaguar (actually a leopard)and Nicks face slowly materialised through my tears!!
    Gone – yes! But always part of my very being!
    Derek Carr


    I had the great privilege of working on Nicks book ‘Wild Amazon,’ (he died before it could be published although it was finished.)
    I met him in Heathrow to discuss the project with his publisher – We sat in the meeting room reviewed his photographs from the Amazon. Pictures that were taken over themany years he had spent living with the people of the Amazon Jungle.
    Needless to say I was somewhat agog at being one of the first people to see these shots.
    The book was designed and finished ready to publish when he died.
    I have a photocopy of the manuscript somewhere I think.

  9. cliff schmitt

    in all world we see feel things in and around us all, as we travel we become aware of various things which become part us touch us and allow us see life as it should be. i am just here to show my loss of this person which i just became aware of loss, i guess ive lost touch of what is to see things at times, but in all that films pictures what way show feel our lives as we go,with this loss not only am i at great loss of not seeing more to come but world loses a great contributor to life we all need see feel more no mattter what how,, be it pictures films but life through a soul. we all remain in awe of this souls life and shall for what we see god bless all whom ever has known and will have this mans life touching them. for that i thank you nick for bringing me bits world i may never have myself .

  10. Sunita Gahir

    I had the pleasure of working with Nick on one of his last books, which (as far as I know) was never published – Wildlife Monographs, Amazonian Monkeys.
    He sent me silly emails of penguins trying to drown each other! I have never been able to delete any of them.
    I still haven’t read his book, I said I wouldn’t until he’d signed the copy – we were going to meet up when he got back from his trip.
    Nick – You are missed – I knew you only a little while – but I can’t think of the forest without thinking of you. Hope there are monkeys in heaven…
    Sunita x

  11. Charlie

    Over two years have passed yet not a day goes by that I don’t think of you and miss you. You were my inspiration and mentor. Your greatest gift was teaching me to see and love the beauty of simplicity in nature and in life.
    Always your daughter Charlie x

  12. Ann

    Oh Nick,
    How I wish you were here for your two beautiful daughters Emma & Charlie.
    You would be so proud of them. I am.
    You live on in them.

  13. Tony

    I knew Nick for only about year but in that time I appreciated what an exceptional person he was and I hope that we were becoming good friends, something I was sincerely looking forward to.
    We had many mutual interests, playing the piano was one, more often than not under the influence of a few bottles of wine and sometimes that fearsome Brazilian cane liquor Nick brought back.
    Even now I’ve not played much. The music I bought for when Nick got back is still on the music stand, unplayed and I guess it will be for a while yet. At some point the time will be right but not yet.
    I’ve had to correct this posting a couple of times, I keep on saying “when you get back” and “you bought” as if Nick was reading this.
    I hope he is.

  14. Robert Harvey

    I had the pleasure of knowing Nick meeting him in Sierra Leone when he was filming the monkeys, and I was a missionary. I can still see that first meeting on the veranda of Lungi Airport. He (and Gordon) stayed at our home in Sierra Leone many times and was instantly a great friend. He was an inspiring and wonderful gentleman. I also remember going to see his family in Mull. I and my family do remember them all very well.
    I had not met up with Nick for some years before his death, but I still consider him a friend.

  15. Robert Smyth

    I cannot say that I really knew nick but I did have the privilege of not just meeting him but to be taught by him during a wildlife training course. He gave me some wonderful tips and was a great person to talk to; even though I must have been one of thousands of people he has met asking for advice he gave me his time like we had known each other for years. I even had the privilege of using his camera while he was showing me how to shoot some meercats. A truly memorable experience, almost my wildlife claim to fame, a real honour to have meet and been taught by him.
    All my regards to his wife and family, he spoke so fondly of you, a wonderful man.
    All my best wishes,

  16. Ann

    Well I guess that it then. A final farewell from all of your special friends on Saturday evening.
    Until we meet again Nick………

  17. Karen Manger

    I attended Nick’s memorial service in St Annes the other weekend and it set me thinking how some people you come into contact with touch your life and change it without you knowing at the time. Nick did this to me and my family.
    My brother, Neil was his very good friend for many years and had the priviledge of working with Nick on his film ‘Jaguar Eater of Souls’. Like Nick, he also fell in love with the Amazon and has now made his home there.
    Last year I was lucky to be able to visit and have the most wonderful wildlife experiences ever. I can’t wait to go back again this September to experience more of this beautiful part of the world.
    Neil tells me there is not a day goes by that he doesn’t think of Nick or something happens where he finds himself thinking of Nick’s ‘take’ on a situation. He always had a story to tell.
    The last time I saw Nick was when he came to console my elderly mother and I following the sudden death of my brother, Ian. He flung his arms around us and said he couldn’t believe Ian had passed away and at the age of 51. How ironic that just a few weeks later Mum and I were breaking our hearts hearing the news about Nick.
    Jean, Ann, Emma and all Nick’s family must be so, so proud of him and very lucky to have had Nick in their lives. Ann you must see him every time you look at Emma.
    My Mum and Nick’s Mum have become great friends and both find comfort in each other having both lost their sons at a similar age.
    I think of you so often Nick and you will always be in our hearts.

  18. John Roney

    I am really to sad read about Nick.
    I worked on and appeared on a program called Don’t Just sit There and Nick was the cameraman. This was a program to encourage people of all abilities to go out and try new things, not Nick’s usual type of work.
    We spent two weeks filming around the UK and because of the way the program was made friendships were formed. I really enjoyed the time spent with Nick and he always kept me informed as to when one of his films would be shown.
    My regards go to his family
    John Roney

  19. Chris Baxendale

    I fondly remember Nick and I having the time of our
    lives in Blackpools pubs and clubs in the 70,s.It was a great time to be young,and flying around in sports cars.
    Not long after, our paths took separate directions,and I lost contact with Nick, only to find ourselves in beds facing each other in ward 22
    at Victoria hospital after having had heart problems.
    Needless to say I was devastated to learn only
    a few weeks later that Nick had been cut down doing the job he loved most in the world.
    Although this is a belated message,I would just
    like to add my deepest regards to all his family.
    Chris Baxendale

  20. Mads Jarler

    Its so sad. I spent a year in the amazon with Nick, – he basicly saved my life, when i was fooled by some turisttrap idiots who have tryed to mess with him aswell. Nick let me live and travel with him for a little year. The world have lost one of its biggist hearts! My love and solidarity goes til he´s beloved daughter Emma, and lovly wife Antonietta.
    Have a nice flight old boy

  21. michela

    dear nicholas we have never seen each othere but i am doing one of your poems called there is no future good enough i am going to present it infront of the hole school so please tell god to help me memorise this woulderful poem trhank you …………….michela

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