Nicholas 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.