At the movies

‘Supermensch’ Shep Gordon in Miami Beach: I just did what I did

 

“The word mensch [Yiddish for good guy] and Shep are synonymous,” says Michael Douglas in the documentary Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, out Friday. The Behind the Candelabra star is one of dozens of celebrities featured in the film directed and narrated by one of Gordon’s many buddies, Austin Powers star Mike Myers, who calls the Hollywood insider “the nicest person I’ve ever known.”

“I just woke up and did what I did and went to sleep,” said Gordon, 68, from The Standard Hotel in Miami Beach. “I got very lucky, and luckiest of all was I developed a way of dealing with the world. I think the weaknesses of my childhood added to that. I had a lot of time alone, and I would create what I wanted to happen in my brain.

“You never know; it’s how you wake up and how you deal with what confronts you that day. It is what determines who you are.”

The 68-year-old Long Island, N.Y., native — who over the decades before retiring to Hawaii and adopting four orphaned kids — managed the likes of Alice Cooper (still does), Deborah Harry, Anne Murray, as well as the late, great Groucho Marx, Rick James, Luther Vandross and Teddy Pendergrass.

The film follows the life of this gutsy individual whose career started by accidentally running into Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Alice Cooper, who were all hanging out at the same Hollywood motel pool.

Fast forward to fast times in the rock and roll fast lane. Most of the crazier stories are true; some aren’t.

Gordon’s alma mater, the University of Buffalo, likes to tell a story about the class of 1968 graduate.

“That’s a great example of how we worked,” recounted Gordon. “We were up maybe two days straight studying and one of the test questions was, ‘What was the Thallus of Marchantia?’ Which was a sex organ of a specific plant. I said, ‘That sounds like the head of a country. Let’s see if we can pull off a spoof on the city and send a letter to the mayor that this sultan of Arabia is visiting Buffalo.’ One guy had a friend who worked at the U.N., so we had him send the mayor a telegram. Next day [the visit] is on the front page of the paper. We flew in a guy in wearing a sheet. People start protesting; there was a mob. We can’t believe it. That was when I realized you can create history.”

Myers’ movie covers another aspect of Gordon’s career, helping to create what is known now as the “celebrity chef.” Gordon propelled the careers of such pros as Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck and Alice Waters.

Though the humble-as-pie Gordon is pleased with the final product, he originally was against Supermensch.

“It wasn’t until the premiere when I saw Mike’s participation in and really understood why he wanted to do the documentary,” said Gordon. “I kept saying no and he kept asking why. But he gets it. He did a great job.”

Madeleine Marr

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • Celebrity birthdays on July 26

    Actor James Best (“The Dukes of Hazzard”) is 88. Singer Darlene Love is 73. Singer Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones is 71. Actress Helen Mirren is 69. Drummer Roger Taylor of Queen is 65. Actor Kevin Spacey is 55. Singer Gary Cherone (Extreme, Van Halen) is 53. Actress Sandra Bullock is 50. Actor Jeremy Piven is 49. Host Chris Harrison of “The Bachelor” is 43. Actress Kate Beckinsale is 41.

  • Celebrity roundup

    Sofia Vergara & Joe Mangianello heat things up in the Magic City

    The hottest couple in Hollywood is turning up the heat in — where else? — Miami.

  • Scene in the Tropics

    Sean Combs’ girlfriend Cassie Ventura poses for vodka shoot

    Cassie Ventura, recording artist and girlfriend of Diddy, was spotted Wednesday at the SLS South Beach, posing in a hot yellow bikini for a Ciroc photo shoot. Sean “Diddy” Combs, who is brand ambassador for the vodka, stopped by the session twice throughout the day to check on how things were going and to chat with Ventura. Spies tell us, “They were very sweet to each other.” Also in attendance was Janice Combs, Diddy’s mom.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category