Billi Gordon was born Wilbert Anthony Gordon Jr. on September 2, 1954, in Dowagiac, Michigan), Billi, is an American model, actor, author, television/film writer and neuroscientist specializing in research of the human brain.
Father: Wilbert Anthony Gordon Sr., Mother: Geneva Reeves-McGinnis-Gordon, Brother: James G. McGinnis Sr. Sister: Doris McGinnis-Hollingsworth.
Currently, Dr. Gordon is one of a very few distinguished African American neuroscientists. He specializes in brain research and neuroimaging at UCLA, where he also serves as Chair of the Advisory Committee for Collective Concerns in Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. However, Billi Gordon was and remains one of America’s most colorful and unique celebrities. Undeniably, the most photographed and successful Greeting Card models in history. Gordon has hundreds of images still on the World Market, although “le mannequin extraordinaire,” retired in the early 1990s. Gordon, whose trademark is his/her unique androgynous beauty, played roles as females and males indiscriminately, domestically and abroad, convincingly and easily, in major motion pictures, such as Coming to America, The Party Animal, Tucker and Flynn, Breakfast With Aliens, as well as on Network television, on Married With Children, Women in Prison, Gimme a Break, etc.
Gordon grew up in a tarpaper shack that did not have indoor plumbing, on a dirt road, across the alley from the city dump, in the small, blue collar town of Dowagiac, which was ostensibly one of many idyllic towns freckling the heartland of Ike and Mamie’s America. Billy spent the first 18 years of his life here, which in many ways was equally generic, wholesome and Small-Town-USA
In the fall of 1972, following high school graduation Gordon entered the Canons Regular Order of the Holy Cross at Crosier Seminary, a Roman Catholic, Monastic Custody in Onamia, Minnesota, near Lake Millacs and the Chippewa Nation Reservation. After the first semester of his freshman year, Gordon and the Crosiers agreed that although, Billy definitely had a calling; it was not religious, so Gordon transferred at the semester break to The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Gordon withdrew from the University of Michigan in his Junior year and moved to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles he was "discovered" by now CAA Super Agent Rob W. Kenneally. Kenneally sent Gordon to study with Harvey Lembeck at Paramount Studios to receive acting training in 3-camera situation comedy for television, where he was teamed with Karen Knotts and embarked on a Stand-up and Sketch Comedy career.
Following the sudden death of Gordon's father, his mother moved into his home in Los Angeles, forcing the decision to forsake a stand-up comedy career in order to care for his mother for the next 20 years until her death. During these years his modeling career lead him to the William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills, CA, which resulted in a Billboard Campaign in the European Commonwealth and a two National Commercials in Japan. Concomitantly he joined the WGA-w , SAG, AFTRA as a result of his freelance work as an actor, television writer and Morning Show Personality on K-EARTH 101, with Robert W. Morgan and Joni Caryl. He has also authored four books: “You’ve Had Worse Things In Your Mouth” Cookbook, “Eat This Book-the last Diet Book,” “Your Moon is In Aquarius, but Your Head is Uranus,” and “Oil and Gasoline.”
In 1995 Gordon re-enrolled in The University of Michigan and graduated in 1997. In 2001 Gordon went to study under James E. Elias, PhD, the last active researcher from the original Kinsey Institute who serves as Director of the Center for Sex Research, at California State University at Northridge, and is the preferred Expert Testimony by the United States Supreme Court in Human Sexuality Matters.
In this year with Elias Gordon completed an Interdisciplinary Masters Degree in Psychology & Sociology. In November 2004, following the conclusion of a 3-year internship at the Brain Mapping Core of the Center for Neurovisceral Sciences and Women’s Health in the Department of Digestive Diseases at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Gordon was awarded his Ph.D.
His expertise is integrative behavioral neuroscience. His research is focused on using functional neuroimaging technologies to establish the biological bases for human behavior. Dr. Gordon’s research focuses on the neuroanatomy of human emotion. Specifically, Dr. Gordon conducts inquiries into interoceptive awareness (how we feel what we feel) in regards to the pathophysiology of racism, and how race-based stress is managed by the stress regulatory systems in the brain, effecting the physiological sequelae that are known antecedents to the disastrous negative physical health outcomes in African Americans.
Gordon continues to work in film and television as a part of Western Sandblast, a film practitioner group of Writers, Directors, Special Effects Experts, and Film Editors in Los Angeles.