Gordon Clapp was born and raised in the small town of North Conway, New Hampshire. He first appeared in an Equity theater production at the age of 12. He graduated from South Kent High School, a small private boys' boarding school in Connecticut, where he appeared in several plays.
An English major, Gordon graduated from college in Williamstown, Massachusetts, after appearing in a number of drama productions there. Armed with a theater degree from prestigious Williams College, the New Hampshire native spent much of his early career in Canada.
But first, with a group of friends, he became part of a children's touring theater based in Bennington, Vermont, which for three seasons toured New England. Clapp also performed in summer stock in North Conway, then became a Canadian resident in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he appeared for two seasons at the Neptune Theatre.
In 1978, he made his feature film debut, appearing with Michael Douglas in Running. Then it was back to North Conway to make a film that became a surprise hit, Return of the Secaucus Seven (1980), directed by his friend John Sayles.
Following this, Clapp became a company member of Ottawa's premiere National Arts Center Theatre Company for five seasons. His stage and TV work earned him nominations for a Dora Moore Award (Toronto's equivalent to the Tony) and Gemini Award (Canada's equivalent to the Emmy).
American regional credits include the Philadelphia Drama Guild, Buffalo's Studio Arena and Boston's Huntington Theater. On Broadway, he appeared in the revival of David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross, where he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play.
In 1985, Gordon appeared in Check It Out, a syndicated sitcom produced in Toronto, where he also appeared in several movies for the Canadian Broadcasting Company. Two more films for critically acclaimed director Sayles followed: Matewan, and he portrayed Chicago White Sox catcher Ray Schalk in the 1988 drama Eight Men Out.
Clapp moved to Los Angeles in 1989, and soon was cast in the TV movie, Small Sacrifices. His TV guest appearances during the 80s and 90s include Night Court, Cheers, The Wonder Years, Cop Rock, Civil Wars and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
When he auditioned for the part of Detective Medavoy in NYPD Blue, Gordon Clapp put his own spin on the reading: I played him as a somewhat nervous guy, saying everything twice. It was the key to my getting the role he revealed. And he became a regular on the Emmy Award-winning TV drama NYPD Blue (1993-2005) as Detective Gregory Medavoy after his guest appearances proved extremely popular with viewers. He remained in the series until its twelfth and final season in 2005, garnering Clapp a 1998 Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.
Several TV guest roles have come his way in the 2000s, in TV shows like Law & Order: SVU, Without A Trace, Deadwood, Less Than Perfect, CSI, Criminal Minds, Cold Case and Damages.
In film, he started the 2000s with his role in Rules of Engagement. Later on he appeared in Flags of Our Fathers, directed by Clint Eastwood; Clapp played gruff General Holland 'Howlin' Mad' Smith, who helps mastermind the capture of the Japanese island of Iwo Jima during World War II. Most recently, he appeared as Coach 'Mad' Maddox in The Game Plan.
He also executive produced and starred in three short films: Trailer Talk and the award-winning Fast Cars & Babies and Bananas!
A talented writer, Clapp's work has appeared in the New York Post, LA Golf and Variety, which earned him a Los Angeles Press Club Award for his humorous account of winning an Emmy.
- The Grind (2010) - Galt
- Damages - Blame the Victim (2007) and Flight's at 11:08 (2010) TV episodes - Gary Parsons
- Falling Up (2009) - Colin O'Shea
- The Funk Parlor (2009) - Detective Joseph Angeli
- Prototype (2009) (VG) - Captain Robert Cross
- Taking Chance (2009) - Tom Garrett
- Cold Case - Bad Reputation (2008) TV episode - Daniel O'Leary
- The Ex List (2008) TV series - Jimmy (unknown episodes)
- Ghost Whisperer - Holiday Spirit (2007) TV episode - Alan Silver
- Private Practice - In Which Addison Finds a Showerhead (2007) TV episode - Coach Mike
- Criminal Minds - In Name and Blood (2007) TV episode - Det. Vic Wolynski
- The Game Plan (2007) - Coach Mark Maddox
- Halfway Home - Halfway New Guy (2007) TV episode - Sandy
- Drive Thru (2007) (voice) - Horny the Clown
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - Meet Market (2007) TV episode - Salvatore Heinz
- Flags of Our Fathers (2006) - General Howlin' Mad Smith
- Trailer Talk (2006) - Jeff
- Monk - Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink (2006) TV episode - Francis Merrigan
- Deadwood - Boy-the-Earth-Talks-To (2005) and Unauthorized Cinnamon (2006) TV episodes - Gustave - The Tailor
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit - Infected (2006) TV episode - Ted Carthage
- Without a Trace - The Innocents (2005) TV episode - Bill Shields
- Flatbush (2005) - Frank
- NYPD Blue - 225 episodes (1993-2005) TV episodes - Det. Greg Medavoy
- Bananas (2004) - Lieutenant
- The Sure Hand of God (2004) - Jefferson T. Stevens
- Less Than Perfect - It Takes a Pillage (2003) TV episode - Detective Martin
- Fast Cars & Babies (2003) - Cowboy
- Moonlight Mile (2002) - Tanner
- Sunshine State (2002) - Earl Pinkney
- Skeletons in the Closet (2001) - Dan
- Rules of Engagement (2000) - Harris
- Might as Well Live (2000) - Man Upstairs
- The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999) - Eric's Father
- Splendor Falls (1999)
- Sin City Spectacular - Episode #1.22 (????) TV episode
- Dead Man's Gun - The Bounty Hunter (1997) TV episode - Raymond Jakes
- Badge of Betrayal (1997) - Thatcher
- The Morrison Murders: Based on a True Story (1996) - Sheriff Byron Calhoun
- Her Hidden Truth (1995) - Father Paul
- The Outer Limits - The Voice of Reason (1995) TV episode - Strong
- Abandoned and Deceived (1995) - Donald Quinn
- Wings - Bye-Bye, Bunny (1993) TV episode - Phil
- Ambush in Waco: In the Line of Duty (1993) - Glenn
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Vortex (1993) TV episode - Hadran
- Cheers - Look Before You Sleep (1993) TV episode - Shriner
- Family of Strangers (1993) - Del
- Civil Wars - Alien Aided Affection (1993) TV episode
- Kiss of a Killer (1993)
- Bonds of Love (1993) - Evaluator
- April One (1993) - Gordon Davies
- Street Legal - Rules of the Game and Never Say Die (1992) TV episode - James Brackit
- The Wonder Years - Politics as Usual (1992) TV episode - Bruce Leegee
- Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis (1991) - Elias
- Fever (1991) - Meeks
- Mom P.I. - A Fugue for Mr. X (1991) TV episode
- The Secret Life of Archie's Wife (1990) - Stubbs
- Cop Rock - A Three-Corpse Meal (1990) TV episode - Philip Beamer
- Night Court - I Said Dance! (1990) TV episode - Ralph Shannon
- Blind Faith (1990) - Det. O'Brien
- Family of Spies (1990) - Capt. Burnett
- Dear John - John's Friend (1990) TV episode - Dave Travis
- E.N.G. - Word of Mouth (1990) TV episode - Brian Rickland
- Small Sacrifices (1989) - Detective Doug Welch
- Gross Anatomy (1989) - Doctor
- Termini Station (1989) - Harvey Dunshane
- Knightwatch - Cops: Part 1 and Cops: Part 2 (1989) TV episodes - Daniels
- The Private Capital (1989)
- Eight Men Out (1988) - Ray Schalk
- Breaking All the Rules: The Creation of Trivial Pursuit (1988) - Scott Abbott
- Katts and Dog - Birds of a Feather (1988) TV episode - Wayne
- Matewan (1987) - Griggs
- Hands of a Stranger (1987) - Sgt. Markey
- The Right of the People (1986) - Chris' Friend
- ABC Weekend Specials - Pippi Longstocking (1985) TV episode - Cop
- Check It Out - No Cause for Alarm (1985) TV episode - Mr. Michaels
- Letting Go (1985) - Walter
- Evergreen (1985) TV mini-series - Palm Court Waiter
- Hangin' In - Dead Dogs Wag No Tails (1985) TV episode - Mr. Hepburn
- The Other Kingdom (1984) - George
- Return of the Secaucus Seven (1980) - Chip Hollister
- Running (1979) - Kenny
- Trailer Talk (2006) (producer)
- Bananas (2004) (executive producer)
- Fast Cars & Babies (2003) (executive producer)
- For an up-to-date Filmography: imdb.com/Gordon Clapp
- He was married to actress Deborah Taylor who, in a case of art imitating life, played his character's wife Marie Medavoy on NYPD Blue.