Early life, family, educational background
American actor Jeffrey Richard Nordling was born on 11 March 1962, in Ridgewood, New Jersey, USA, and is an actor whose most famous roles are as Nick Bolen in “Desperate Housewives,” Gordon Klein in “Big Little Lies,” and Jake Manning in “Once and Again.”
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He was raised in Washington Township by his mother, Lois Nordling (née Dickson), and father, Robert George Nordling. When Jeffrey was 15 years old, the family moved to Saddle River, New Jersey, where Jeffrey attended Ramsey High School, and matriculated in 1980.
He was excellent at soccer from his high school to his college years at Wheaton College in Illinois, from where he graduated with an undergraduate degree, before following his passion and pursuing an acting career. He subsequently graduated from Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas, Texas, in 1987, with a Master of Fine Arts degree.
In 1989, Jeffrey acted in two productions at New York’s Public Theater, playing Posthumus in a production of “Cymbeline” by Shakespeare, the production co-starring Joan Cusack. Jeffrey also played Macduff in a “Macbeth” production co-starring Alec Baldwin.
Jeffrey’s TV acting debut was in 1988, as Tyler in the CBS drama fantasy series, “Beauty and the Beast” in the episode, “The Alchemist,” featuring Tony Jay, Ellen Geer, and James Avery. That same year, he played Matt Thompson in the Paramount television movie “Shooter,” co-starring alongside Alan Ruck, Jeffrey Alan Chandler, Noble Willingham and Rosalind Chao.
In 1993, he was cast as Gaëtan Dugas in the television film “And the Band Played On” – the Emmy Award-winning film was an HBO production of Randy Shilts’ account of the progressive AIDS epidemic.
Three years later, he portrayed Neil Armstrong in “Apollo 11,” the TV movie co-starred Jeffrey alongside Jim Metzler as another Apollo 11 flight crewmember, Michael Collins.
In 1998 Jeffrey played Capote Duncan in the pilot episode of “Sex and the City,” his character being romantically involved with both Samantha and Charlotte. From 1999-2000, Jeffrey starred as the main character, Sela Wards’ ex-husband Jake Manning, in “Once and Again.”
The early days of the new millennium were somewhat quiet for Jeffrey, until in 2006 he portrayed 9/11 hero Tom Burnett in the television movie “Flight 93.” From 2007-2008, Jeffrey starred alongside Courteney Cox as Brent Barrow in the FX cable network series, “Dirt.” Then in 2009 he played FBI agent Larry Moss in the seventh season of “24.”
From 2009-2010 Jeffrey portrayed Nick Bolen, Drea de Matteo’s husband/ex-husband in “Desperate Housewives” Drea was played by Dana Delany. The Bolens were series regulars in the first season but were then written out of following seasons.
Jeffrey played the recurring role of Todd Fleming in the medical/crime drama “Body of Proof” from 2011 until 2012 when the show was canceled, then guest-starred in “Criminal Minds’ in 2014 as Jack Westbrook – a lawyer, abduction victim, and closet pedophile in a season 10 episode entitled “The Boys of Sudworth Place.”
In 2017, Jeffrey played Gordon Klein in Emmy Award-winning mystery series, “Big Little Lies,” the husband of Renata Klein, “the Medusa of Monterey,” played by Laura Dern.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Jeffrey shared that he, too, was shocked by Gordon’s drastic personality change in season two from season one, saying ‘I protested for quite a while.’ He went on to explain that he spoke with both the season two director, Andrea Arnold, and the series creator, David E. Kelley. Jeffrey felt that he had already established the character in the first season – a loving, supportive husband, and the season two version was completely different. David and Andrea explained that the change came because the show was initially only intended for one season, and was based on the eponymous 2014 novel by Liane Moriarty, who did not write any sequels.
However, following the show’s success at the Emmy Awards, David and the rest of the crew wanted to make yet another season, and consulted with Liane to make new source material they could base season two on. Jeffrey still felt that that the character’s shift didn’t make sense and continued to argue with the show’s creators, describing the change as coming ‘from left field… that was one of my complaints: This is not Gordon,’ he told Vanity Fair.
He added that it felt unusual that ‘this season, my character is just along for the ride – and Renata made all the money. That was definitely not the case in season one,’ Most importantly, though, ‘I felt really protective of [Gordon and Renata’s] marriage… I knew that it meant the marriage is going south, and it is the only good marriage in the show in season one.’
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Many fans felt exactly as Jeffrey did; good marriages are rare in today’s television shows and films, so when they are portrayed, it’s a precious and celebrated sight. Despite Jeffrey’s efforts, David eventually convinced him of the sudden midlife crisis storyline, with Jeffrey saying that he just had to force himself to accept the change. He thought to himself, ‘Fine, Gordon’s just going through a bitch of a midlife crisis… We’re all only one phone call from our lives being ruined.’ Once filming began, Jeffrey found himself enjoying playing the new side to the character, ‘I still think it’s a shame, but it sure is fun.’
The new storyline provided fantastic opportunities for fight scenes between Gordon and Renata – Jeffrey found these scenes to be particularly fun to shoot, ‘She has the rare ability – and I mean it – to play rage and heartbreak and have it be comedic. She’s like Holly Hunter that way, and it’s really hard to pull off.’ He said that he adores Laura and working with her overall.
Jeffrey shared that in order to prepare himself for Gordon’s scenes emotionally, he created a punk playlist, ‘It’s the stuff that, after three hours of dancing, you’re sweating and smiling. It’s the fun, grim punk.’ He felt that the playlist captured Gordon’s new personality better than a darker, dire punk playlist – his has just a hint of danger in it.
To go along with costume designer Alix Friedberg’s rock-and-roll wardrobe for Gordon, Jeffrey grew out his hair and a beard. Gordon’s new outfits are full of John Varvatos rings, bracelets, and suede jackets. The Cut felt so inspired by Gordon’s no-fucks-left-to-give style that they created an online tribute entitled “Renata Klein’s Dirtbag Husband Is My Summer Style Inspiration.” Due to the hate the character has received online, Jeffrey has ensured to keep his distance from the internet, ‘… it can be a cruel place out there,’ instead, he allows his close friends to forward him anything he may enjoy reading or watching. Jeffrey said that he especially enjoyed the pieces made by the Cut, including the meme of Renata ramming tissues into Gordon’s mouth.
A highlight for Jeffrey was when Oscar-winning acting icon, Meryl Streep, joined the cast for season two. Meryl played Mary Louise Wright, Celeste Wright’s mother (Celeste is portrayed by Nicole Kidman). Jeffrey shared the vast impact that Meryl’s presence had on the set, ‘… it became a bit of an issue. They stopped letting people come to set.’ But of course, witnessing Meryl’s magic in person was an honor, ‘It was astonishing to see her work – no two takes are the same.’ He described her as a genius who is committed, vulnerable, and wonderful to watch; he added that Meryl is ‘the kindest human being.’ Jeffrey recalled when Meryl wrapped her last scene alongside Nicole, ‘Nicole dropped to her knee and kissed her hand. That’s the respect this woman brings.’
In 1996 Jeffrey played an NHL pro turned hockey coach, Coach Ted Orion, in “D3: The Mighty Ducks.” Three years later, he portrayed Mike Markkula, an original Apple investor in “Pirates of Silicon Valley,” a TNT movie.
In 2016, he played Barry Leonard in “Sully,” directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks as American pilot hero Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.
Jeffrey voiced Ethan in the videogame “Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare” in 2016.
Jeffrey is married to Francia Dimase; the date of their marriage is unknown but the couple have three children together,
Hobbies, favorite things, and interesting facts
He is a member of a classical productions dedicated theater group, L.A.’s Antaeus Classical Repertory Company.
Impressively, Jeffrey is a certified fight choreographer, and is quite proficient in the art of stage combat.
Jeffrey has blond hair, blue eyes and is 6ft 1in (1.85m) tall.
As of late 2020, Nordling has a net worth estimated at over $2 million.