“Coming To America” Actor Became A Neuroscientist…Where He Ended Up Is Incredibly Sad

Posted On : October 11, 2021
Actor, Billi Gordon, in “Coming To America” film

We all remember the royal wedding scene in Coming To America, right? That was when “Prince Akeem” (Eddie Murphy) was about to marry the princess (Vanessa Bell Calloway), who only liked “What-ever it is” he liked and barked ‘like a small dog’ on command. If you recall that scene, then you probably also remember the tall ‘woman’ who barged through the wedding crowd to announce the bride. “Prince Akeem” was about to pass out when he thought ‘she’ was his new bride and his reaction was priceless. That ‘woman’ was actually actor, Billi Gordon. After the film, Billi became a neuroscientist, but went through very tumultuous struggles in his life. Sadly, he passed away in 2018, but prior to his passing, what he became is nothing short of applause-worthy.

Billi Gordon’s Life Was Filled With Major Tribulations & Triumphs

First Came His Weight Loss Pill Addiction. In a past interview, Billi Gordon revealed that he was severely addicted to a weight loss drug in the ’80s and that he’d eventually moved from his home state of Michigan, to Los Angeles, CA to sober up. But Things Took A Horrific Turn For The Worse…

Prostitution Before Acting. In an LA Times article, Billi described his life as “tumultuous,” prior to becoming an actor. The publication also stated, ‘He worked as an escort, a male prostitute, a female prostitute — in that order.’ Then He Made A Discovery…

Billi Gordon

Discovered His Love For Drag & Comedy. ‘It wasn’t until the mid-80s that he discovered his talent for comic writing and performing as a woman.’ -via LA Times What Happened To His Health In The Following Years Is Heartbreaking…

His 700 Pound Weight Struggle. In 2009 Billi’s health plummeted. He was admitted into Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, standing 6’1″ and weighing 701 pounds. He had a massive skin growth on his thigh, extending to his foot. Doctors couldn’t immediately evaluate if it was cancerous, because he exceeded the 550 lbs. weight limit to fit into the MRI machine. Then Came A Better Day…

Billi Gordon

The Weight Loss
Billi Gordon eventually dropped about 175 pounds, with the assistance of his doctors. His Husband Voiced Concern At That Time…

Gordon’s Husband Spoke Out. In 2009, Gordon’s husband of 30+ years, Robert, said:

“I accept him for all he is. My greatest hope for him would be to lose weight that would free him. …He can’t get to places where he wants to go. He has this synthetic life — it’s TVs and computers and a room.” -via LATimes

After “Coming To America” Here’s How Gordon Amazed Everyone Billi Gordon became a neuroscientist in the 1990s. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1997 and by 2004 he earned his Ph.D. in neuroscience. Billi completed his post-doctoral training in functional neuroimaging and brain research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Billi Gordon in his scrubs uniform

Gordon still had his same comical personality though: “Do you know how hard it is to go from being a legendary diva to being a brain doctor?” But Neuroscience Wasn’t His Only Specialty…

Billi Gordon Was An Author And Writer

Gordon also became an author and writer. In his latter years, he wrote a daily blog for Psychology Today titled, ‘Obesely Speaking,’ where he researched ‘overeating, obesity, food addiction, and the generic human issues that surround them.’

The “Coming To America” alum passed away on February 22, 2018. He was 63 years young. Continue to rest well Billi Gordon, after a job well done.

Sources: LATimes, Source2Source3Source4