Clarence Odbody

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Clarence Odbody
It's a Wonderful Life (1946) character
Guardian angel clarence.jpg
Henry Travers as Clarence
Full name Clarence Odbody, AS2
Occupation Clockmaker
Guardian Angel

Clarence Odbody (born May 1653) is a fictional character in Frank Capra's 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life, where he was portrayed by Henry Travers. Clarence also appeared in the 1990 sequel Clarence, played by Robert Carradine. In It Happened One Christmas, a 1977 remake of the original movie, a gender-reversed Clarence appeared as Clara Oddbody. Clara was portrayed by Cloris Leachman.


It is Christmas Eve, and George Bailey, facing financial ruin and disgrace, is contemplating suicide. Two celestial beings observing this decide to send an angel to assist. Unfortunately, the only angel available is Clarence Odbody, AS2 (Angel Second Class), who after 200 years has yet to win his wings. To prepare for this assignment he is shown several vignettes from George's life, that portray various selfless acts on the part of Bailey. Clarence finds George standing on a bridge and jumps in the water himself, prompting George to jump in and rescue him.[1]

Clarence introduces himself as they are drying out in the tollhouse keeper's shack. When George expresses a wish that he had never been born, Clarence grants his wish to demonstrate what the world would be like if George had never existed. Among other unexpected effects of his ill-considered wish, his brother Harry would have drowned as a child, as George was not there to save him. As George comes to realize the positive effects he has had on others' lives, he regrets his hasty wish, and Clarence restores him to his previous life.[2]

As George now appreciates his life, despite its difficulties, Clarence wins his wings.[2]


"Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives, and when he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?"[3]

Clarence tells Nick the bartender that his age is "[T]wo hundred and ninety three, uhh, next May".[3]

After George's life is restored to him, he runs through Bedford Falls passing the Bijou movie theater. The marquee lists the film playing as "The Bells of St. Mary's" (1945), in which Henry Travers starred as Horace P. Bogardus.[3]



  • [1] Reel