Dane Clark

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Dane Clark
Dane Clark 1963.jpg
Clark in 1963
Born Bernard Zanville
(1912-02-26)February 26, 1912
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Died September 11, 1998(1998-09-11) (aged 86)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Years active 1935–1989
Spouse(s) Margot Yoder (m. 1941–70) (her death)
Geraldine Zanville (m. 1971–98) (his death)

Dane Clark (February 26, 1912 – September 11, 1998) was an American film actor who was known for playing, as he labeled himself, "Joe Average".[1]

Early life[edit]

Clark was born Bernard Zanville in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Jewish immigrants, Samuel, a sporting goods store owner, and his wife, Rose. The date of birth is a matter of dispute, amongst different sources.[3] He graduated from Cornell University and earned a law degree at St. John's University School of Law in Queens, New York. During the Great Depression, he worked as a boxer, baseball player, construction worker, and model.[1]

Acting career[edit]

Modeling brought him in contact with people in the arts. He gradually perceived them to be snobbish, with their talk of the "theatah", and "I decided to give it a try myself, just to show them anyone could do it."[1]

Clark with his wife, Margot, 1946

He progressed from small Broadway parts to larger ones, eventually taking over the role of George from Wallace Ford in the 1937 production of Of Mice and Men.[1] Clark got his big break when he was signed by Warner Bros. in 1943. He worked alongside some of his era's biggest stars, often in war movies such as Action in the North Atlantic (1943), his breakthrough part, opposite Humphrey Bogart, Destination Tokyo (1943) with Cary Grant, and Pride of the Marines (1945) with friend and fellow New Yorker John Garfield. According to Clark, Bogart gave him his stage name.[1] He also played a surly artist opposite Bette Davis in A Stolen Life.

Exhibitors voted Clark the 16th most popular star at the US box office in 1945,[4] and during the 1950s, he became one of a small group of actors (excluding the original 'founding' members brought in at the Studio's inception) awarded life membership in The Actors Studio.[5]

Clark played Peter Chambers in the short-lived radio show Crime and Peter Chambers, a half-hour show that aired from April 6 to September 7, 1954.

Clark first appeared on television in the late 1940s, and after the mid-1950s worked much more in that medium than in feature films. In the 1954-1955 season, he co-starred as the character Richard Adams, with Gary Merrill in the role of Jason Tyler, in the NBC crime drama Justice, about attorneys of the Legal Aid Society of New York.[6] In 1959, he reprised Humphrey Bogart's role as Slate in Bold Venture, a short-lived television series. He also guest starred on a number of television shows, including Faye Emerson's Wonderful Town, Appointment with Adventure, CBS's Rawhide in the episode "Incident of the Night Visitor", and The Twilight Zone, in the episode "The Prime Mover". In 1970, he guest-starred in an episode of The Silent Force. He also played Lieutenant Tragg in the short-lived revival of the Perry Mason television series in 1973, and appeared in the 1976 miniseries Once an Eagle.


Clark died on September 11, 1998, of lung cancer at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California.[7]

Partial filmography[edit]

Clark in a 1956 TV episode of Wire Service

Radio appearances[edit]

Year Program Episode/source
1942 Suspense Tom Cochrane in "The Singing Walls", airdate September 2, 1943.
1943 Suspense Walter Bates in "Life Ends at Midnight", airdate February 17, 1944.
1946 The Fifth Horseman[8] Doomsday
1952 Philip Morris Playhouse The Criminal Code[9]
1953 Broadway Playhouse The Turning Point[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e Lawrence Van Gelder (September 16, 1998). "Dane Clark, Actor, 85, Dies; Starred in World War II Films". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-25. 
  2. ^ Social Security Death Index for Dane Clark, Social Security No. 067-05-7928, accessed via Ancestry.com on Feb. 4, 2010.
  3. ^ The three most frequently shown dates are February 26, 1912; February 18, 1913; and February 18, 1915. The Social Security Death Index shows the 1912 date.[2] Age listings consistent with a 1912 birthdate are also found in border crossing information available on Ancestry.com, and 1930 census records. The 1920 census listing is consistent with a 1913 birth date.
  5. ^ Garfield, David (1980). "Strasberg Takes Over: 1951-1955". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 93. ISBN 0-02-542650-8. Aside from the original Robert Lewis group and those who came in with Mann and Meisner and were asked to remain, such individuals as Roscoe Lee Browne, Dane Clark, Tamra Daykarhanova, Rita Gam, Burgess Meredith, Sidney Poitier, Paula Strasberg, Anna Mizrahi Strasberg, and Franchot Tone have been voted directly into membership by the Studio's directorate or by Strasberg himself. In the early sixties, several actors who performed with The Actors Studio Theatre were similarly admitted. 
  6. ^ Alex McNeil, Total Television, p. 444
  7. ^ Edward J. Boyer (September 15, 1998). "Dane Clark; Theater and Television Actor". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-04-29. 
  8. ^ "The Fifth Horseman". 
  9. ^ Kirby, Walter (March 2, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 42. Retrieved May 28, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  10. ^ Kirby, Walter (May 10, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 50. Retrieved June 27, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read

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