Gary Clarke

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Gary Clarke
Gary Clarke as Steve Hill The Virginian.JPG
Clarke as Steve Hill on The Virginian.
Clarke Frederick L'Amoreaux

(1933-08-16) August 16, 1933 (age 88)
Known forMichael Shayne and The Virginian
Spouse(s)Marilyn (1954-bef. 1964)
Pat Woodell (1964-bef. 1978) Jerrene (1991-present)

Gary Clarke (born Clarke Frederick L'Amoreaux;[1][2] August 16, 1933)[3] is an American actor best known for his role as Steve Hill in the NBC western television series The Virginian with James Drury and Doug McClure.

Early life[edit]

Clarke was born in Los Angeles, California,[3] of French and Mexican heritage, and grew up in the predominantly Chicano neighborhood of East Los Angeles.[1] While in high school, he began pursuing the idea of an acting career, and after graduation won a role in a community theater play in San Gabriel, California. This led to work in a series of plays in Glendale.[4] During this time, Clarke was working as a machinist in San Gabriel, as well as a newspaper deliveryman.[5][6]

Film and television career[edit]

Clarke began his screen career with the 1958 film Dragstrip Riot, recalling that agent Byron Griffith, who had seen him perform in Glendale, arranged for an audition that eventually led to his filling the lead role. Clarke recalled:

I drove from San Gabriel to Hollywood and read for the part, and I got in as a member of the good gang. I went back to work the next day and my agent called me again and he said, 'Gary, they have just lost the lead in the movie. Can you get down here?' Yes! So I ... went home [from work] and changed and went down, and I read every day for five days. I didn't go back to work, I just kept calling in sick.[4]

He went on to work in other films, including How to Make a Monster,[1] and Missile to the Moon (both 1958), Date Bait (1960),[3] and Passion Street, U.S.A. (1964).[7] He has said he was a contract player at Universal Pictures.[5]

In the 1960-1961 season, he appeared as Dick Hamilton in the single-season NBC television series Michael Shayne, based on the fictional private detective character created by Brett Halliday, opposite Richard Denning as the title character.[3] Afterward, he appeared as Tad Kimball, a friend of the character Jess Harper, played by Robert Fuller, in the episode "The Fatal Step" of the NBC Western series Laramie.

Clarke played Steve Hill in the cast of the long-running TV Western series The Virginian, remaining on the show from 1962 to 1964. His last series as a cast-member was the 1967 ABC Western Hondo, playing Captain Richards.[3]

Clarke said in an interview that his friend and co-star Steve Ihnat and he wrote the screenplay for director Ted V. Mikels' film Strike Me Deadly (1963),[5] though the film's credits list only Ihnat and Mikels. Later that decade, Clarke under his birth name wrote several scripts for the NBC espionage sitcom Get Smart,[3] which introduced the running character Hymie the Robot.[8] All but one of his six produced scripts for the series("Appointment in Sahara") is about Hymie.

In the 1980s and 1990s, he wrote and produced television public-service announcements including "Youth at Risk", narrated nonfiction short films including "Promoting Healthy Behavior", and appeared in TV series including Dynasty and The Young Riders, in which he had a four-episode recurring role. His films in the 2010s include The Paperboy (2012) and Parkland (2013).[9]

In 2014, the production company L’Amoreaux/Bartlett/Race/Thomas sought actors for an independent TV pilot, Bandits and Tadpoles, written by Bartlett and Thomas and directed by Clarke, about a young boy whose daydreams put him in the American Old West of the Owen Wister novel The Virginian.[10] It filmed June 26–30, 2014, near Austin, Texas, under the title Billy and the Bandit, with a cast including James Drury and Roberta Shore, from Clarke's old series The Virginian; 11-year-old Jordan Elsass as Billy; Ava L'Amoreaux and Donny Boaz as his parents; and Buck Taylor as a ranch foreman.[11]

Singing career[edit]

While a cast-member of Michael Shayne, Clarke released the single "Tomorrow May Never Come", backed with "One Way Ticket", for RCA Victor Records. While on The Virginian, he sang a cover of the theme song, backed with "One Summer in a Million", for Decca Records.[3]

Personal life[edit]

In July 2003, Clarke and Drury, along with two other The Virginian co-stars, Roberta Shore and singer Randy Boone, were guests at the Western Film Fair in Charlotte, North Carolina.[citation needed]

Clarke was a teenager when he married his first wife, Marilyn, and the couple had three boys within three years, Jeff, Dennis, and David.[4] Clarke's second wife was Petticoat Junction actress Pat Woodell, but they later divorced. He married his third wife, Jerrene, in 1991. They have two daughters, Ava and Natalie.[12]

As of 2011, Clarke resided in Austin, Texas.[13][14]

The Virginian episodes[edit]

Clarke appeared in these 45 episodes from 1962 to 1964:

  • The Executioners (19 September 1962)
  • Woman from White Wing (26 September 1962)
  • Throw a Long Rope (3 October 1962)
  • The Big Deal (10 October 1962)
  • The Brazen Bell (17 October 1962)
  • Big Day, Great Day (24 October 1962)
  • Riff-Raff (7 November 1962)
  • Impasse (14 November 1962)
  • It Tolls for Thee (21 November 1962)
  • The Devil's Children (5 December 1962)
  • 50 Days to Moose Jaw (12 December 1962)
  • The Accomplice (19 December 1962)
  • The Man from the Sea (26 December 1962)
  • Duel at Shiloh (2 January 1963)
  • The Exiles (9 January 1963)
  • Say Goodbye to All That (23 January 1963)
  • The Man Who Wouldn't Die (30 January 1963)
  • The Small Parade (20 February 1963)
  • The Money Cage (6 March 1963)
  • A Distant Fury (20 March 1963)
  • Run Away Home (24 April 1963)
  • Ride a Dark Trail (18 September 1963)
  • A Killer in Town (9 October 1963)
  • The Evil That Men Do (16 October 1963)
  • It Takes a Big Man (23 October 1963)
  • Brother Thaddeus (30 October 1963)
  • A Portrait of Marie Valonne (6 November 1963)
  • Run Quiet (13 November 1963)
  • Stopover in a Western Town (27 November 1963)
  • The Fatal Journey (4 December 1963)
  • A Time Remembered (11 December 1963)
  • The Invaders (1 January 1964)
  • Roar from the Mountain (8 January 1964)
  • The Thirty Days of Gavin Heath (22 January 1964)
  • The Drifter (29 January 1964)
  • First to Thine Own Self (12 February 1964)
  • Smile of a Dragon (26 February 1964)
  • Another's Footsteps (11 March 1964)
  • Rope of Lies (25 March 1964)
  • A Bride for Lars (15 April 1964)
  • Dark Destiny (29 April 1964) l
  • A Man Called Kane (6 May 1964)
  • Felicity's Spring (14 October 1964)
  • Big Image... Little Man (28 October 1964)
  • The Girl from Yesterday (11 November 1964)

Gary Clarke is mentioned in relation to this show in a scene in Quentin Tarantino's 2007 feature Death Proof.


  1. ^ a b c Weaver, Tom (2014). "Gary Clarke". Earth Vs. the Sci-fi Filmmakers: Twenty Interviews. McFarland & Co. p. 13. ISBN 978-0786495726.
  2. ^ Some sources give birth name as "Clarke Frederic Lamoreaux". Clarke in Weaver gives Clarke L'Amoreaux.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Leszczak, Bob (2015). "Gary Clarke profile". From Small Screen to Vinyl: A Guide to Television Stars Who Made Records, 1950-2000. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 65–66. ISBN 978-1-4422-4273-9.
  4. ^ a b c Weaver, p. 16.
  5. ^ a b c "Interview with Gary Clarke". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  6. ^ Weaver, p. 14.
  7. ^ Weaver, p. 22
  8. ^ Green, Paul (2009). A History of Television's The Virginian, 1962-1971. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 127. ISBN 9780786446803. OCLC 936885361. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  9. ^ "Gary Clarke [resume]" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on July 10, 2019. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  10. ^ "Paid: Casting Call for Austin, Texas Television Pilot 'Bandits and Tadpoles'". April 12, 2014. Archived from the original on April 26, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  11. ^ "Blog: Filming of 'Billy and the Bandit'". Billy and the Bandit official website. August 1, 2014. Archived from the original on August 26, 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  12. ^ "Pat Woodell, 'Petticoat Junction' Actress, Dies at 71". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 19, 2015. Archived from the original on October 23, 2015. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  13. ^ Beifuss, John (June 1, 2011). "Werewolf Role Was a Hoot, Howl for Clarke!". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis, Tennessee. Archived from the original on April 26, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  14. ^ "Gary Clarke: Actor in Austin, Texas". Archived from the original on June 5, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • How It Happened: A Perusal of Convivial Antics, Romantics and Flubs, by Gary Clarke. Albany: BearManor Media 2016. ISBN 978-1-59393-946-5.
  • Scary Monsters Magazine, September 1998 no.28 "Gary Clarke Memories Of Fangs, Spurs, And Moondust" Interview by Paul Parla and Charles P. Mitchell
  • Movie Collector's World, September 2009 no.735 "Tales Of A Teenage Werewolf" Interview by Paul Parla and Charles P. Mitchell and Anthony DiSalvo
  • Scarlet The Film Magazine, June 2010 no.5 "Teen Wolf, Teen Wolf Too" Interview by Lawrence Fultz Jr.
  • Filmfax magazine, September 2011 no.128 "I Was A Teenage Werewolf Too!" Interview by Lawrence Fultz Jr.