Marcia Clark at the 2011 Texas Book Festival
Marcia Rachel Kleks
August 31, 1953
|Alma mater||University of California, Los Angeles (BA)|
Southwestern Law School (JD)
Marcia Rachel Clark (née Kleks, formerly Horowitz; August 31, 1953) is an American prosecutor, author, television correspondent and television producer. She is known for being the lead prosecutor in the O. J. Simpson murder case.
Early life and education
Clark was born Marcia Rachel Kleks in Alameda, California, the daughter of Rozlyn (née Masur) and Abraham Kleks. Her father was born and raised in Israel, and worked as a chemist for the Food and Drug Administration. She was raised in a Jewish family. She has a younger brother by six years who became an engineer. Due to her father's job with the FDA, the family moved many times, living in California, New York, Michigan, and Maryland.
Kleks graduated from Susan E. Wagner High School, a public school in the Manor Heights section of Staten Island, New York City, New York. She studied at the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating in 1976 with a degree in political science, then earned a Juris Doctor degree at Southwestern University School of Law.
Clark was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1979. She was in private practice and worked as a public defender for the city of Los Angeles before she made a complete turnaround and became a prosecutor in 1981. She worked as a deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County, California, and was mentored by prosecutor Harvey Giss.
Clark is best remembered as the lead prosecutor in the 1995 trial of O. J. Simpson on charges of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson, his ex-wife, and Ron Goldman. Prior to this trial, Clark's highest-profile prosecution was in 1991, when she prosecuted Robert John Bardo for the murder of television star Rebecca Schaeffer. In his book Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away with Murder, Vincent Bugliosi blames the acquittal of O. J. Simpson on the lack of trial preparation by Clark and Christopher Darden, prosecutorial incompetence, and lack of a trial work ethic.
Clark said that the media attention she received during the trial was "the hell of the trial," calling herself "famous in a way that was kind of terrifying". Initially described as "grim, humorless, even angry" by the media, Clark was advised by a jury consultant to "talk softer, dress softer, wear pastels" as a means to improve her image. She subsequently changed her hairstyle into a perm, and the Los Angeles Times described her as looking like "Sigourney Weaver, only more professional." The New York Times commented that "the transformation was not entirely seamless. At times Ms. Clark lurched between her new and former self, showing occasional signs of formality and stiffness."
Clark resigned from the District Attorney's office after she lost the O. J. Simpson case and left trial practice behind her. She and Teresa Carpenter wrote a book about the Simpson case, Without a Doubt, in a deal reported to be worth $4.2 million.
Since the Simpson trial, Clark has made numerous appearances on television, including being a "special correspondent" for Entertainment Tonight. She provided coverage of high-profile trials and reported from the red carpet at awards shows such as the Emmy Awards. She was a guest attorney on the short-lived television series Power of Attorney, and was also featured on Headline News (HLN), where she analyzed the Casey Anthony trial. In July 2013, Clark provided commentary for CNN on the trial of George Zimmerman in Florida for the murder of Trayvon Martin.
Clark wrote a pilot script for a TV series called Borderland, centering on "a very dark version of the DA's office", which was purchased by FX but never produced. She has contributed true crime articles to The Daily Beast.
Clark has written several novels. Her "Rachel Knight" series centers on a prosecutor in the Los Angeles District Attorney's office, and includes Guilt By Association (2011), Guilt By Degrees (2012), Killer Ambition (2013), and The Competition (2014). Guilt by Association was adapted as a television pilot for TNT in 2014.
In contrast, Clark's "Samantha Brinkman" series features a woman who is a defense attorney. It includes Blood Defense (2016), Moral Defense (2016), and Snap Judgment (2017), and is being adapted into a TV series for NBC, co-written by Clark. Clark never expected to be an author, but said, "As a lawyer, I came to understand early that storytelling plays a very important part when you address a jury. So I guess my instincts have always kind of been there when it comes to weaving a narrative." She read Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys mystery fiction as a child, and said "I have been addicted to crime since I was born. I was making up crime stories when I was a 4- or 5-year-old kid."
In popular culture
In 2015, Clark was parodied on the sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in the form of the character "Marcia," portrayed by Tina Fey. Fey was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for the role.
Clark appears in the 2016 documentary miniseries O.J.: Made in America. She is played by Sarah Paulson in the 2016 television series The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, which focuses on the O. J. Simpson trial. Paulson's performance as Clark earned wide acclaim, and she earned a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for the role. Clark attended the Emmy Awards with Paulson on September 18, 2016. Katey Rich wrote in Vanity Fair that the series positions Clark as a "feminist hero."
When Clark was 17 years old, she was raped on a trip to Eilat, Israel. She has said it was an experience she did not deal with until much later, and that it influenced much of why she became a prosecutor.
In 1976, Clark married Gabriel Horowitz, an Israeli professional backgammon player; they had met while they were students at UCLA. They received a "Tijuana divorce" in 1980, and had no children. Horowitz was briefly in the news after he (or his mother) sold topless photos of Clark to the National Enquirer during the O. J. Simpson trial.
In 1980, Clark married her second husband, Gordon Clark, a computer programmer and systems administrator who was employed at the Church of Scientology. They were divorced in 1995 and have two sons, born circa 1990 and 1992. Gordon argued at a custody hearing during the Simpson trial that he should receive custody of their children due to the long hours Marcia spent working for the trial.
Clark no longer considers herself a religious person, although she was raised Jewish and her first wedding was a conservative Jewish ceremony. She was a member of the Church of Scientology but since 1980 is no longer associated with it.
Rachel Knight series
- Guilt By Association (2011). Mulholland Books. ISBN 978-0-316-12951-0
- Guilt By Degrees (2012). Mulholland Books. ISBN 978-0-316-12953-4
- Killer Ambition (2013). Mulholland Books. ISBN 978-0-316-22094-1
- The Competition (2014). Mulholland Books. ISBN 978-0-316-22097-2
- If I'm Dead: A Rachel Knight Story (2012). Mulholland Books. Digital.
- Trouble in Paradise: A Rachel Knight Story (2013). Mulholland Books. Digital.
Samantha Brinkman series
- Blood Defense (2016). Thomas & Mercer. ISBN 978-1-503-93619-5
- Moral Defense (2016). Thomas & Mercer. ISBN 978-1-503-93977-6
- Snap Judgment (2017). Thomas & Mercer. ISBN 978-1-542-04599-5
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- Toobin, Jeffrey (January 9, 1995). "True Grit". The New Yorker. p. 28. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
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- "Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark". Kirkus Reviews. June 17, 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
- "The Competition by Marcia Clark". Kirkus Reviews. June 16, 2014. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
- Andreeva, Nellie (March 4, 2014). "Julia Stiles To Topline TNT Drama Pilot Guilt By Association". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
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- Epting, Chris (May 17, 2016). "Author Marcia Clark Goes On the Defense". The Huffington Post.
- Tuttle, Kate (April 5, 2016). "Marcia Clark on how her new book is different than the old Marcia, Marcia, Marcia". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
- "@imarleneking thank you so much for letting me play Sidney Barnes, it was SUCH incredible fun! Great to meet you! #PLLROCKS". twitter.com/thatmarciaclark. July 29, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
- Rosenberg, Alyssa (March 9, 2016). "Pop culture was vicious to Marcia Clark. A new show offers an overdue apology". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
- Upadhyaya, Kayla Kumari (April 26, 2016). "Tina Fey is here to help Kimmy Schmidt get better". The A.V. Club. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
- "List: 2015 Primetime Emmy nominees". USA Today. July 16, 2015. Retrieved July 17, 2015.
- Miller, Julie (August 26, 2016). "Marcia Clark Is Making a Semi-Autobiographical TV Series". Vanity Fair. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
- Miller, Julie (January 27, 2016). "The Man Behind O.J. Simpson's ESPN Mini-series on Resisting the Kardashians and How Our Culture Was 'O.J.'d'". Vanity Fair. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
- Maslow, Nick (September 18, 2016). "Sarah Paulson and Marcia Clark Pal Around on Emmys Red Carpet". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
- Weatherby, Taylor (January 8, 2017). "Here Is the 2017 Golden Globes Winners List". Billboard. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
- Rich, Katey (January 22, 2016). "How Sarah Paulson Is Turning Marcia Clark into a Feminist Hero on American Crime Story". Vanity Fair. Retrieved February 10, 2017.
- "Gaby George Horowitz and Marcia Rachel Kleks". FamilySearch. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
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