Stanley Clements

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Stanley Clements
Born Stanislaw Klimowicz
(1926-07-16)July 16, 1926
Long Island, New York, U.S.
Died October 16, 1981(1981-10-16) (aged 55)
Pasadena, California, U.S.
Cause of death emphysema
Occupation Actor/Comedian
Years active 1941–1978
Spouse(s) Maria Walek (1951-1974) (divorced)
Gloria Grahame (1945-1948) (divorced)

Stanley Clements (born Stanislaw Klimowicz; July 16, 1926 – October 16, 1981) was an American actor and comedian, best known for portraying "Stash" in the East End Kids film series, and group leader Stanislaus "Duke" Coveleskie in The Bowery Boys film series that featured a substantially identical cast.

Life and career[edit]

Stanley Clements was born in Long Island, New York. Young Stan realized that he wanted a show-business career while he was in grammar school, and after he graduated from Brooklyn's PS 49 in 1938, for the next two years he toured in vaudeville and found work in radio. He then joined the touring company of the Major Bowes Amateur Hour. His career stalled in 1940, and Clements was reduced to panhandling for a time to survive. In 1941, he was signed to a contract by 20th Century Fox and appeared in juvenile/teen roles in several B films for the studio.

East Side Kids[edit]

In 1942 he was loaned to Monogram Pictures and landed a recurring role as "Stash" in the ensemble cast film series, the East Side Kids. He appeared as an East Side Kid in Smart Alecks, 'Neath Brooklyn Bridge, and Ghosts on the Loose. Interestingly, Clements also appeared as a character named Stash in a few films unrelated to the East Side Kids, such as Right to the Heart, 1950's Military Academy with That Tenth Avenue Gang, and Boots Malone.

Marriage[edit]

In August 1945, Clements married actress Gloria Grahame, who played bad girl Violet Bick in It's a Wonderful Life, and who later won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for The Bad and The Beautiful. The marriage was a stormy one, with Grahame objecting to Clements's drinking and gambling, and Clements being jealous of her dalliances with other men, and it ended in 1948.

Other Roles[edit]

After the East Side Kids, Clements then set out on his own again, this time landing roles in more prestigious pictures. He was featured in perhaps his best-known role as teenage street-tough-turned-choirboy "Tony Scaponi" in the 1944 Bing Crosby hit Going My Way, and scored a great success as a jockey in the 1945 Alan Ladd feature Salty O'Rourke.

Clements's acting career was interrupted by military service just after World War II, and when he returned in 1947, he began appearing in more adult roles in lower-budgeted films, including Johnny Holiday (cast against type as a psychopath) and Destination Murder (as a hired killer). He starred in a series of action/detective pictures at the successor to Monogram Pictures, Allied Artists for producer Ben Schwalb and director Edward Bernds.

The Bowery Boys[edit]

In 1945 after Leo Gorcey left the East Side Kids in a contract dispute, causing Warner Brothers to release the rest of the cast from their contracts, a new incarnation of the East Side Kids series was created, called The Bowery Boys, with Ben Schwalb as staff producer, and Gorcey owning a 40% share in the franchise. Gorcey's real-life father Bernard Gorcey was added to the cast as Louis Dumbrowski, proprietor of Louie's Sweet Shop, the headquarters of The Bowery Boys. After the elder Gorcey was killed in an auto accident in 1955, a grief-stricken Leo Gorcey turned to alcohol for solace and became a disruptive presence in the Bowery Boys studio during the filming of Crashing Las Vegas, trashing scenery and destroying props. In 1956 Gorcey demanded a larger share of ownership from Allied Artists (successor company to Monogram Pictures), which was denied, and after a heated conversation, Gorcey stormed off the studio lot and quit the series.

When Schwalb needed a replacement for Gorcey, he asked Stanley Clements to step in as The Bowery Boys new ringleader, Stanislaus "Duke" Coveleskie (although Huntz Hall received top billing). Clements comfortably settled into the role of Huntz Hall's sidekick, and co-starred in the final seven Bowery Boys comedies, beginning with Fighting Trouble.

Later Career and Death[edit]

Following the end of The Bowery Boys franchise in 1958, Clements went on to a steady career of supporting roles in film and television. One of his last jobs was an appearance in a nationally advertised commercial for Pringle's potato chips.

On October 16, 1981 Stanley Clements died from emphysema in Pasadena, California. His death occurred on the day of the funeral for his former wife, Gloria Grahame, who had passed away from cancer several days earlier in New York City. He is buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California.[1]

Partial filmography[edit]

 • - East Side Kids or Bowery Boys series

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Stanley C. Clements". find-a-grave.com. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 

External links[edit]