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The 'brains' and 'action' heavies who had meaty roles and lots of dialog ... and the players who were fathers, ranch owners, lawman, mayors, judges, lawyers, storekeepers, newspaper editors, wardens, etc.


Steve Clark

Full name:
Elmer Stephen Clark

1891 - 1954


Steve Clark's Hollywood career was in westerns and his roles were generally that of a lawman or a kind, gentle person such as the heroine's father, local banker, or ranch owner. Those portrayals were a good match for Clark who had a mild voice and screen presence. Often, the bevy of baddies pounced on poor ol' Steve ... or killed him off early.

Elmer Stephen Clark was born in Daviess County, Indiana in 1891, and his first film appearance occurs circa 1933 when he was over 40 years old. What did he do prior to filmwork? In the 1930 census, Stephen Clark is living in Manhattan, New York and is an "Actor - Theatrical". The Internet Broadway database has Stephen Clark appearing in two plays in New York, "Deep Channels" in 1929 and "The Blue Ghost" in 1930 (which Clark also directed).

Les Adams has Clark identified in at least 270 sound era films, of which 9 are cliffhangers and about 250 are westerns.  His film credits are spread over a 20 year period from the early 1930s through the early 1950s.  Clark did about 30 film appearances at Republic Pictures, but nearly half of those were in the Johnny Mack Brown and Bob Steele oaters for A. W. Hackel (Supreme Pictures) which were released by Republic soon after the studio was formed. He also showed up in some early 1950s TV programs such as GENE AUTRY, LONE RANGER, RANGE RIDER, WILD BILL HICKOK, CISCO KID, more.


Les adds some additional info on Clark's film roles:

"Clark was the 'brains heavy' to Jack Randall in LAND OF THE SIX GUNS and, despite his elderly statesman status and slight stature, he was a plain ol' 'dog henchie' in several mid-30s and early-40s westerns and a couple of serials, some being: ALIAS JOHN LAW, WHERE TRAILS DIVIDE, COURAGE OF THE WEST, SON OF DAVY CROCKETT, THE LONE PRAIRIE, MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN, THE SPIDER'S WEB, NORTH FROM THE LONE STAR and others. He was a Sheriff, Marshal or Deputy on at least 35 other films, not including the Judge in MAN OF COURAGE, one of only about six non-western or serial credits of the 270 or so I have on him. This is about 100 more than the IMDb has for him, and I know I don't have everything he did."

In June, 2000, I received an e-mail from Bob Phillips, who as a youngster, visited Steve Clark and his wife at their California home. Bob writes:

"My mother and I would visit Steve and his wife (Ruth I think) at their home in the San Fernando Valley in the early 1940's. I believe they were friends of my mother Julia Phillips (nee Julia Fuhrman). Possibly it was Ruth who my mother had known in the past. Their home seemed very sophisticated to me because they had a coffee table with boxes of cigarettes and candy for their guests plus copies of the Esquire magazine (considered very racy at that time). I was only allowed the candy (I was about 10 years old at the time) but I did sneak some peaks at the Esquire when I was in the room alone."

In May, 2001, I received an e-mail from Dave Smith:

"The Center for Motion Picture Studies offered me little information on Steve Clark. No clippings, no photos. However I did find an entry in the International Motion Picture Almanac for 1950-51:
Steve Clark, b. Washington, Indiana Feb. 26, 1891
Stage actor, Director, Manager 1909-1939.
Since on screen in innumerable westerns."

And in September, 2001, both Dave Smith and Michael R. Pitts provided further information obtained from Steve Clark's Social Security application:

"Clark was living at 1119 N. McCadden Place in Hollywood at the time he applied for a Social Security number.  The application was dated January 20, 1937 and lists his employer as 'The Motion Picture Industry'. His birthdate is listed as February 26, 1891, in Davis (really Daviess) County, Indiana. Parents were Wesley Richard Clark and Nancy Eloise Cross. He is shown with his family in the 1900 Indiana Census for Daviess County, Elmore Township. On it he is shown as Elmer S. Clark. Since he signed his Social Security application as Stephen Clark, his full name would have been Elmer Stephen Clark."

Clark passed away on June 29, 1954 from various heart/coronary problems at his home in Van Nuys, California.

More info on Steve Clark came from the Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), California Death Records database, and his death certificate:

As mentioned earlier, there is a good indication that Clark was doing stage plays prior to his arrival in Hollywood circa 1933. In the 1930 census, Stephen Clark is living in Manhattan, New York and is an "Actor - Theatrical". The Internet Broadway database has Stephen Clark appearing in two plays in New York, "Deep Channels" in 1929 and "The Blue Ghost" in 1930 (which Clark also directed): http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=14438

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Steve Clark film appearances: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0164521/

There's mention of Steve Clark at Mark Kratzner's Hollywood Hoosiers Hall of Fame: http://www.hoosierwoodindiana.com/

Dave Smith has a website on 'Hoosiers' (actors and actresses born in Indiana), and Steve Clark is also listed there: http://www.whenmoviesweremovies.com/




(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Left - tidbit on Steve Clark from the pressbook for JEEP HERDERS (Planet Productions, 1946; re-released by Astor, 1949).  Perhaps an Old Corral visitor can provide more info on Steve Clark's theater in Hollywood.






(Courtesy of Dale Crawford & Jim Sorensen)

Clark is interred at Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, California, Lot # 3, Section 11705.




(From Old Corral image collection)

Above from left to right are Steve Clark, Dick Botiller and Rex Bell in a lobby card and a crop/blowup from Bell's WEST OF NEVADA (Colony, 1936).



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above, Johnny Mack Brown pays attention to veteran supporting player Steve Clark, who is making a point with his finger.  Between Brown and Clark is juvenile actor Bobby Nelson.  And over Brown's right shoulder is veteran Horace Murphy.  From BOOTHILL BRIGADE (A. W. Hackel/Republic, 1937).



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above is Steve Clark (sans his normal mustache) with Bob Steele in RIDIN' THE LONE TRAIL (A. W. Hackel/Republic, 1937).



(Courtesy of Ken Jones)

Above from L-to-R are Earl Dwire, Steve Clark, Tom Keene, Oscar Gahan, Charles B. Murphy (with badge) and Denver Dixon (Victor Adamson) in a scene from Keene's ROMANCE OF THE ROCKIES (Monogram, 1937).



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are an unidentified player (possibly Charles Kemper), Warner Richmond, Steve Clark, James Mason, Sharpe, Archie Ricks and Bud Osborne in a scene from the Tom Keene oater, WHERE TRAILS DIVIDE (Monogram, 1937). This is a good one with lawyer Keene finding his brother - portrayed by the youthful Dave Sharpe - working for a gang bossed by Warner Richmond.



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - Steve Clark (center) tries to halt the brawl between hero Jack Randall (left) and George Chesebro (right) in this lobby card from LAND OF SIX GUNS (Monogram, 1940). The mild-mannered Clark was the "brains heavy" in this film.



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above are Steve Clark (on the left) and Rex Bell in a scene from DAWN ON THE GREAT DIVIDE (Monogram, 1942). This was the final film for Charles 'Buck' Jones.



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Tom Seidel, Nick Moro, youngster Sugar Dawn, Frank Yaconelli, Tom Keene, Hope Blackwood and Steve Clark in a lobby card from Keene's ARIZONA ROUNDUP (Monogram, 1942). Pretty Hope Blackwood was a rodeo performer and this was her solo film appearance.



(Image courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Douglas Fowley, Lynne Carver, stuntman Ted Mapes (with hat), Steve Clark, Terry Frost (with hat), Johnny Mack Brown, Lynton Brent (partial face), a very old Jack Rockwell (wearing the suit), Tom Quinn and Raymond Hatton in a scene from JMB's DRIFTING ALONG (Monogram, 1946).



(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above from L-to-R are Myron Healey, Steve Clark, Marshall Reed, John Merton, Max Terhune, and on the far right wearing the suit is Hugh Prosser. From WESTERN RENEGADES (Monogram, 1949), an entry in the Johnny Mack Brown series.



(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

From L-to-R are Steve Clark, Whip Wilson and Andy Clyde in ABILENE TRAIL (Monogram, 1951).



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