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Born: 26 February 1912 (Brooklyn, New York, USA)
Died: 11 September 1998 (Santa Monica, California, USA)
Cause of Death: Lung Cancer
Film and TV Appearances: 155+
Years Active: 1942 - 1989
Action in the North Atlantic (1943)
Dane Clark was born Bernard Elliot Zanville in 1912 to Russian Jew immigrants Rose (nee Korostoff) and Samuel Zanville. He attended New Utrecht High School before graduating from Cornell University and going on to St. John's Law School in Brooklyn, New York.
In order to pay his law school costs, he was persuaded to try acting by his friend John Garfield. This lead to numerous stage roles with Clark eventually moving to Hollywood in 1942. Other jobs he held during the Depression prior to his acting career taking off were as a boxer, a semipro baseball player, a construction worker, a salesman, a sculptor's model and a radio writer.
Clark was also a radio performer starring Suspense's The Singing Walls (as Tom Cochrane, 1943) and Life Ends at Midnight (as Walter Bates, 1944). In 1952, he starred in the Philip Morris Playhouse production, The Criminal Code. He also starred in Broadway Playhouse production, The Turning Point (1954).
“The idea of changing my name was shocking, but it was the code of Hollywood at the time.”— Dane Clark
After appearing in a short, Toils of the Law (1938); a feature film, Money and the Woman (1940), where his scenes were deleted; and various shorts for the US Army, Clark made his film debut in the 1942 movie, Sunday Punch. He was billed under his real name of Bernard Zanville until 1943 when, according to some sources including Clark himself, his stage name was changed to Dane Clark by Humphrey Bogart. Later on, in 1948, he admitted that he didn't really like his stage name because it shocked him.
In 1945 and 1946 he was at his peak of movie fame when he voted by Exhibitors as the "16th Most Popular Star at the US Box Office" (1945) and "The Most Stylish Actor in Hollywood" (September 1946 issue of Movie Life magazine).
Some of the films he appeared in were Destination Tokyo (1943); Hollywood Canteen (1944); Pride of the Marines (1945); A Stolen Life (1946); Deep Valley (1947), Moonrise (1948); Without Honor (1949); Backfire (1950); Never Trust a Gambler (1951); Go Man Go (1954); The Toughest Man Alive (1955); Massacre (1956); Outlaw's Son (1957); Days in My Father's House (1968); The Woman Inside (1981); Blood Song (1982); and Last Rites (1988).
During the early 1950s, Clark went overseas to star in a number of British films. In England, he worked for J. Arthur Rank and other producers in such films as Highly Dangerous (1950);The Gambler and the Lady (1952); Murder by Proxy (aka Blackout, 1954); and Five Days (aka Paid to Kill, 1954). In 1950 he starred in the French film Le traqué (The Hunted).
Ellery Queen (1975-1976)
Television shows he had a regular role on were Justice (as Richard Adams, 7 episodes); Wire Service (as Dan Miller); Bold Venture (as Slate Shannon); and The New Perry Mason (as Lt. Arthur Tragg).
Made for Television movies and mini-series he appeared were The Closing Door (1960); The Face of Fear (1971); The Family Rico (1972); Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole (1972); Cop on the Beat (1975); Murder on Flight 502 (1975); James Dean (1976); Once an Eagle (1976); The French Atlantic Affair (1979); and Condominium (1980).
Some of the TV shows he guest-starred on were The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre; Nash Airflyte Theatre; The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse; Danger; Appointment with Adventure; The Ford Television Theatre; Chevron Hall of Stars; Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre; Studio 57; Climax!; Schlitz Playhouse; The Untouchables; The DuPont Show of the Week; Ben Casey; I Spy; The Name of the Game; Mannix; Cade's County; Mission: Impossible; The Rookies; Ironside; Medical Story; Police Woman; Police Story; The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries; Hawaii Five-O; Fantasy Island; The Fall Guy; Highway to Heaven; and Murder, She Wrote.
He was awarded a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame in 1960 for his work in television. It can be found at 6906 Hollywood Blvd.
Science Fiction Theater (1955)
Bernard Zanville made his stage debut in Frederich Woolf's Sailors of Catarro in 1934. He did acting stints in New York's Group Theater, Orson Welles' Mercury Theater and various touring companies.
On Broadway, Clark appeared in many original productions including Panic (1935); Waiting for Lefty (1935); Till the Day I Die (1935); The Number (1951-1952); Fragile Fox (1954); and Mike Downstairs (1968). He was also a replacement actor in the original productions of Dead End (1935-1937); Of Mice and Men (1937-1938); and A Thousand Clowns (1962-1963).
In 1955, while starring in the production of The Shrike at Los Angeles' Cathay Circle Theater, his co-star Isabel Bonner died in his arms during one of the performances from a brain haemorrhage.
The only thing I want to do in films is be Mr. Joe Average as well as I know how. Of course, anyone whose face appears often enough on the screen is bound to have bobby-soxers after him for autographs. But what I really get a kick out of is when cab drivers around New York lean out and yell 'Hi Brooklyn' when I walk by. They make me feel I'm putting it across O.K. when I try to be Joe Average.— Dane Clark
In 1941, Clark married Margot Yoder who was a painter and sculptor. Despite numerous separations, they remained married until her death in 1970. His second marriage in 1971 to Geraldine Frank (a stockbroker) lasted until his death. Both marriages were childless.
Clark was also an accomplished cook, famous for his version of Chicken Cacciatore. He was a staunch Republican who publicly supported Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Retiring from acting in the late 1980s, he devoted his time to directing and producing.
Dane Clark, who was a lifetime heavy smoker died from lung cancer on 11 September 1998.