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Robert I. Clarke


Character actor Robert I. Clarke died June 11 in Valley Village, Calif. Of natural causes. He was 85.

Clarke appeared in TV shows including “The King Family Show” and more than 85 motion pictures, such as “The Hideous Sun Demon.”

He became a cult favorite for his work in 1950s monster films including “The Man from Planet X,” “The Astounding She-Monster,” “The Incredible Petrified World” and “Sun Demon,” which he wrote and produced. His 1996 autobiography, written with Tom Weaver, was called “To ‘B’ or Not to ‘B.'”

In the 1959 “Sun Demon,” Clarke portrayed Dr. Gilbert McKenna, a radioactively contaminated scientist who turns into a lizard-like monster when exposed to the sun.

Clarke, who was married to the King Sisters’ Alyce, performed comedy sketches and reading on the show which ran from 1965 to 1969.

Born in Oklahoma City, he moved to Hollywood in 1942 and landed a contract with RKO. By 1950 he had appeared in about 40 motion pictures, including “The Body Snatcher,” starring Boris Karloff, and “Zombies on Broadway,” starring Bela Lugosi.

Clarke became a regular in westerns, including “Riders of the Range” and “Pistol Harvest,” and swashbucklers such as “Blades of the Musketeers” and “Tales of Robin Hood.”

He made his television debut in 1950 on “Ford Theatre” in the series’ presentation of “The Three Musketeers.”

Clarke appeared frequently in such series as “Dragnet,” “Perry Mason,” “Sea Hunt,” “Hawaiian Eye,” “Simon & Simon” and “Dynasty.”

He is survived by a son, two stepsons, 11 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

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