Clarke suffered a stroke in 2007 and had been in a state of deteriorating health over the past few years.
His daughter, Melinda, who has also appeared on “Days of Our Lives,” confirmed the news in an Instagram post.
Clarke originated his role as Mickey Horton on “Days of our Lives” at the show’s beginning in 1965. He acted on the soap for 39 years before leaving in 2004. Clarke’s first major acting role was in an episode of CBS’s “The Twilight Zone” in 1959. From 1961-62, he starred in ABC’s “The New Breed.”
“It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of our dear friend and original cast member, John Clarke,” the “Days of Our Lives” team said in a statement. “A beloved member of the ‘Days of our Lives’ family, John will always hold a special place in our hearts and the hearts of our fans. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”
As a film actor, Clarke appeared in “Judgement at Nuremberg,” “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World,” “The Satan Bug” and “Man Missing.” He was active on the stage as well, performing as resident leading man in more than 75 plays at Chicago’s Tenthouse Theater. He was also involved in musical theater, taking on various leading roles at the Sacramento Music Circus.
Born in South Bend, Ind. in 1931, Clarke moved schools whenever his Army father was re-stationed. He studied theater at UCLA, and served in the Air Force during the Korean War, entertaining military personnel as a part of a touring troop.
He earned a daytime Emmy nomination for outstanding actor in a daytime drama in 1979 and received the lifetime achievement daytime Emmy award in 2005.
Clarke is survived by his wife, Patty Clarke; children, Joshua and Melinda; and three grandchildren. Clarke had another daughter, Heidi, who died from a heart attack in 1994.