Celebrity News May 26, 2023
Marlene Clark, 'Sanford & Son,' 'Ganja & Hess' Actress, Dies at 85
Marlene Clark, the glamorous model who turned to acting in movies and on TV in the '60s, '70s, and '80s, died May 18, the same day as her "Slaughter" co-star Jim Brown. She was 85.
Clark's peaceful passing in her L.A. home was confirmed to "Extra" by her representative, who did not provide a cause.
Clark was born December 19, 1937, in Harlem, spending her summers in West Virginia. She attended Morristown Junior College in Tennessee and City College in NYC, where she became interested in acting.
While modeling, she appeared in "For Love of Ivy" (1968) with Sidney Poitier, in Best Picture Oscar winner "Midnight Cowboy" (1969), and in Robert Downey Sr.'s much-admired "Putney Swope" (1969). Clark was the only person on the controversial poster for the latter, which depicted a hand and the phrase "Up Madison Ave." — with Clark's body where the middle finger should be.
Clark was directed by a diverse slate, including Hal Ashby in "The Landlord" (1970) and Larry Hagman in "Beware! The Blob" (1972), but was most famous for polar-opposite roles: as a sultry vampire in Bill Gunn's film "Ganja & Hess" (1973) and as Lamont's demure girlfriend on TV's "Sanford & Son" (1976-1977).
Other films include "Slaughter" (1972), "Enter the Dragon" (1973), and "Switchblade Sisters" (1975). She acted until 1988.
In the '80s, Clark opened a Melrose Ave. clothing store and then became the manager of Hal's Bar and Grill in Venice Beach, California, for 15 years.
Her representative remembered her the way others have: "Marlene’s style was impeccable. She loved fashion, food and acting. Her large, full laugh that could fill a room will be missed. She leaves behind friends and family that will forever be grateful for her grace, love, and beautiful heart. Marlene was one of our finest examples of Black beauty."