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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.

(Courtesy of Bruce Hickey)
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. He was an "Auto Machinist" living in Vernal, Utah when he registered for the World War I draft. And he did serve overseas in the 362nd Infantry and was a Sergeant when discharged in early 1919.

He got the acting bug, and there are dozens of mid 1920s newspaper articles on Stephen Clark in stock theater with the Warburton Players whose home base was Yonkers, New York. The Billboard trade publication notes that Clark acted and was assistant director on Warburton's 1925 production of "The Devil Within". Further down this webpage is a link to a large newspaper ad (with a photo of a young Stephen Clark) for Warburton's comedy "Quarantine" and "The Witch Doctor" melodrama.

Jump to the 1930 census and Steve was living at a Manhattan, New York hotel and his occupation was "Actor - Theatrical". The Internet Broadway database, Playbill website, and other sources have him acting in two New York plays, "Deep Channels" in 1929 and "The Blue Ghost" in 1930 (which Clark also directed).

His first film appearance was circa 1933 when he was over 40 years old. In a movie career that spanned about twenty years, Clark appeared in 300+ films from the early 1930s through the early 1950s ... and most were B westerns. Steve also turns up in early 1950s TV programs GENE AUTRY, LONE RANGER, RANGE RIDER, WILD BILL HICKOK, CISCO KID, more.

He was a busy man at Columbia, Monogram, and Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). But not many paydays from Republic Pictures - Clark only did about 30 films for Republic and nearly half of those were Johnny Mack Brown and Bob Steele oaters for producer A. W. Hackel (Supreme Pictures) which were released by Republic soon after the studio was formed. Prolific director Sam Newfield had a stable of dependables that he employed - and Clark was in about four dozen Newfield films scattered over the years 1936 - 1946. There's a statistics box further down this webpage with more details on Clark's movie appearances.

Les Adams adds some additional info on Clark:

"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."

In June, 2000, I received an e-mail from Bob Phillips. As a youngster, he visited Steve Clark and his wife Ruth 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 information 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."

He was married three times: there's an unnamed wife listed on his World War I draft registration; in 1937, he tied the knot with Wilda Ruth McCleary (nee Naugle) and she passed away in 1952; wife number three was Emily Margaret Clark and she was the informant on Steve's death certificate.

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

Below is a chart of Steve Clark's movie career from 1933 - early 1950s in westerns, serials, shorts, and other films. His TV work is NOT included. I've used the RELEASE dates (not filming dates) from the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).
Total films in this chart = 313, and most are westerns.
1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952-
About two thirds of Steve Clark's westerns were with these heroes and trios:
  • At Columbia Pictures in 34 with Charles Starrett and 12 with Bill Elliott.
  • In 38 with Johnny Mack Brown at Supreme, Republic, and Monogram.
  • At Monogram in 15 Range Busters, 10 Jimmy Wakelys, 8 Whip Wilsons, 5 with Tom Keene, and 4 with Jack Randall.
  • At PRC in 16 with Buster Crabbe, 8 Eddie Deans, 7 George Houston Lone Riders, 4 with Bob Steele, 4 with Lash LaRue, and 3 of the Texas Rangers and Frontier Marshal trio series.
  • In 13 with Tim McCoy at various production companies.
  • At Republic Pictures, he did 6 with Allan Lane, 5 with Gene Autry, 2 with Roy Rogers, 1 Sunset Carson, and 1 Bill Elliott.
More Steve Clark trivia:

He only did one oater with John Wayne, THE LAWLESS NINETIES (Republic, 1936).
He did NOT appear in any of Republic's Three Mesquiteers trio series or the Hopalong Cassidy films.

More info on Steve Clark came from Family Search (free), (subscription), California Death Index, death certificate, and newspapers:

Find A Grave website confirms that Steve Clark is interred at Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, California:
His first wife, Wilda Ruth Clark (1899 - 1952; nee Naugle), is also interred at Valhalla:

As mentioned earlier, Clark was doing stage plays prior to his circa 1933 arrival in Hollywood. 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):

The Playbill website has more on Clark and those two New York plays:

In the 1920s, Clark was a member of the Warburton Players and they did many plays in Yonkers, New York. This large newspaper ad has photos of the players in the 1925 play "The Witch Doctor", and a young Steve Clark is pictured:

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Steve Clark film and TV appearances:

(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 collection)

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 collection)

Above is a lobby card and a crop/blowup from TOO MUCH BEEF (Normandy, 1936) depicting the film-ending courtroom scene. From left to right in the photo inset are Steve Clark, Rex Bell, and sitting at the table is villain Forrest Taylor. The ladies are blonde Connie Bergen and Peggy O'Connel.

(From Old Corral collection)

Above - Johnny Mack Brown pays attention to 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 Horace Murphy. From BOOTHILL BRIGADE (A. W. Hackel/Republic, 1937).

(From Old Corral collection)

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

(Courtesy of Ken Jones)

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

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

L-to-R are an unidentified bartender (possibly Charles Kemper), Warner Richmond, Steve Clark, James Mason, Dave 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 in a gang run by Warner Richmond.

(From Old Corral collection)

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.

(From Old Corral collection)

Above - Steve Clark (on the left) and Rex Bell in a scene from DAWN ON THE GREAT DIVIDE (Monogram, 1942). DAWN was the final oater for Buck Jones who died from injuries suffered in the November 28, 1942 Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire in Boston.

(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.

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above from left to right are Budd Buster (as the Mayor), Steve Clark (sheriff), Max 'Alibi' Terhune, and John 'Dusty' King in a still from the Range Busters adventure BOOT HILL BANDITS (Monogram, 1942). This one is chock full of familiar villains - Ray Corrigan battles "the Maverick", the scar faced brute portrayed by big Glenn Strange. Other baddies were John Merton, I. Stanford Jolley and George Chesebro. At the end, Budd Buster is revealed as the brains heavy.

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Left to right are Forrest Taylor, Max 'Alibi' Terhune, Joe Garcia/Joe Garcio, John Merton (sitting), Ed Cassidy, and Steve Clark. From BULLETS AND SADDLES (Monogram, 1943), the 24th and last of Monogram's Range Busters trio adventures.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

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)

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)

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

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