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Marlene Clark: Remembering the Trailblazing Actress
Marlene Clark, the actress best known for her role on Sanford and Son and Ganja & Hess, has passed away at the age of 85. She died at her home in Los Angeles on May 18, leaving behind a legacy as a trailblazing actress who broke barriers in the entertainment industry.
Her friend Tamara Lynch, who confirmed her death to PEOPLE, described Clark as an \”extraordinary woman\” with a commanding presence. \”If you knew Marlene, you knew that the one thing that she had was grit,\” Lynch said. \”She was one of those die-hard old-school actors, performers, Hollywood people. You do the work. You show up. You know your lines, and then you go home and you go back, and you do it the next day.\”
Clark’s work ethic was evident throughout her career, which spanned over four decades. She made her film debut in 1968 with a small part in the romantic comedy For Love of Ivy, which starred Sidney Poitier and Beau Bridges. She then landed a role in Putney Swope, which was directed by Robert Downey Sr.
Clark’s breakthrough role came in 1973 when she played Lamont’s (Demond Wilson) love interest Janet Lawson on Sanford and Son. Wilson remembered the late star on Twitter, writing, “RIP beautiful actress Marlene Clark. . . It was a delight to work with you.”
But it was her work in independent films that solidified Clark’s status as a trailblazer. She starred opposite Duane Jones in the horror film Ganja & Hess, which was directed by Bill Gunn. The film, which dealt with issues of race, addiction, and spirituality, was ahead of its time and is now considered a cult classic. In a 2011 interview with Temple of Schlock, Clark spoke about her experience working on the film. \”Playing that part was very rewarding. And Duane was a treat to work with. He did a terrific job.\”
Clark also appeared in other independent films such as Slaughter, Switchblade Sisters, Night of the Cobra Woman, The Beast Must Die, and Black Mamba. She even had a small role in Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon. Her versatility as an actress allowed her to seamlessly transition from genre to genre, from drama to horror to action.
In addition to her film work, Clark also appeared on television shows such as Head of the Class, Flamingo Road, Highway to Heaven, and Barnaby Jones. Her impact on the entertainment industry is still felt today, even though she may not have been as recognizable as some of her contemporaries.
\”She’s one of the people who get lost in the cracks,\” Lynch said. \”She’s part of the people who kicked down these doors, and there was no predecessor to what she was doing. Everything was blind. So everything she’s doing is the first. So she’s being in these films with these Black filmmakers and these Black actors and these Black writers and creating this movement.\”
Clark’s legacy will live on through her work and the impact she had on the entertainment industry. She was a true trailblazer who paved the way for future generations of actors and filmmakers. Rest in power, Marlene Clark.
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News Source : Stephanie Wenger
Source Link :Marlene Clark, ‘Sanford and Son’ Actress, Dead at 85: ‘An Extraordinary Woman’/