Actress Marlene Clark died on May 18 at the age of 73. She was known for the American sitcom “Sanford and Son” (1972) and several horror films of the 1970s. Although the news only came to light this Friday (5/26), she died the same day as actor Jim Brown, with who starred in “Slaughter – The Merciless Man” (1972).
Breaking the news was Demond Wilson (“Me and the Kid”), who played her boyfriend in “Sanford and Son.” The actor paid tribute to Clark in a tweet. “RIP the beautiful actress Marlene Clark. It was a pleasure working with you,” he said, without revealing the cause of death.
Clark joined the cast of ˜Sanford and Son’ in the fifth season of the series in 1976 as a recurring character alongside Wilson. He stayed until the end of production the following year.
Born in New York’s Harlem neighborhood, Marlene Clark was a model before turning to acting in the late 1960s, appearing in films such as ‘A Man for Ivy’ (1969), starring Sidney Poitier, and ‘Putney Swope’ (1969), directed by Robert Downey Sr, father of actor Robert Downey Jr (“Iron Man”). She also took part in Hal Ashby’s directorial debut, “Love Without Barriers” (1970), starred in the horror film “Snake Woman” (1972), and teamed up with Jim Brown in the crime film “Slaughter”, a classic of era of blaxploitation.
Success came with another horror film, “Ganja and Hess” (1973), in which he played a bloodthirsty vampire, transformed by an anthropologist infected with an ancient African ritual knife. Cultivated, “Ganja and Hess” was met with critical acclaim at the time, largely aimed at Clark’s brutal performance – it holds a 93% approval on Rotten Tomatoes.
She then starred in the kung fu classic ‘Enter the Dragon’ (1973), Bruce Lee’s most successful film, and returned to horror in three well-known titles, ‘The Beast Must Die’, ‘Black Mamba’ (both 1974) and “Lord Shango” (1975).
Her last film was the cult girl-gang thriller Knife in the Throat (1975). With casting in ‘Sanford and Son’ the following year, she returned to her career in television, also appearing in ‘Barnaby Jones’ (in 1980), ‘Flamingo Road’ (in 1982), ‘The Man Who Came From Heaven ” (in 1987) and “Uma Turma Genial”, her last screen role, in an episode shown in 1988.
RIP beautiful actress Marlene Clark. . . It was a pleasure working with you. 12/19/49 – 5/18/23
— Demond Wilson (@Sanfords_Son) May 23, 2023
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