We're saying goodbye to another legend of the small screen, as veteran TV actor John Clarke has passed away at the age of 88. Though Clarke has played a variety of characters in many different TV shows across the span of several decades, he is perhaps best known for starring on the long-running soap opera Days of Our Lives for an astonishing 39 years. Reportedly, the actor died on Oct. 16 in Laguna Beach, California, due to complications of pneumonia. His daughter, Nikita actress Melinda Clarke, sang "Ave Maria" to her father as he peacefully passed away; the two had trained opera together. Along with Melinda, Clarke is also survived by his wife, Patty, his son Joshua, and grandchildren Catherine Grace, Natasha, and Jacob.
Clarke was born in South Bend, Indiana in 1931. Following his high school graduation, Clarke earned his BA in Theater at UCLA. Additionally, he also served in the Air Force during the Korean War, where he spent a lot of time entertaining military personnel as part of a traveling troupe. By 1959, he began appearing on television by snagging roles in such TV shows as The Twilight Zone and Whirlybirds. Recognizing his penchant for acting, Clarke pursued the endeavor full time, with his talents getting him many more roles leading into the '60s and '70s. He would pick up his first recurring role in 1961, starring as Officer Joe Huddleston on the classic TV series The New Breed.
Certainly, Clarke's most well-known role is that of Mickey Horton on the NBC soap opera Days of Our Lives. Clarke began appearing on the series starting with the very first episode in 1965, quickly becoming a fan favorite character for viewers. The show turned out to be a second home for most of Clarke's life, as he would play the part for the next 39 years until his retirement from acting in 2004. By the end of his run on the show, Clarke appeared in a whopping 3,556 episodes of the series, and it was only fitting he had ended his career with the same role which he was most well-known for.
In 1979, the performance of Mickey on Days of Our Lives had earned Clarke a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama. He was also given a Daytime Emmys Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. Of course, Clarke could also be seen outside of Days of Our Lives as well, as he had also performed as the leading man in more than 75 plays at Chicago's Tenthouse Theater. Some of the other television programs to also feature Clarke include Death Valley Days, Maverick, and Hawaiian Eye. Clarke had also appeared in many movies as well, including It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Satan Bug, and Judgment at Nuremberg.
It's never easy to say goodbye to the people who've given their lives to entertaining us, as it almost feels like we know them personally after they've spent so much time on our television screens. Our thoughts at this time are with Clarke's family and close friends. Because of the many decades the actor had spent entertaining us on the small screen, his memory will be preserved forever. Rest in peace, John Clarke. This news comes to us from Entertainment Weekly.