Matt Clark

Actor, Director

11/25/1936 (85 years old)

Matt Clark is a distinguished character actor, with credits in both film and television for almost 40 years, who played diverse character roles in Westerns, comedies, and dramas. After serving in the Armed Forces, Clark acted in theater in the 1950s and '60s in Washington, D.C., and New York, before heading to Hollywood. The year 1967 saw the beginning of Matt Clark's long film career, with small roles in Will Penny and the Oscar winner for Best Picture of the Year, In the Heat of the Night. Clark's appearance in Will Penny started the actor's trend of character portrayals in the Westerns of distinguished directors, including Sydney Pollack's Jeremiah Johnson; John Huston's The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean; Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid; and Clint Eastwood's The Outlaw Josey Wales, with actors such as John Wayne, Robert Redford, and Paul Newman. In the mid-'70s, Clark branched out into television movies, such as This Is the West That Was, and the Peabody Award-winning The Execution of Private Slovik, turning in excellent performances throughout the '80s and '90s. He also appeared as a regular in sitcoms, such as Grace Under Fire, or as a guest in shows including Bonanza and Rat Patrol. Clark continued to maintain a big-screen presence. Two of his more memorable performances were his hilarious portrayal of the Secretary of Defense in the 1984 cult classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, and his role as Tom McMullen in the Jessica Lange/Sam Shepard film Country, made that same year. Clark also directed a film adaptation of Hugh Leonard's play Da. Martin Sheen, Clark's colleague in Private Slovik, played the lead role of an Irish-American seeking his roots in his native land. Clark continued his work with the 1998 film Claudine's Return, a romantic drama set on Dolphin Island off the Georgia coast.