John Clarke, the Days of Our Lives actor who portrayed lawyer Mickey Horton on the NBC soap opera for nearly four decades, right from the very beginning, died Wednesday in Laguna Beach, California. He was 88.
Clarke also appeared on the fourth Twilight Zone episode, “The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine,” which first aired in 1959, and played an LAPD cop opposite Leslie Nielsen and future General Hospital star John Beradino on the Quinn Martin/ABC drama The New Breed, which ran for a season (1961-62).
Clarke starred as one of the sons of Macdonald Carey’s Dr. Tom Horton on Days of Our Lives from the show‘s debut in November 1965 until he retired in January 2004, when he received a lifetime achievement award at the Daytime Emmys. Clarke had only planned to stay with the show for a year.
Born on April 14, 1931, in South Bend, Indiana, Clarke was an Army brat who attended UCLA and entertained troops in the Air Force during the Korean War. Early in his career, he appeared on such shows as Whirlybirds, Lawman, Hawaiian Eye and The Loretta Young Show.
In Judgment at Nuremberg, Clarke had one line as the MP who takes Spencer Tracy down to Burt Lancaster in the last scene, he told Soap Opera Digest in a 1998 interview. “I was there the day [Tracy] did his summation to the jury, and he did it in one take,” he recalled. “It was eight pages of dialogue, but that’s the way he worked. He’s kind of my hero and my inspiration.”
Survivors include his daughter, actress Melinda Clarke, who started her career on Days of Our Lives and played Julie Cooper on the Fox series The O.C.; his wife, Patty, a former ballet dancer; and son Joshua.