Gary Clarke

Actor Gary Clarke split his time between B-movies and higher-profile TV series while also pursuing a modest writing career on the hit spy comedy "Get Smart." Born and raised in Los Angeles, he earned early attention when a 20th Century Fox talent scout spotted him in a school play. Early marriage and parenthood slowed his progress, but after his divorce he returned to the craft, getting his first feature break when the low-budget action picture "Dragstrip Riot" lost its lead actor. He followed that by following in the footsteps of Michael Landon in the lycanthropic lead of "How to Make a Monster," the sequel to "I Was a Teenage Werewolf." Clarke's first major television role came as support to Richard Denning in the detective series "Michael Shayne" and led to a more substantial and longer-running part in "The Virginian." He sneakily submitted a prospective script for "Get Smart" to Mel Brooks and Buck Henry under his birth name, Clarke F. Lamoreaux, afraid an actor's words would be rejected. They caught on to the ruse but liked his ideas (including creating the character of Hymie the Robot), and Clarke wrote six episodes of the show. Clarke continued to appear occasionally in series and TV movies before moving to San Francisco in the mid '70s. Divorcing again, he returned to the business for a time, including a spot in the Western feature "Tombstone."