"John's greater-than-life personality will leave a lasting impression on all his family and friends who love him," reads John Clarke's obituary

By Jen Juneau
October 22, 2019 10:30 AM
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NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty

John Clarke — a celebrated actor best known for his decades-long portrayal of Mickey Horton on Days of Our Lives — has died. He was 88.

In an obituary obtained from a rep for his daughter, The O.C. actress Melinda Clarke, his family expresses their “deep sorrow” over Clarke’s death, explaining that he “had previously suffered a stroke in 2007 and has had declining health in the last few years.”

“He passed peacefully from complications of pneumonia,” the obituary shares.

Clarke was born on April 14, 1931, in South Bend, Indiana. As his father was in the military, he bounced around schools as a young man and settled for a time in Staunton, Virginia, where he attended Staunton Military Academy. He also attended school in Claremont, California, and graduated from high school in Tokyo.

John Clarke as Mickey Horton on Days of Our Lives in the early 1990s
Gary Null/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Clarke received his bachelor of arts in theater from University of California, Los Angeles, and later served as a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War — during which he also participated “as a member of the Air Force Varsitones: a touring troop entertaining military personnel throughout the United States,” his obituary reads.

Aside from his work on television, among Clarke’s notable film roles include those in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World, Man Missing, Burma Patrol, The Satan Bug and Judgement at Nuremburg. He performed on the stage in productions like Oklahoma!, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The King and I.

After portraying Mickey Horton on Days of Our Lives for 39 years (from 1965 until 2004), Clarke was awarded the Daytime Emmys lifetime achievement award. He had previously been nominated for the 1979 Daytime Emmy Award for outstanding actor in a daytime drama series for the role.

Clarke also appeared on numerous other television series over the years in both guest- and co-starring roles, like The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, Petticoat Junction, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and Maverick.

John (L) and Melinda Clarke
Carolyn Contino/BEI/Shutterstock

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Aside from Melinda, 50, the late actor is survived by son Joshua Clarke, as well as wife Patty and three grandchildren. He is predeceased by daughter Heidi Clarke, who died in 1994 from a heart tumor.

“Above all, family life was always most important to John and his wife Patty,” Clarke’s obituary reads. “John’s greater-than-life personality will leave a lasting impression on all his family and friends who love him.”

Clarke’s family is asking for donations to the Heidi Clarke Scholarship Fund at California Institute of the Arts in lieu of floral gifts, which can be made by calling (661) 253-7827.