Mae Clarke bigraphy, stories - Actor

Mae Clarke : biography

August 16, 1910 - April 29, 1992

Mae Clarke (August 16, 1910 – April 29, 1992) was an American actress most noted for playing Frankenstein's bride, chased by Boris Karloff in Frankenstein, and for having a grapefruit smashed into her face by James Cagney in The Public Enemy, both released in 1931.

Selected filmography


  • Big Time (1929)
  • Nix on Dames (1929)
  • The Fall Guy (1930)
  • The Dancers (1930)
  • Men on Call (1930)
  • The Front Page (1931)
  • The Public Enemy (Uncredited, 1931)
  • The Good Bad Girl (1931)
  • Waterloo Bridge (1931)
  • Reckless Living (1931)
  • Frankenstein (1931)
  • Three Wise Girls (1932)
  • Final Edition (1932)
  • Impatient Maiden (1932)
  • Night World (1932)
  • Breach of Promise (1932)
  • Penguin Pool Murder (1932)
  • Parole Girl (1933)
  • Fast Workers (1933)
  • Turn Back the Clock (1933)
  • As the Devil Commands (1933)
  • Penthouse (1933)
  • Flaming Gold (1933)
  • Lady Killer (1933)
  • Nana (1934)
  • This Side of Heaven (1934)
  • Let's Talk It Over (1934)
  • The Man with Two Faces (1934)
  • Silk Hat Kid (1935)
  • The Daring Young Man (1935)
  • Hitch Hike Lady (1935)
  • The House of a Thousand Candles (1936)
  • Hearts in Bondage (1936)
  • Wild Brian Kent (1936)
  • Hats Off (1936)
  • Great Guy (1936)
  • Trouble in Morocco (1937)
  • Outlaws of the Orient (1937)
  • Women in War (1940)
  • Sailors on Leave (1941)
  • Flying Tigers (1942)
  • Lady from Chungking (1942)
  • And Now Tomorrow (1944)
  • Here Come the Waves (1944)
  • Kitty (1945)
  • Reaching from Heaven (1948)
  • King of the Rocket Men (Serial, 1949)
  • Singin' in the Rain (1952)
  • Not as a Stranger (1955)
  • Women's Prison (1955)
  • Decision at Sundown (1957)
  • Ask Any Girl (1959)
  • A Big Hand for the Little Lady (1966)
  • Watermelon Man (1970)

Short subjects

  • Screen Snapshots (1932)
  • Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 7 (1937)

Early life and career

Clarke was born Violet Mary Klotz in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her father was a theatre organist. She studied dancing as a child and began on stage in vaudeville and in night clubs.Halliwell 1987, p. 130.

Clarke started her professional career as a dancer in New York, sharing a room with Barbara Stanwyck.Madsen 1994, pp. 16–17, 20. She subsequently starred in many films for Universal Studios, including the original screen version of The Front Page (1931) and the first sound version of Frankenstein (1931) with Boris Karloff. Clarke played the role of Henry Frankenstein's fiancee Elizabeth in Frankenstein, who was attacked by the Monster (Karloff) on her wedding day.

The Public Enemy, released that same year, contained one of cinema's most famous (and frequently parodied) scenes, in which James Cagney pushes a half grapefruit into Clarke's face, then goes out to pick up Jean Harlow.Clarke 1996, p. back cover. The film was so popular that it ran 24 hours a day at a theatre in Times Square upon its initial release, and Clarke's ex-husband had the grapefruit scene timed and would frequently buy a ticket, enter the theatre to enjoy that sequence, then leave the theatre.Cagney 1981, p. 211.

Clarke appeared as Myra Deauville in the 1931 Pre-Code version of Waterloo Bridge. In the film, she portrays a young American woman who is forced by circumstance into a life of prostitution in World War I London. Both the film and Clarke's performance were well received by the critics.

Clarke also appeared in the modest pre-code Universal film Night World (1932), with Lew Ayres, Boris Karloff, Hedda Hopper, and George Raft. By the mid-1930s, Clarke was no longer a leading lady and was only featured in small parts through to the 1960s. In the early 1930s, Clarke's face had been left scarred as a result of a car crash, recounts G. Mank in his Frankenstein film saga book It's Alive. He also writes that Mae would attend Frankenstein fan club events during her senior years.

Personal life and death

Clarke was married and divorced three times, to Lewis Brice, Stevens Bancroft and Herbert Langdon. She did not have children.

Clarke died on April 29, 1992, at age 81, from cancer, in Woodland Hills, California. She is buried in Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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