Arizona has a long history of western films and television. Come join legendary western actors, stuntpeople and historians talk about working in this genre.
Gary Clarke began his screen career with the 1958 film Dragstrip Riot. He went on to work in other films, including How to Make a Monster and Missile to the Moon (both 1958),Date Bait (1960) and Passion Street, U.S.A. (1964). In the 1960-1961 season, he appeared as Dick Hamilton in the single-season NBC television series Michael Shayne, based on the fictional private detective character created by Brett Halliday, opposite Richard Denning as the title character. Afterward, he appeared as Tad Kimball, a friend of the character Jess Harper, played by Robert Fuller, in the episode “The Fatal Step” of the NBC Western series “Laramie”. Clarke played Steve Hill in the cast of the long-running TV Western series “The Virginian”, remaining on the show from 1962-64 and appearing in 45 episodes. His last series as a cast-member was the 1967 ABC Western “Hondo”, playing Captain Richards. His professional writing career began in 1963, during a lunch with Bill Kiley, then head of NBC publicity. Gary learned of a new show they had planned; something about a bumbling spy. The story clicked and Gary wrote a screenplay based on his idea. Bill said it was nearly perfect and told Gary to submit it to Mel Brooks. He did. Clarke and friend Steve Ihnat wrote the screenplay for Ted Mikels’ film Strike Me Deadly (1963), though the film’s credits list only Ihnat and Mikels. In the 1980s and 1990s, he wrote and produced TV public-service announcements (including “Youth at Risk”), narrated nonfiction short films (including “Promoting Healthy Behavior”) and appeared in TV series (including Dynasty and The Young Riders, in which he had a four-episode recurring role). His films in the 2000s include The Paperboy (2012) and Parkland (2013). In 2014, the production company L’Amoreaux/Bartlett/Race/Thomas sought actors for an independent TV pilot, “Bandits and Tadpoles”, written by Bartlett and Thomas and directed by Clarke, about a young boy whose daydreams put him in the American Old West of the Owen Wister novel The Virginian. It filmed in 2014, near Austin, under the title Billy and the Bandit, with a cast including James Drury and Roberta Shore, from Clarke’s old series The Virginian; 11-year-old Jordan Elsass as Billy; Ava L’Amoreaux and Donny Boaz as his parents; and Buck Taylor as a ranch foreman. A long-time resident of Moon Valley, Arizona, he currently resides with his wife and daughters in Austin, Texas.