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Larry Clark

Larry Clark

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Another Day In Paradise... James Woods and Melanie Griffith deliver powerhouse leading performances in... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

Bully DVD Director Larry Clark follows up his controversial "Kids" (1995) with this... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Also Known As: Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA Profession: director, photographer, essayist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Outlaw photographer-turned-filmmaker Larry Clark influenced the likes of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Gus Van Sant long before he directed a picture. Inspired by his seminal photo essay, "Tulsa" (1971), they stole shamelessly in creating respectively "Taxi Driver" (1976), "Rumble Fish" (1983) and "Drugstore Cowboy" (1989), acknowledging their debt to Clark's realistic portrayal of the Tulsa drug and street milieu of the 1960s and early 70s. Clark was injecting amphetamines at the age of 16 and, after a tour of Vietnam, returned to his boyhood home to record its seamier side, snapping photographs off and on from 1962 to 1971. He shocked with pictures of penises protruding from pants and needles hanging from junkies' arms, but his own wild ways were responsible for his distinctive oeuvre and also contributed to his slow growth as an artist. Drug addiction and alcoholism got in the way as did several brushes with the law, including a 19-month prison stay for shooting a man in the arm during a card game. As a child, Clark had once had his picture taken with Walt Disney, but Miramax, a division of Disney, would have to create an independent company (Excalibur) to distribute his debut film...

Outlaw photographer-turned-filmmaker Larry Clark influenced the likes of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Gus Van Sant long before he directed a picture. Inspired by his seminal photo essay, "Tulsa" (1971), they stole shamelessly in creating respectively "Taxi Driver" (1976), "Rumble Fish" (1983) and "Drugstore Cowboy" (1989), acknowledging their debt to Clark's realistic portrayal of the Tulsa drug and street milieu of the 1960s and early 70s. Clark was injecting amphetamines at the age of 16 and, after a tour of Vietnam, returned to his boyhood home to record its seamier side, snapping photographs off and on from 1962 to 1971. He shocked with pictures of penises protruding from pants and needles hanging from junkies' arms, but his own wild ways were responsible for his distinctive oeuvre and also contributed to his slow growth as an artist. Drug addiction and alcoholism got in the way as did several brushes with the law, including a 19-month prison stay for shooting a man in the arm during a card game.

As a child, Clark had once had his picture taken with Walt Disney, but Miramax, a division of Disney, would have to create an independent company (Excalibur) to distribute his debut film "Kids" (1995) in order to distance it from the parent studio. Called everything from "a masterpiece" to "nihilistic pornography," it bore a far greater resemblance to "A Clockwork Orange" (1971) than to "Pocahontas" (1995) and proved Clark had not lost his power to shock. Armed with a script penned by a then-19-year old Harmony Korine, the director zeroed in on "kidspeak" and teenage culture, following a group 90s youths throughout the course of one NYC day as the specter of AIDS hovered over them. A telling portrait of children growing up without proper parental guidance, "Kids" is utterly matter-of-fact, brutal and nonjudgmental about its sexual frankness and violence. Clark was able to gain his charges' trust, drawing phenomenal performances from nonactors, particularly his stars Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce and Chloe Sevigny, all of whom have gone on to acting careers.

Clark returned to the streets of Tulsa for "Another Day in Paradise" (1998), based on the book by Eddie Little. More conventional and arguably more satisfying than his debut film, it was a bit raw and unflinching for some tastes but found an audience ready to respond to its gritty aesthetic. Featuring an emotionally engaging Melanie Griffith in an uncharacteristic, deglamorized role and a sometimes over-the-top James Woods, this more traditional narrative seemed to spring directly from the director's Midwestern background and experience of the renegade life, depicting a surrogate family brought together by drugs and crime and its eventual unraveling. Natasha Gregson Wagner registered sympathetically in the most tragic role, but the real revelation was Vincent Kartheiser as Bobbie, previously only in children's films.

Clark's downbeat but surprisingly warm slice of life on the edge proved an anomaly. His third feature was "Bully" (2001), an affecting and disturbingly nihilistic portrait of contemporary teenagers in southern Florida. Inspired by a true story, the film depicted the antisocial behavior of the tyrannical Bobby Kent who was eventually murdered by his best friend. Clark displayed a taut control over the material and elicited strong performances from his cast (including Brad Renfro, Rachel Miner and Nick Stahl) and the film earned considerable critical acclaim.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
  Marfa Girl (2012)
3.
4.
  Destricted (2005)
5.
  Bully (2001) Director
6.
  Another Day in Paradise (1998) Director
7.
  Kids (1995) Director
8.
  Passing Through (1977) Director
9.
  Teenage Caveman (2001) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Buy and Cell (1988) Neil
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Milestones close milestones

:
As a child, posed for a photograph with Walt Disney
1959:
Began shooting drugs as a 16-year old (date approximate)
:
Among the first US troops to go to Vietnam
1962:
Photographed Oklahoma drug culture for first documentary book "Tulsa" (1971); cited as inlfuence or inspiration for films by directors Martin Scorsese ("Taxi Driver" 1976), Francis Ford Coppola ("Rumble Fish" 1983) and Gus Van Sant ("Drugstore Cowboy" 1989)
:
Ran afoul of the law and arrested for driving under the influence and later possession of a firearm
1976:
Convicted of assault and battery after shooting a man in the arm during a card game; served 19 months in prison; of the shooting, he said, "I was doing speed; it seemed like the right thing to do"
1983:
Issued second book of photographs, "Teenage Lust"; also wrote text; had received an NEA grant in the 1970s for the book
1989:
Met Harmony Korine in San Francisco, California; the two corresponded and later hooked up in NYC
1995:
Feature directing debut, "Kids", scripted by Korine
1998:
Made second feature, "Another Day in Paradise"; first credit as producer; story revolved around a pair of drug-abusing scam artists who take a young couple under their wing and form a surrogate family
1998:
Checked into a rehab center for treatment for heroin and alcohol addiction
2001:
Directed third film "Bully", based on true story of a Florida teenager who murdered his best friend; also had cameo role as the father of one of the teens involved in the murder
2002:
Helmed the feature "Ken Park" which focuses on several Californian skateboarders and their tormented home lives
2006:
Helmed the feature "Wassup Rockers," about a group of Latino teenagers in South Central Los Angeles
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Education

Layton School of Art: Milwaukee , Wisconsin -

Notes

"I've always said that the only reason I make my photographs is because I can't see them anywhere else and I have a psychological need to see these images. Why make them if they're already there? But I'd see these films, and I'd say, 'Why don't they go further? If I'd done that film, I would have done it differently.'"

" . . . My dear mother in Oklahoma sent me this newspaper clipping when 'Drugstore Cowboy' came out, and it said in the production notes Gus Van Sant credits Larry Clark's book 'Tulsa' as an inspiration for the film. I grudgingly liked it, but I didn't like it too much, and I was pissed. I said, 'Man, this guy's on my turf!'"

"And I said, 'I'm gonna make a film and show these motherfuckers how it's done.' That's how it was. It was a macho don't-fuck-with-me kind of thing, and I thank you, Gus, for getting me to make this film. You're more responsible for 'Kids' than you know." --Larry Clark to Gus Van Sant in INTERVIEW, July 1995

"Hollywood sucks. , , , Hollywood's the lowest place in the United States. . . . Man, the people suck, they all have agendas and agendas and agendas, and they're al lying cocksuckers and the lowest scum of the earth. But you know, I was in the penitentiary, so I know those people. I was ready for 'em. And when it came down to the shit, I said, 'Man, you need to spend some time in the joint, man, you need to smarten up.'" --Larry Clark quoted in TIME OUT NEW YORK, January 21-28, 1999

Family close complete family listing

son:
Matt Clark. Born c. 1983.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Tulsa"
"Teenage Lust"
"The Perfect Childhood"
"The River Phoenix Book"
"Heroin" Thea Westreich
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