Family & Companions
A veteran character actor whose long career has included theater work and small parts in TV series, movies, and feature films, Matt Clark is one of those unsung actors whose face is instantly recognizable although one may not recall the name. With his broad features and dark Irish looks, he has been cast on both sides of the law in many Westerns and detective films. Born in Washington, DC, Clark settled in NYC in the early 1960s and trained for the stage with Uta Hagen, Herbert Berghof and William Hickey. He landed the leading role of Stephen Dedalus in an Off-Broadway version of James Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" (1963). Clark did double duty as stage manager and understudy to Martin Sheen on Frank Gilroy's award-winning Broadway play "The Subject Was Roses." Around the same time, his film career began to gather steam with a featured turn in Norman Jewison's Oscar-winner "In the Heat of the Night" (1967).
Clark went on to amass numerous screen credits in roles of varying size, from Bob Younger in Philip Kaufman's "The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid" (1972) to the deputy murdered by Kris Kristofferson in "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" (1973). Other roles have included the Secretary of Defense in the cult hit "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension" (1984), Uncle Henry in "Return to Oz" (1985) and the judge in "Class Action" (1991). He has also been a constant presence on TV and had regular or recurring roles on three series. Clark was the superior officer to Lou Antonio and Kim Basinger in the short-lived "Dog and Cat" (ABC, 1977). On the ABC sitcom "Grace Under Fire," he had the recurring role of Grace's father-in-law Emmett Kelly and was a co-worker of Jeff Foxworthy on his eponymous ABC sitcom in 1995-96. His longform credits include both "The Winds of War" (ABC, 1983) and "War and Remembrance" (ABC, 1988).
Clark stepped behind the camera to helm "My Dissident Mom," a 1987 "CBS Schoolbreak Special" and two episodes of the NBC series "Midnight Caller." He helmed his first (and to date only) feature in 1988, the adaptation of Hugh Leonard's play "Da" (1988). Clark cast his friend Martin Sheen in the leading role of an Irish-American who returns to Eire and confronts his relationship with his father (Barnard Hughes). Critics were divided over the effort and audiences were generally apathetic.
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Played Stephen Dedalus, the lead, in a New York production of "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"
Understudied role of Timothy Cleary (played by Martin Sheen) in the Broadway production of "The Subject Was Roses"; also worked as stage manager
Film debut,"Black Like Me"
Provided the story for the film "Homer"
Co-starred on the short-lived ABC detective series "Dog and Cat"
Played Chief Clark in the ABC miniseries "The Winds of War"
Made directorial debut with the "CBS Schoolbreak Special" entitled "My Dissident Mom"
Feature directorial debut, "Da", starring Martin Sheen, Barnard Hughes and William Hickey
Reprised role of Chief Clark in the ABC sequel "War and Remembrance"
Helmed episodes of the NBC series "Midnight Caller"