John Clarke, who played Mickey Horton on Days of Our Lives for 39 years, has died at the age of 88. The actor was an original cast member, appearing in DAYS’ premiere on November 8, 1965.
Remembering John Clarke
Deadline first reported the news that Clarke died from complications of pneumonia on Wednesday, October 16 in Laguna Beach, Calif. The actor had suffered a stroke in 2007.
Clarke began his TV career in 1959 as a guest star on such series as The Twilight Zone, Destination Space, and Lawman. He landed his first series regular role in 1961 on The New Breed as Officer Joe Huddleston. In 1965, he made his daytime debut as Mickey Horton, the son of Tom and Alice (the late Macdonald Carey and the late Frances Reid).
Clarke’s Time As Mickey
Clarke played the part of Mickey from 1965 to 2004. The character of Mickey was recast around the time Clarke left during the Salem Serial Killer storyline. Before it became knowledge that everyone murdered was returning to the show, Clarke reportedly asked that Mickey be sent to that great soap in the sky so that his TV wife and longtime co-star Suzanne Rogers (Maggie), one of the victims, would be spared.
Mickey played an integral part in the tale in which his brother Bill (Ed Mallory) had sex with Laura Spencer (Susan Flannery) shortly before Laura and Mickey wed. Their son, Michael (Wesley Eure), turned out to be Bill’s child. The story helped propel DAYS to the top of the ratings.
Mickey’s dramas included being kidnapped by Stefano (the late Joe Mascolo) and remarrying Maggie in 1986. As an attorney, he defended Susan Martin (Denise Alexander) for her role in husband David’s death. Mickey also represented Billie Reed (Lisa Rinna) for the murder of her father Curtis (Nick Benedict).
Occasionally, John Clarke took on roles outside of DAYS, guesting on Hart to Hart, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and Freaks & Geeks.
A native of South Bend, Indiana, Clarke was born on April 14, 1931. He studied at both Staunton Military Academy in Staunton, Virginia, and later at Claremont High School in his mother’s hometown of Claremont, CA. Clarke graduated from UCLA, receiving a BA in Theater and studied for his MA in television.
In 1979, John Clarke was nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the category of Outstanding Leading Actor in a Drama Series. In 2004, he and several other performers were awarded the Daytime Emmy for Lifetime Achievement.
Clarke and his wife, Patty, had three children: daughter Heidi passed away in 1994 from a heart tumor. Son Joshua works in the Bioscience industry. Daughter Melinda Clarke became an actress. She played Faith on DAYS in 1989. She’s best known for her scene-stealing role as Julie on The O.C.
Clarke is survived by Patty, Joshua, Melinda, and grandchildren: Catherine, Grace, Natasha, and Jacob. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Heidi Clarke Scholarship Fund at California Institute of the Arts, 24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355-2340.
Soap Hub sends its sincere condolences to Clarke’s loved ones at this difficult time.Days of our Lives (DOOL) airs weekdays on NBC. Check your local listings for airtimes.