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Creator / Mae Clarke

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"When I was a little girl, I decided I wanted to be an actress. They told me it would bring me lots of heartbreaks, but I didn’t care; I knew what I wanted."

Mae Clarke (born Violet Mary Klotz; August 16, 1910 – April 29, 1992) was an American actress known for her appearances in films in The Pre-Code Era. She was also in a few Universal Horror movies and then later made uncredited appearances in The Golden Age of Hollywood.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Clarke was exposed to the motion picture business early on, as her father was a theatre organist. She studied dancing as a child and began on stage in vaudeville and also worked in nightclubs. She worked as a dancer in New York City (where she roomed with Barbara Stanwyck) and then began appearing in movies in the late 1920s and early '30s. Her leading lady status was cut short in 1933 when she and fellow actor Phillips Holmes had a car accident, which broke her jaw and gave her scars on her face.

Clarke's later film career mostly consisted of uncredited bit parts, often in titles that one wouldn't quite expect to see her in, considering she was most known for her roles in horror films, such as the wife of Dr. Henry Frankenstein in Universal's Frankenstein (1931), and "raunchy" pre-Code movies, such as the woman into whose face James Cagney shoved a grapefruit in The Public Enemy (1931). Later on she appeared in television, in series such as Batman (1966) and General Hospital, before retiring in the 1970s to become a drama teacher.

She died of cancer at 81 years old.

Selected filmography