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Bob Clark

Bob Clarkb. August 5, 1941, New Orleans, Louisiana

Though the career of American-born director Bob Clark likely registers as little more than a footnote in the United States, he looms unusually large in Canada and has left many imprints – some of them less distinguished than others – on the Canadian film industry.

Clark was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After turning down offers to play pro football, he completed a drama major at the University of Miami and began his career as an actor. After directing his first short film, The Emperor’s New Clothes (1966) and his first feature, She-man (1967), he achieved a minor cult hit with the low-budget, independent horror flick Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things (1972). His next films, Dead of Night (1973) and the minor cult hit Black Christmas a.k.a. Silent Night, Evil Night (1974), brought him to Canada and initiated his decade-long dominance of Canadian commercial filmmaking, facilitated in no small part by the country’s tax-shelter policies.

The stylish Sherlock Holmes thriller Murder By Decree (1978), which won five Genie Awards including one for Clark’s direction, seemed to mark his departure from schlock entertainment to more quality fare. His next film, Tribute (1980), continued in this vein, garnering an Academy Award®-nomination for its star Jack Lemmon, who reprised his stage role for the film. But 1982 would see Clark return to full schlock form with the sophomoric and hugely profitable Porky’s. The semi-autobiographical movie about teenaged boys discovering sex in southern Florida earned $160 million worldwide and proved to be the catalyst for a new genre of raunchy teen gross-out comedies. It remains the highest-grossing English-Canadian film ever made.

The uncommon success of Clark’s box-office hits was typical of the tax-shelter era in the sense that, aside from token financial involvement, the films themselves had nothing to do with Canada. This would remain true for his next film, the endearing A Christmas Story (1983), which was nominated for nine Genie awards; Clark won for Best Direction and Best Screenplay, and also received a nomination from the Writer’s Guild of America for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Since returning to the United States in 1984, Clark’s directorial accomplishments have included the Dolly Parton/Sylvester Stallone musical-comedy Rhinestone (1984) – for which he also wrote the lyrics – and a series of low-rent comedies and made for TV movies. He is currently drafting a script for a Porky’s remake to be produced by Howard Stern.

By Andrew McIntosh

Film and video work includes

Don’t Bother to Knock, 1961 (makeup)

The Emperor’s New Clothes, 1966 (director)

Shanty Tramp, 1967 (assistant director)

She-Man, 1967 (director; co-writer with Jeff Gillen)

Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, 1972 (director)

Black Christmas, 1974 (producer; actor)

Dead of Night, a.k.a. Deathdream, 1974 (director; co-producer with John Trent, Peter James)

Deranged, 1974 (co-producer with Tom Karr)

Breaking Point, 1976 (director; producer)

The Amazing Apes, 1977 (director)

The Dukes of Hazzard, 1979 (writer; TV, 1 episode)

Murder By Decree, 1979 (director; producer)

Tribute, 1980 (director)

Porky’s, 1981 (director; writer; co-producer with Don Carmody, Melvin Simon)

A Christmas Story, 1983 (director; co-producer with Gary Goch, René Dupont; co-writer with Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown; actor)

Porky’s II, 1983 (director; co-producer with Don Carmody)

Bimini Code, 1984 (director)

Rhinestone, 1984 (director)

Remote Control Man, Amazing Stories series, 1985 (director; TV, 1 episode)

Turk 182, 1985 (director)

From the Hip, 1987 (director; co-producer with René Dupont, Brian Russell; co-writer with David E. Kelley)

Loose Cannons, 1990 (director; co-writer with Richard Matheson, Richard Christian Matheson)

Popcorn, 1991 (producer, uncredited)

Arthur Miller’s The American Clock, 1993 (director; actor; TV)

It Runs in My Family, 1994 (director; co-writer with Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown)

Derby, 1995 (director; actor; TV)

Fudge-A-Mania, 1995 (director)

Stolen Memories: Secrets from the Rose Garden, 1996 (director; TV)

The Westing Game, 1997 (special effects; TV)

The Great Christmas Movies, 1998 (appears as himself; TV)

My Neighbor’s Daughter, 1998 (actor)

The Ransom of Red Chief, 1998 (director)

Baby Geniuses, 1999 (director; co-writer with Greg Michael)

Catch a Falling Star, 2000 (co-director with Alfonso Arau)

The Dukes of Hazzard: Hazzard in Hollywood, 2000 (co-writer with Gy Waldron; co-executive producer with Gy Waldron)

I’ll Remember April, 2000 (director)

Kim Cattrall, Intimate Portrait series, 2000 (appears as himself)

Now and Forever, 2001 (director)

Stages, 2002 (actor)

Another Christmas Story, 2003 (appears as himself)

Maniac Magee, 2003 (director; TV)

Unleashed, 2003 (director)

SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2, 2004 (director)

Note: Updated to June 30, 2005

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