Warren Alan James Clarke (26 April 1947 - 12 November 2014) was an English actor. He was known for his appearances in many films after a significant role as 'Dim' in Stanley Kubrick's Clockwork Orange and for numerous television appearances, including lead roles in the TV series The Manageress, Sleepers and Dalziel and Pascoe as Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel.
Born Alan James Clarke in Oldham, Lancashire, his father worked as a stained-glass maker and his mother as a secretary. He left Barlow Hall Secondary Modern School, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, aged 15 and began work at the Manchester Evening News as a copy boy. He later moved on to amateur dramatics and performed at Huddersfield Rep before working as an actor full time. During this period he also decided to change his first name to Warren, a name he chose as his girlfriend of the time had a crush on Warren Beatty.
Clarke's first television appearance was in the long running Granada soap opera Coronation Street, initially as Kenny Pickup in 1966 and then as Gary Bailey in 1968. His first major film appearance was in Stanley Kubrick's Clockwork Orange (1971) where he played a 'droog' named 'Dim' opposite Malcolm McDowell. He appeared with McDowell again in the film O Lucky Man! (1973) and in the TV film Gulag (1985).
Clarke appeared in a wide range of roles in television and film productions including The Breaking of Bumbo (1970), Home (1970) opposite Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir John Gielgud, Charlton Heston's Antony and Cleopatra (1972), S.O.S. Titanic (1979), Hawk the Slayer (1980), Masada (1981), Enigma (1983), Lassiter (1984), Top Secret! (1984), Ishtar, (1987) and I.D. (1995). He played a Russian dissident in Clint Eastwood's Firefox (1982).
In Granada Television's series The Jewel in the Crown (1984), Clarke played the role of the overtly homosexual 'Sophie' Dixon and as Colonel Krieger in the first series of LWT's Wish Me Luck (1988). In 1989 Clarke played the Captain Lee in the film Crusoe. The same year he played the role of Martin Fisher, the chairman of a football club, in The Manageress and the role of Managing Director of an engineering firm, Vic Wilcox, in the TV adaptation of the David Lodge novel Nice Work. He also starred in an episode of Lovejoy entitled Bin Diving. Clarke played Larry Patterson in Gone to the Dogs (1991), which was followed by the series Gone to Seed (1992), in which Clarke again starred.
In Sleepers (1991), with Nigel Havers, Clarke played one of the two lead roles as two KGB sleeper agents living in Britain and leading their own lives until they are reactivated. He played Bamber in the ITV comedy drama Moving Story (1994). His comedic talents can be seen in the one-off special Blackadder: The Cavalier Years, in which he played Oliver Cromwell, and in the episode "Amy and Amiability" of the series Blackadder the Third. From 1996 he appeared regularly as Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel in the TV series Dalziel and Pascoe. In 1997, he starred in the drama The Locksmith.
Between 2000 and 2003 Clarke played Brian Addis, a father who moved his family from the bustle of London to a Devon farm, in the BBC TV series Down to Earth. Clarke appeared as Mr Boythorn in the BBC One dramatisation of Bleak House (2005) and starred alongside Anthony Head in the BBC Drama The Invisibles (2008) and in the Channel 4 trilogy Red Riding (2009). Around the same time, Clarke appeared as Commander Peters in the ITV production of Agatha Christie's Marple Why Didn't They Ask Evans? (2009) and the BBC series Inspector George Gently ("Peace and Love", 2010) and played Mr Bott in Just William (also 2010). He guested as innkeeper Samuel Quested in Midsomer Murders ("The Night of the Stag", 2011) and as John Lacey in Call the Midwife (also 2011).
In 2014, he began filming Poldark as Charles Poldark. The character's final scene in the series, in episode 4 in which Poldark lies on his deathbed before dying, was also Clarke's own final scene as an actor: Clarke was very ill at the time of filming and died a few weeks later, and the first episode of the television series was then dedicated to his memory.
Clarke was a keen golfer and had been a Manchester City supporter since he was 7 years old.
Clarke's marriage to his first wife ended in divorce a few years after his parents died. They had a son together, Rowan.
On 12 November 2014, Clarke died in his sleep, after a short illness He was survived by his second wife Michelle, their daughter Georgia and his son.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license