Biography

Bob Clark began making independent low-budget features as a writer/director with the transvestite comedy The She Man in 1967, and his horror films of the early '70s, made with writer/actor Alan Ormsby, are fondly remembered: Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (signed as Benjamin Clark) and Deathdream (aka Dead of Night; Night Walk). Clark also won admiration for his Sherlock Holmes film Murder By Decree, scripted by John Hopkins. None of this could compare to the box-office success Clark would find in the early '80s with his seminal low-brow sex comedy Porky's and its first sequel. Reviled by critics but eaten up by audiences, the films' horny-yet-nostalgic tone would forever influence the world of teen movies. It was Clark's 1983 project, however, an adaptation of Jean Shepherd's writings called A Christmas Story, that would prove to be the director's finest moment. The pitch-perfect holiday farce failed to find an audience despite strong reviews upon its initial release, but much as It's a Wonderful Life did before it, A Christmas Story found new legions of fans each year it was aired on TV. After helming several flop comedies (Rhinestone, Turk 182!, From the Hip, Loose Cannons), Clark returned to Shepherd's material with 1994's It Runs in the Family. Much of his work in the '90s and 2000s was undistinguished kid and family fare, and the director scored a minor hit with the Look Who's Talking-esque Baby Geniuses (1999). 67-year-old Clark and his 22-year-old son Ariel died in a car accident in California in the spring of 2007. ~ Rovi