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John Clarke dead: ‘Days of Our Lives’ actor dies at 88

John Clarke poses at the 31st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, where he took home the Daytime Emmys Lifetime Achievement Award.
John Clarke poses at the 31st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, where he took home the Daytime Emmys Lifetime Achievement Award. Marc Bryan-Brown/WireImage

John Clarke, an actor who played beloved character Mickey Horton for 39 years on Days of Our Lives, has died. He was 88.

A representative for the actor’s daughter, Nikita actor Melinda Clarke, confirmed his death to media.

The actor died due to complications from pneumonia on Oct. 16 in Laguna Beach, Calif. He previously suffered a stroke in 2007, and his health had been declining for the past few years.

Clarke and his daughter were opera-trained together, and Melinda told EW she sang Ave Maria to her father in his final moments.

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The multi-talented actor worked across theatre, film and television but is best known for his role as Horton on NBC’s longest-running daytime soap series, Days of Our Lives.

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Clarke was born in South Bend, Ind. His father was in the military, and growing up, he changed schools almost every year, Deadline reports, attending Staunton Military Academy in Virginia, Claremont High School in California and the American High School in Tokyo, Japan.

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He went on to earn a bachelor of arts in theatre at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and served in the U.S. air force during the Korean War. The actor was part of a touring troupe that crossed the U.S., entertaining military personnel.

After his soap-opera debut in 1965, Clarke went on to star in crime drama The New Breed as well as hit TV series like The Twilight Zone, Death Valley Days and Maverick.

He worked on film projects like It’s a Mad, Mad World, The Satan Bug and Man Missing and was a leading actor in more than 75 plays at Chicago’s Tenthouse Theater.

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Clarke was nominated for an Emmy for Best Daytime Actor in 1979 and received the Daytime Emmys Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004 just after retiring from Days of Our Lives.

Diehard soap-opera fans shared their condolences on social media.

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“RIP original Days cast member John Clarke,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “His Mickey Horton was such an important part of the show’s history … an almost 40 year [sic] run. He’ll be missed.”

He is survived by his wife Patty, children Joshua and Melinda and his three grandchildren, Catherine Grace, Natasha and Jacob.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca