Marlene Clark, ‘Sanford and Son’ actress, dead at 85

LOS ANGELES — Marlene Clark, who appeared in six episodes of “Sanford and Son” during the mid-1970s and also appeared in films such as “Ganja & Hess,” “Switchblade Sisters” and “Slaughter,” has died. She was 85.

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Clark died at her home in Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter. No cause of death was given. Her friend, Tamara Lynch, confirmed the actress’ death.

Lynch told People that Clark was “an extraordinary woman.”

“If you knew Marlene, you knew that the one thing that she had was grit. She was a very small-statured woman, really thin. She almost looked like a Black Polynesian, she was just so exotic,” Lynch told the magazine. “Then she had this deep, cavernous voice. When she spoke, it was such a command of attention.”

Clark appeared in six episodes of “Sanford and Son” during its final two seasons in 1976 and 1977, according to She played the role of Janet Lawson, the fiancee of Lamont Sanford, according to The Hollywood Reporter.t first, but he comes around.

Demond Wilson, who played Lamont Sanford in the series that starred Redd Foxx as the cantankerous junkman, tweeted his condolences.

“RIP beautiful actress Marlene Clark,” Wilson tweeted. “It was a delight to work with you.”

Clark made her film debut in 1968 with a small part in the film “For Love of Ivy,” according to People. She also had a role in “Putney Swope.”

She appeared in “The Landlord” in 1970 and “Slaughter,” which starred Jim Brown, in 1972, Deadline reported. Also in 1972, Clark appeared in “Night of the Cobra Woman,” according to the entertainment news website.

She then starred with Duane Jones in the 1973 horror film, “Ganja & Hess,” according to

Born in the New York City neighborhood of Harlem on Dec. 19, 1937, Clark spent her summers in West Virginia, where her mother was born, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

She attended Morristown Junior College in Tennessee and City College in New York and worked as a model before making her film debut.

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