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.
Biography by Rovi
- Attended North Carolina's Catawba College on a football scholarship, and later played semipro football for the Fort Lauderdale Black Knights.
- Made his feature directing debut with the 1967 transvestite comedy She-Man, but came to prominence with cult horror favorites Deathdream (AKA Dead of Night, 1972) and Black Christmas (1974).
- Segued successfully into comedy films in the '80s with the offbeat classics Porky's (1982) and A Christmas Story (1983).
- Nominated for Razzies as Worst Director for 1984's Rhinestone and 2004's SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2.
- Won a multi-million dollar settlement against Warner Bros. regarding the 2005 film adaptation of the '70s TV show The Dukes of Hazzard. Clark had produced the 1976 film Moonrunners, which was the basis for the series. He claimed that the studio had never acquired the rights to turn the property into a movie.
- He and son Ariel Hanrath-Clark were killed April 4, 2007, in a head-on collision with an allegedly drunken driver on California's Pacific Coast Highway.
- Was planning to direct a remake of his 1972 zombie comedy Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things at the time of his death.