Robert Irby Clarke (June 1, 1920 – June 11, 2005) was an actor best known for his cult classic sci-fi films of the 1950’s.
Robert Clarke grew up as a movie-loving kid in his native Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He decided at an early age that he wanted to be an actor, but nevertheless suffered from stage fright in his first school productions. He attended Kemper Military School and College, planning to make a career in the service, but dropped out after his asthma prevented his serving in World War II. He later attended the University of Oklahoma, where he acted in radio plays, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he appeared on stage. He did not graduate, but hitched a ride to California to try to break into the motion picture business.
After screen tests at 20th Century-Fox and Columbia Pictures, Clarke landed a berth as a contract player at RKO. His first credited role was The Falcon in Hollywood in 1944. When RKO dropped his option three years later, he began freelancing. In the 1950’s, he appeared in many classic sci-fi films, including The Man from Planet X (1951), Captain John Smith and Pocahontas as John Rolfe, The Incredible Petrified World (1957), The Astounding She-Monster (1957), From the Earth to the Moon (1958), and The Hideous Sun Demon (1959), which Clarke wrote, directed and produced.