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Clarke, John Morrison

Born: 1948 AD
Currently alive, at 73 years of age.
Nationality: Australian
Categories: Comedians, Satirists, Writers

1948 – Clarke was born in Palmerston North, New Zealand on the 29th of July.

1970 – Clarke first became known during the mid-to-late 1970s for portraying a laconic farmer called Fred Dagg on stage, film and television. Gumboot and singlet-clad, Dagg was supposedly attended by numerous associates all named ‘Trev’. Clarke also recorded a series of records and cassettes, and published several books as Dagg.

1982 – Clarke also became known for his screenwriting when he was nominated for an AFI award for co-writing the acclaimed Paul Cox film Lonely Hearts.

1984 – Clarke was part of the Australian ABCTV series The Gillies Report, starring Max Gillies. Among the highlights of this hugely successful satire were Clarke’s straight-faced reports on the fictional sport of ‘Farnarkeling’.

1986 – Clarke also co-wrote the popular mini-series Anzacs and provided the voice of Wal Footrot in the feature-length animated film, Footrot Flats: The Dog’s Tale (1986), based on the comic strips by Murray Ball. Be featured in a number of other films, and began to be known for his political satire.

1989 – Along with collaborator Bryan Dawe, Clarke did his first mock interview for the Nine Network current affairs programme A Current Affair. Clarke would take on the persona of a politician or prominent figure, though never attempting to imitate the voice of the subject as in traditional mimicry, and be interviewed by Dawe. The pair continued to do mock interviews for the program, satirising a wide range of figures, including Paul Keating, Alexander Downer and Alan Bond.

1990 – Clarke was featured in two somewhat successful local films, Death in Brunswick, alongside Sam Neill and Prisoners of the Sun, released in Australia as Blood Oath. Over the next five years, he continued to write and act in a handful of films, on top of his continuing series of mock interviews.

1998 – Clarke had another commercial success, when he co-wrote (with Ross Stevenson) and starred (with Dawe and Gina Riley) in The Games, a mockumentary about the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (SOCOG). The series, in which he played a character with the same name as his own, ran for two seasons, and featured guest appearances from a wide variety of figures, such as singer John Farnham. An early high point for the series was when a number of foreign reporters, mistaking it for genuine documentary, reported on plot lines as actual news stories.

2002 – Clarke appeared in an uncharacteristically villainous role in the hit movie Crackerjack and as a comedy club owner in the award-winning telemovie Roy Hollsdotter Live.

2004 – After something of a quiet period, he re-emerged in 2004, adapting Melbourne author Shane Maloney’s Murray Whelan series for film. As of 2004, this franchise has resulted in two films, Stiff and The Brush-Off, both starring David Wenham and Mick Molloy. Clarke directed Stiff himself and made a cameo appearance in The Brush-Off, which was directed by his old friend Sam Neill. Clarke is the author of several books, notably two mock compilations of Australian poetry, and The Tournament, a book describing a fictional tennis tournament involving many philosophical and literary figures of the twentieth century.