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JONATHAN HAWTREY CLARK (b. October 23, 1963)

Posted in My Family and Me

My firstborn appeared in New York City in 1963. His mother took him up to Toronto, Canada, and I missed his growing up years, referred to elsewhere. But I sneaked him his U.S. passport, and with his very early memories of me and his half brother and sisters, and his grandparents which I forced on him, he never forgot, I just had to wait him out for ten more years when he left home.
I don’t regret a thing, and now he is happily married to an Irish girl, has 2 children, lives in Dublin, and is a very talented screen-writer.

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LYNN RACHEL REDGRAVE (CLARK)

Posted in LYNN REDGRAVE, My Family and Me

“Be Careful What You Wish For.”
So goes the old aphorism. It can also lead to stress, Lynn, and I hope you are over it by now.
I heard about your breast cancer. I am sorry I could not be there for you, but I see that Annabel was with you, you got a book out of it, and it is a relief that you have recovered. Onward and upward.
[Picture, copyright of our daughter Annabel Clark]
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Meanwhile, Merry Christmas
3/8/2005
Happy 62nd. birthday today.
With best wishes from your ex.

NICOLETTE

Posted in My Family and Me

You’ve read plenty about this lady elsewhere. She’s the mother of Zachary, whom I got to know and love as my own son.
I first met Nicolette at the house of her sister Adeline and husband John Procter in Palmers Green, devout Jehovah’s Witnesses all, a few days after her mother had dropped dead in the street of a brain hemorrhage. I soon found that Nicolette had been “disfellowshipped” and that meant had fallen from grace by order of the all-male elders (sounds like an Arthur Miller play!) and that meant cold-shouldered by her faith, her friends, and her family. And within a few months, I made a bad decision. As Just William would have said, “I was only tryin’ to help”.
When the baby turned out to be a boy, it reopened for me an old wound, the loss of my little son Jonathan to my first wife, all those years ago in Toronto, soon after I’d married Lynn. I longed for a relationship with this new baby, and he quickly became a substitute for what I had missed. Kay had refused me all father/son contact during his growing up years back in the 60’s and 70’s, despite Canadian court orders. I was never tested for paternity of Zach, but I had no reason to think that I was not his father at that time, certainly I accepted that duty and obligation. And that was how I became his father, never mentioned around the house, nobody was supposed to know. At least that was the pretense. Nicolette prepared a document appointing me his guardian, and in the event of her death taking full custody of him. (I’ve seen no update or change in that plan. Except that now I don’t know where they are. “Not probative” Judge Gold would have proclaimed.)
I remember an occasion early on, when Jonathan came to visit. They were sitting together on the couch. Jonathan was then 32, Zach 4 . And I thought how strange, Jonathan at Zach’s age knew me, knew I was his father, reached for me, but a relationship of any kind was denied. And here is Zach, all these years later, with me every day, calling me Papa, and yet not knowing I really was his father.
The day came when he and his adoring and adored sister Annabel were watching their favorite television show, South Park. It was February 25, 1998. Zach was 7. Squeals of laughter and I joined them on the couch. In this episode, Cartman begins to wonder why all the kids at school have fathers but him. He asks his mother who his real father is, and she tells him about the night of the drunken barn dance, when he was conceived. She’d had sex with just about every man in town that night, and DNA tests have to be performed to determine who the real father is, but it costs $3,000. How can Eric raise the money to learn the truth . . . and I looked at Zach, he was silent, and tears were rolling down his cheeks. And I knew then that the time had come when he had to know.
Nicolette looked elsewhere for a love life, and certainly that was her right. Lynn and I had hoped to take her down the aisle with “a nice rich Jewish lawyer”, we’d say. But that didn’t happen, she chose, instead, porn king Al Goldstein. Al Goldstein at NNDb A friend, I thought, of ours, whom we’d help to keep out of jail after his trial for obscenity in Kansas back in 1975.
He’d paid Nicolette money to accept deliveries at a new Beverly Hills apartment he was setting up in 1993, while he was away. Then later he called me from his home in Florida, gloating, and threatened me with exposure, which would have been sure to bring Lynn down. I was hugely concerned, and called her sister Adeline in London to fill her in and bring her up-to-date on the truthful story. “Get rid of him at all costs” she told me.
Nicolette wanted to settle down with him in Florida, with Zach of course then about 2 years old, and hoped to become his fifth wife. To get an idea of what Zach’s future life would have been like, well, this will give you an idea (if you’re over eighteen!), an interview with Al Goldstein. Yes, he’s quite a character, a good writer, and very Jewish funny. Which makes him very dangerous. It took a lot of persuasion to get her to drop the idea. She adored him. Mind you, he took her to the mansion, and let her drive his flame red Porsche with the gun emblazoned on the side, and gave her his credit card while he was out of town.
Much later, unbelievably, and secretly, it was our Topanga plumber from Guadalajara, a self-confessed drug dealer and gangster, or so he told me when I started to investigate. We had enormous reservations there too, of course. But he did eventually become this little boy’s father, with the blessing of Los Angeles Family Court and the stern admonishment of my own lawyers, reminding me of her right to choose whomever pleased her the most.
This newsworthy photo was sent to me by the National Enquirer, their photographer clicking away from a concealed position outside her home in Topanga early one morning.
Photo taken by the National Enquirer
I think about my own young life as a bastard, and there should be no black mark against us people. When I first found out from my mother – I was forty-two no less – I was ecstatic to hear about it (unlike my sister who I think felt great shame). People like us have gone on to great things, witness film director Carol Reed who led an interesting and creative life. Reaching further back, the same can be said of all 10 children of the Booth family, perhaps excepting John Wilkes. One of whom, notice, married a John Clarke.
As things stand now, and with a glance and a spit towards Los Angeles Family Court, I foresee a future for young Zachary of a downside as a second plumber’s mate, and an upside of becoming a WeightWatcher’s franchisee. Unless something happens to allow me to put influence into his life before it’s too late (I’m approaching 75.) I hope he is finding emotional independence.

MISCELLANEOUS MEMBERS

Posted in My Family and Me

Leonard Charles Clark (Len) was my father. He was born in London, June 27, 1893. Current research reveals he was married to Gladys May 18, 1913, in Bournemouth,on the South Coast of England, and they lived there, and had 2 daughters. Just after marriage, he fought in WW1 as a captain in the Seaforth Highlanders. I have a picture of him in his kilt. After the war he worked for his father, who was later mayor of Sutton, Surrey, who owned a wholesale meat business in Smithfield Market. He met my mother when he bumped into her on Victoria Station around 1928, and set up house with her in London – unbeknownst to his family back in Bournemouth, and unbeknownst to my mother at that time. A happy commuter, right out of Alec Guiness’s “Captain’s Paradise”, I’d say. Well, his wife paid him back. She steadfastly refused to divorce him, and that was in the days where you didn’t get one, unless both agreed. Sadly, his father and mother, and his brother and 2 sisters influenced by their parents, also disowned him, ignoring him for the next 30 years, (and depriving me of grandparents forever). Finally, in 1970, my mother and father got to marry in the same courtroom where the judge granted him his divorce (new grounds of 2 years desertion by either party). The English judge was horrified, told them to get 2 policemen from next door, and he married them then and there. Nice story! I traced my half-sisters through a television show in Burbank about 8 years ago, and they are now my great friends and supporters.
Ethel Margaret Clark (Greta) was my mother. She was born in the village of Billum, near Esbjerg, Jutland, Denmark, on May 27, 1903, and spoke with the Jutlandic dialect. The second oldest of ten children, living on a dairy farm, her father committed suicide when she was about eighteen, leaving his family on the edge of poverty. I’m still researching the reason. Mother left for England to seek a better life. I dare say meeting my father was a stroke of luck for her, and he helped the family tremendously. I met them all just once, in 1947 on a trip over there with my mother. Of course, Denmark had been occupied by the Nazis, so there was no prior contact with them either.
I am still researching both of their stories, because much was kept secret from me and my sister as we were growing up, and now they are both gone. I want to bring everybody back into the fold, because the old issues are dead, too.
Just now, I am in touch with my cousins in Jutland, who can handle quite good English, and it’s all thanks to the Internet. The Internet has changed people’s lives, not least by bringing far flung estranged families together again. Everyone should have a computer and learn how to use it. Because otherwise, they’re missing out.
Sonia Pamela Clark is my one sibling, 2 years older than me, born in England, lives in Henley-on-Thames. She is referred to elsewhere. We don’t talk. But her two daughters, one’s a doctor, used to visit and send Christmas cards until about 20 years ago, then suddenly stopped. That I don’t understand. They are independant individuals, and should know better.
Sybil Clark and Mavis Dayton are my half-sisters. They were born in England in the twenties. Mavis met and married a Canadian flyer, and they all emigrated to Vancouver, Canada, in the forties, just after WW2. Their mother was Gladys, my father’s first wife, the fact which I didn’t discover until I left home as a young man. And to think I used to sail into Vancouver in the early fifties, and could have looked them up.
Katharine Mary Craven Hawtrey (Kay) was my first wife, born in Toronto in 1926, I married her there in 1956. She was six years older than me, and I refer to her elsewhere. I met her when I was the juvenile lead in the Canadian Repertory Theatre in Ottawa, and she was the character actress. She is still a working actress, and lives in Toronto, Canada. When she refused to let me see my son, I went to court with an attorney, and she then ignored ensuing court orders, and I decided to give up. It is in my nature to fight injustice, but not when it involves hard-balling my family. We haven’t spoken since.