Betty Ross Clarke
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Betty Ross Clarke (born May Clarke, May 1, 1892 – January 24, 1970) was an American stage and film actress. She appeared in more than 30 films between 1920 and 1940, including silent and sound films, in both credited and uncredited roles.
During the 1920s, Clarke appeared in 14 silent films, including 11 U.S. films, two British films and one German film. In the United States, she worked for film companies that included Famous Players-Lasky, Thomas H. Ince, and Vitagraph Studios. She played the female lead in the film If I Were King opposite William Farnum and had other starring roles in silent films.
Clarke's first screen role in a "talkie" was as the character Dot Aldrich in The Age for Love. During the 1930s, she appeared in more than 20 sound films, including both feature films and short films. She typically played character roles, both credited and uncredited. Of note, she replaced the actress Sara Haden as Aunt Millie in two feature length Andy Hardy films. Betty Ross Clarke was occasionally billed in screen credits as "Betsy Ross Clarke" or "Betty Ross Clark," and her name appears as "Betty Ross-Clarke" in some databases, such as the Internet Broadway Database.
Throughout her career, Clarke often performed on both the theater stage and in films during the same time period. A newspaper advertisement in 1922 noted that audience members could "see her on stage and screen at the same time," because she was performing in the play The Morning Him and also starring in the film At the Sign of the Jack O'Lantern. Commenting on the difference between stage and film acting, Clarke remarked that the "silent drama affords an easier life to those who choose it, for one has the nights free, to do as one likes. On the boards an actor's or actresses's time is always taken up."
Most of the silent films in which Clarke appeared have not survived. However, the films If I Were King and Mother o' Mine are preserved in the silent film archive of the Library of Congress. A print of Mother o' Mine is also housed in the UCLA Film and Television Archive. The silent film Traveling Salesman, with Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle in the leading role, can be found in the George Eastman House Motion Picture Collection in Rochester, New York. Many of the later sound films in which she appeared are still available, including Murders in the Rue Morgue, A Bride for Henry, Love Finds Andy Hardy, Judge Hardy's Children, and Four Wives.