“I'm getting a lot of roles as women who are very powerful. I think that's a reflection of me as a person.” Melinda Clarke
American actress Melinda Clarke, also known as Mindy Clarke, has been in show business for nearly two decades. Celebrated chiefly for her work on television, the daughter of actor John Clarke made a promising debut in the daytime drama “Days of Our Lives” (1989-1990), whose one of the original cast members also included her father. As Faith Taylor, she was handed a 1990 Young Artist nomination. The younger Clarke scored her next regular gigs in the short-lived “Heaven Help Us” (1994) and the syndicated series “Soldier of Fortune, Inc.” (1997-1999). But, it was her guest appearances in such popular shows as “Xena: Warrior Princess,” “Seinfeld” and “Charmed,” as well as a recurring role in “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2001, as Lady Heather) that kept her in the limelight. Eventually, after fourteen years on television, she achieved star status thanks to her role of the evil Julie Cooper on the Fox series “The O.C” (2003-2007). Commenting about her characters in “CSI” and “The O.C.,” she said, “Both are very strong women, but Julie is a bigger challenge. She's a figure that doesn't exist in real life. She's a fictional character. As an actress, this is a special situation. Actors love parts like that. I love such parts. You can breathe life into them on your own. However, Lady Heather is real. There are women like her out there. She's a typical representative of her trade.”
The Dana Point, California, native has also acted in TV movies and films. Among her credits are “Return of the Living Dead III” (1993), “The Killer Tongue” (1996, earned a Best Actress Award at the Stiges Film Festival), “Spawn” (1997), “.com for Murder” (2002) and “She Drives Me Crazy” (2007, TV). Fans should not miss her performance in the upcoming thriller “Mate” (2009).
Brown-haired, green-eyed Melinda has been married to writer/director Ernie Mirich since 1997. They currently live in Beverly Hills, California, with their only daughter, Kathryn. Clarke is a fan of cigars and has volunteered with the Young Storytellers Program.
Childhood and Family:
Melinda Patrice Clarke was born on April 24, 1969, in Dana Point, California, to actor John Clarke and ballet dancer Patricia. She has a brother named Joshua and a sister named Heidi, who died in 1994 from a malignant heart tumor. Melinda began taking dance and ballet lessons when she was young. She is also a trained soprano.
On June 28, 1997, Melinda married Ernie Mirich in Dana Point, California. They had a small, private ceremony attended by close friends and family. Melinda has a daughter named Kathryn Grace Mirich.
Melinda Clarke decided to follow in her dad's footsteps when she was a teenager. She appeared in numerous stage productions and musicals and took part in workshops at the South Coast Repertory and summer camps at Idyllwilde School of Music and the Arts before making her way to Los Angeles to pursue acting. At the time, she was 18 years old.
The Californian made her TV debut alongside her father on the daytime soap “Days of Our Lives,” playing Faith Taylor from 1989 to 1990. She was nominated for a Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress in a Daytime Drama. Clarke left the series to start a film career. Her first outing, “Hot Under the Collar” (1991), was largely ignored. She then appeared in several other forgettable projects like the horror sequel “Return Of the Living Dead III” (1993, opposite Kent McCord, James T. Callahan and Sarah Douglas), Peter George's “Young Goodman Brown” (1993, as Faith Brown), the Robert Easter-scripted “Out for Blood” (1993) and “Return to Two Moon Junction” (1995).
Clarke revisited the small screen in 1994 when she was cast as Lexy Monroe in the Aaron Spelling short-lived series “Heaven Help Us.” After its cancellation, she guest starred in “Strange Luck” (1996), “Seinfeld” and “Sliders” and had a recurring role in “Xena: Warrior Princess” (all 1997). She then portrayed a spy named Margo Vincent in the made-for TV movie “Soldier of Fortune” (1997), which was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and reprised the role in the spin-off series “Soldier of Fortune, Inc.,” which ran for two seasons from 1997 to 1999.
Melinda resumed her film career by taking a small role in “Mulholland Falls” (1996), which starred Nick Nolte and Melanie Griffith, starring as Candy in the drag queen comedy “The Killer Tongue/Lengua asesina, La” (1996), a production which won the actress a Best Actress honor at the Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival, and playing Mrs. M in the independent film “Critics and Other Freaks” (1997), written, helmed and produced by husband Ernie Mirich. However, Clarke is probably best known for playing Jessica Priest in the Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival nominee for Best Film, “Spawn” (1997), adapted from the comic book of the same name. The thriller movie also starred Michael Jai White, John Leguizamo, Martin Sheen, Theresa Randle, Nicol Williamson and D.B. Sweeney.
Entering the new millennium, Clarke was seen in episodes of “The Pretender,” “Nash Bridges” (both 2000), “Star Trek: Enterprise” (2001), “Charmed,” “Everwood” (both 2002), “Tremors,” “Firefly” (both 2003) and “Entourage,” and appeared in the pilot for the Supreme Court drama “First Monday” (2002). Her TV career was highlighted with notable recurring roles in “The District” (as Detective Olivia Cahill during the 2002-2003 season) and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2001, as Lady Heather). Clarke also costarred with Nastassja Kinski and Nicollette Sheridan in the thriller “.com for Murder” (2002), teamed up with Mel Harris and Daniel Baldwin for the thriller “Dynamite” (2002) and acted in her husband's film “Cold Sweat” (2002). She also voiced Alexa for a short cartoon film by Peter Chung, “Matriculated” (2003).
In 2003, Clarke enjoyed success on the small screen when she joined Peter Gallagher, Kelly Rowan, Benjamin McKenzie, Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson to star in Fox’s drama series “The O.C.” Playing the resident vixen Julie Cooper, her role was originally meant for a short guest appearance but because of the response from audiences, she was hired as a regular. Clarke remained with the show until it came to an end in 2007, during which time she shared the numerous honors, including the 2005 Logie for Most Popular Overseas Program, the 2005 People's Choice nomination for Favorite Television Drama, the 2004 Teen Choice Awards for Choice Breakout TV Show and Choice TV Show - Drama/Action Adventure, and the 2004 TCA nomination for Outstanding New Program.
“Well, in the beginning I think they were like, ‘We hate this woman. She's terrible. We can't stand her!’ Now I think people tune in because they can't wait to see what she's going to do and because they feel sorry for her.” Melinda Clarke on her character Julie Cooper
After the show stopped production, Clarke portrayed Blithe Meacham in the television movie “She Drives Me Crazy” (2007). She then guest starred as Mimi in the series starring Bret Harrison, “Reaper” (2007) and Sasha Banacheck in the comedy series “Chuck” (2008). Her voice could also be heard as Charlene in an episode of the long-running animated series “King of the Hill” (2008).
Clarke is set to star with Callum Blue and Ian Buchanan in “Mate” (2009), an upcoming thriller directed by Alexander Kane. Among her costars are Stephen Baldwin, Laura Allen, Mark Derwin, Kelvin Brown, Destiny Whitlock and Shaz Khan.
Sitges - Catalonian International Film Festival: Best Actress, “Lengua asesina, La,” 1996