R.I.P. Marlene Clark, Lamont's fiancée on Sanford and Son, Ganja in Ganja & Hess
Marlene Clark, best known for her breakout role as Ganja Meda in the 1973 horror film Ganja & Hess and Janet Lawson on Sanford and Son, has died.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actress passed away on May 18 in her Los Angeles home, her friend Tamara Lynch announced. Clark was born on December 19, 1937, and raised in New York's Harlem neighborhood, where she became a fashion model before acting.
Her first known role came in 1968 in the Daniel Mann-directed film For Love Of Ivy, where she played a radio phone girl. In 1968, she starred alongside legendary actor Sidney Poitier in Robert Downey Sr.'s satirical comedy Putney Swope.
Clark became a well-known name in the film industry during the '70s, starring in more films like The Landlord (1970), Slaughter (1972), and Night of the Cobra Woman (1972). However, her stand-out role didn't come until 1973, when she starred as Ganja Meda in Ganja & Hess, where critics praised her performance. A.H. Weiler of The New York Times said, "Miss Clark is an arresting presence as the enamored Ganja. She occasionally invests an unbelievable character with style and humor."
The actress also made her way into viewers' homes worldwide with her role as Janet Lawson on Sanford and Son. She played Lamont's (Demond Wilson) love interest, who took some time for Fred Sanford (Redd Foxx) to accept. Clark was on six episodes of the Norman Lear-produced series.
Clark's friend released a statement, saying, "Marlene's style was impeccable. She loved fashion, food and acting. Her large, full laugh that could fill a room will be missed. She leaves behind friends and family that will forever be grateful for her grace, love and beautiful heart. Marlene was one of our finest examples of Black beauty."
The actress was 85.
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