Actor Clark Middleton, best known for appearing in The Blacklist and the recent Twin Peaks revival, has reportedly died after battling the West Nile Virus. He was 63.
“With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of a life eminently worthy of celebration: Clark Tinsley Middleton, 63 — beloved actor, writer, director, teacher, hero, husband, beacon, friend,” his wife Elissa said in a statement obtained by Variety. “Clark transitioned on October 4th as a result of West Nile Virus, for which there is no known cure. Clark was a beautiful soul who spent a lifetime defying limits and advocating for people with disabilities.”
EW has reached out to representatives for Middleton for confirmation.
Middleton was best known for acting in 13 episodes of NBC's The Blacklist as Glen Carter, a DMV employee and tracker for Raymond Reddington. The actor also portrayed Audrey Horne's (Sherilyn Fenn) husband Charlie in Showtime's Twin Peaks revival in 2017.
His other TV credits include Fringe, The Path, Law & Order, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., American Gods, and Gotham. On the big screen, Middleton appeared in films like Sin City, Kill Bill: Vol. 2, Snowpiercer, and Birdman.
Middleton is survived by his wife Elissa, with whom he ran the acting school APT 929.
In a statement to EW, The Blacklist creator Jon Bokenkamp reacted to the news, calling Middleton "an incredible guy in every way."
"I’m heartbroken. Besides being a truly unique and gifted actor, Clark was simply an incredible guy in every way," he wrote. "He was a whip-smart film nut. He loved his work with a passion. And he was insanely generous of spirit … I know his entire family at The Blacklist is devastated by this news. Clark was one of the good ones, and we lost him way too soon."
Amir Arison, who appeared alongside Middleton in The Blacklist and the 2007 film Day Zero, also shared a tribute to the actor on Instagram.
"Curious, funny, thoughtful, passionate, grateful, dedicated, a major major talent, and a true gentleman. I’m at a loss. Rest in peace friend," Arison said.
As of Sept. 22, there have been 174 total cases of West Nile Virus in the country this year, with six deaths. According to the CDC, WNV is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States. It is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito, although only 1 in 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal illness. There are currently no vaccines to prevent, or medications to treat, WNV in people.
Died: October 4, 2020 in USA (West Nile Virus)
Height: 5' 3½" (1.61 m)
Clark Middleton has worked as an actor with film directors including Ang Lee, Henry Bean, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Richard Linklater and Frank Miller, among others. On television, he has been seen in Fringe, Jonny Zero, in a recurring role on Law and Order, and in CSI: Las Vegas. He also writes and directs original work for both screen and stage.
A working actor in New York City since 1983, Clark made his theatrical debut in three plays with the late Geraldine Page. He went on to work with Uta Hagen and Herbert Berghof and has acted at the Public Theater, with the Circle Repertory Company, Shakespeare in the Park, the Signature and has worked in such regional theaters as the Denver Center and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Clark has created parts for playwrights including Sam Shepard, John Guare, Edwardo Machado, John Belluso, and William Leavengood. He also wrote the one-person, critically acclaimed play Miracle Mile and performed it in NYC and throughout the US.
He was a scene-stealer par excellence who exemplified triumph over adversity. The actor born as Clark Tinsley Middleton made a success of his profession though afflicted with crippling juvenile rheumatoid arthritis from the age of four. There were frequent recurring bouts of the ailment affecting his hands, arms and hips. In 1997, he related his struggles in an autobiographical one-man play, Miracle Mile, which he performed off-Broadway. Despite diminutive size and almost complete lack of neck movement, Middleton began performing in amateur dramatics while still at junior college and became determined to make a proper career of it. He later quit university in Arizona and at the age of 25 moved to New York to study acting under Uta Hagen and then Geraldine Page (who became his mentor) at the Mirror Repertory Theater. He then spent 15 years on stage with the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Circle Repertory Theater and various regional theatres before making his screen debut in 1983.
At first, he experienced difficulties being cast. In his own words: "They don't know what to do with me. I'm limited not by what I can do, but by what people see me as." Nevertheless, in the course of his all-too-brief career, Middleton managed to create a fascinating array of feisty, memorable characters, especially in the genre of science fiction. He is perhaps best known as James Spader's grumpy DMV tracker Glenn 'Jelly Bean' Carter in The Blacklist (2013). Equally good value was his recurring role in Fringe (2008) as an eccentric dealer in rare, antiquarian books whose esoteric knowledge often tended to prove vitally important. He made a briefer appearance in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) as Pretorious Pryce, an officious customs inspector on the planet of Kitson and was Sherilyn Fenn's perennially tired accountant husband in Twin Peaks (2017). Add to that a host of small movie character parts in high profile releases like Serendipity (2001), Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), Sin City (2005) and Snowpiercer (2013).
Clark Middleton died at the age of 63 from the mosquito-borne disease West Nile Virus.