An Airman's Story: Lieutenant Colonel Betty Jane Williams

A Sailor's Story: Soundman First Class Clarence Leroy Van Cleef Jr

 


Soundman First Class Clarence Leroy Van Cleef Jr was born on January 9, 1925, in Somerville, New Jersey. He attended Somerville High School and graduated early to enlist in the US Navy on October 16, 1942, in response to World War II.

He trained as a sonarman and was assigned to the USS Incredible. Soundman First Class Clarence Leroy Van Cleef first deployed to the Caribbean before moving to the Mediterranean to assist in the military landings in South France. He then went with the USS Incredible to the Black Sea, sweeping mines, and then to Palermo, Sicily. Soundman First Class Clarence Leroy Van Cleef left the US Navy on March 18, 1946, shortly after the end of World War II.

He returned to Somerville, New Jersey, where Soundman First Class Clarence Leroy Van Cleef made his stage debut as Lee Van Cleef in the production of Our Town. He spent the next few years appearing in New Jersey and New York stage productions, including "Heaven Can Wait" and "Mister Roberts."  

Soundman First Class Clarence Leroy "Lee" Van Cleef made his film debut in the western High Noon, playing the villain Jack Colby. His career progressed through an impressive collection of Western, Sci-fi, and Noir films, and generally, given his angular features, as the "bad guy."  

Soundman First Class Clarence Leroy "Lee" Van Cleef maintained a prolific acting career, with more than 90 movie roles and 109 television appearances that included the role of Sergio Leone in "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" and roles on The Range Riders, The Adventures of Kit Carson, Gunsmoke, and Bonanza. He even appeared on The Twilight Zone. Soundman First Class Clarence Leroy "Lee" Van Cleef also inspired the character "Revolver Ocelot" in the Metal Gear video games.

He died on December 16, 1989, and rests at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles, California.


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a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at www.takethebackroads.com, you can also read her book reviews at www.riteoffancy.com and US military biographies at www.everydaypatriot.com

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