Biography

Jack Clifford (born John Clifford Cooley in 1888) had what one might call a "challenged childhood." He was in two orphanages, and seven foster homes from New York to Texas. Despite the early obstacles he became an American "headliner" (Orpheum Circuit) vaudeville performer, who was evidently pretty good. Part of his act was as a "rube," hard of hearing country bumpkin who created punch lines from misunderstood words, acted in skits, and sang. Rube became his nick name and in some cases his credited name. Shortly after his act included his then wife Miriam Wills. He started in about 1913, and in addition to his vaudeville acting, he began a successful movie career in Cecil B. DeMille's The Squaw Man (1914). For the next 40 years in addition to vaudeville and movies, he starred in the 1930 radio series KFWB Hi-Jinks As a hard of hearing Sheriff with such notables as Cliff Arquette, Billy Nelson, and Johnny Murray In the 30's "The Sheriff" toured California as a Representative for Gilmore Oil (Now Mobil Oil) also appearing at the Pomona Fair. The majority of movie appearances were just bit parts with the few notable exceptions. The exceptions were Dimples (1936) as Uncle Tom, a full length part with Bob Steel in The Sunrise Trail (1931), the part of Dog catcher Nubbins in Skippy (1931), The Lone Ranger (1949) series in 1949 and 1955, and 45 Minutes from Hollywood (1926) with Glenn Tryon. Keith Scott attributes the origin of the character "Foghorn Leghorn" to Clifford. Toward the end of his career when gigs began to dry up, his agent moved to Palm Springs. He retired to Temple City, California with His Wife Virginia (Meldrum) Clifford and died in 1974.