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Frederick S. Clarke

Publisher of CINEFANTASTIQUE passes away.

By Steve Biodrowski     October 22, 2000

Frederick S. Clarke, publisher and editor of Cinefantastique magazine died on Tuesday of last week, at the age of 51. He is survived by his wife, Celeste Casey Clarke; by his children, Whitney and Caitlin; and by his step-children, Drew and Anna Sikula. The news comes as a tremendous shock to many who knew him through his work on the magazine. The cause of death has not been revealed; however, CFQ employees indicated that Clarke had, apparently, been ill for some time but was able to hide this from them, while he continued to work on the magazine up until very nearly the end of his life.

Clarke should be well known to fans of science-fiction, fantasy, and horror, as the magazine he created, owned, and operated was the first to take a serious, in-depth look at the subject of genre movies and television shows. Cinefantastique, which began publication in 1970, was almost a mom-and-pop type operation that fiercely maintained its independence; as such, it developed a reputation for digging up the real, behind-the-scenes stories at a time when most genre-oriented publications were little more than an extension of the studio public relations machine.

In the 1990s, with the rise of the Internet, the magazine's importance somewhat declined, as there were now dozens if not hundreds of online sites (e.g., Aint It Cool News) dishing out the dirt with a speed that could not be matched by a bimonthly publication. (The magazine went to a monthly schedule for a few years in the mid- to late-'90s, but the sales were not able to support the frequency of publication.) At this time, the future of the magazine, along with its sister publication Femme Fatales, is unknown.

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