Lee Van Cleef Jr

Clarence Leroy Van Cleef Jr (1925 - 1989)

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Clarence Leroy (Lee) Van Cleef Jr
Born in Somerville, New Jersey, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married (to before ) [location unknown]
Husband of — married (to about ) [location unknown]
Husband of [private wife (1950s - unknown)]
[children unknown]
Died in Oxnard, California, United Statesmap
Profile manager: Eddie King private message [send private message]
Profile last modified | Created 21 Apr 2018
This page has been accessed 496 times.

Categories: USS Incredible (AM-249), United States Navy, World War II | Navy Good Conduct Medal | European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal | Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal | American Campaign Medal | World War II Victory Medal | Bronze Star Medal | Famous Actors of the 20th Century.


After basic training and further training at the Naval Fleet Sound School, Van Cleef was assigned to a submarine chaser and then to a minesweeper, USS Incredible, on which he worked as a sonarman.

USS Incredible

The ship initially patrolled the Caribbean, then moved to the Mediterranean, participating in the landings in southern France. In January 1945, Incredible moved to the Black Sea, and performed sweeping duties out of the Soviet Navy base at Sevastopol, Crimea. Afterwards the ship performed air-sea rescue patrols in the Black Sea before returning to Palermo, Sicily. By the time of his discharge in March 1946, he had achieved the rank of Sonarman First Class (SO1) and had earned his mine sweeper patch. By virtue of his deployments Van Cleef also qualified for the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the American Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal


The Master [[1]]

Death Rides a Horse [[2]]

The Lone Ranger [[3]]

It Conquered the World [[4]]

Born January 9, 1925 in Somerville, New Jersey, USA

Died December 16, 1989 in Oxnard, California, USA (heart attack)

Birth Name Clarence Leroy Van Cleef Jr.

Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

According to the book "Weird NJ" (Sceurman, Mark and Mark Moran, Barnes and Noble Books, 2004 ISBN 0-7607-3979-X) he was a descendant of the Morris County Van Cleefs who were infamous in the area for their strange living and "procreational" efforts. In fact, one trait that Lee had was that he had one green eye and one blue eye. According to the book, "this telltale characteristic was corrected in the movies with colored contact lenses".

One of the great movie villains, Clarence Leroy Van Cleef, Jr. was born in Somerville, New Jersey, to Marion Lavinia (Van Fleet) and Clarence LeRoy Van Cleef, Sr. His parents were both of Dutch ancestry. Van Cleef started out as an accountant. He served in the U.S. Navy aboard minesweepers and sub chasers during World War II. After the war he worked as an office administrator, becoming involved in amateur theatrics in his spare time. An audition for a professional role led to a touring company job in "Mr. Roberts". His performance was seen by Stanley Kramer, who cast him as henchman Jack Colby in High Noon (1952), a role that brought him great recognition despite the fact that he had no dialogue. For the next decade he played a string of memorably villainous characters, primarily in westerns but also in crime dramas such as The Big Combo (1955).

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

His hawk nose and steely, slit eyes seemed destined to keep him always in the realm of heavies, but in the mid 1960s Sergio Leone cast him as the tough but decent Col. Mortimer opposite Clint Eastwood in For a Few Dollars More (1965).

Colonel Mortimer

A new career as a western hero (or at least anti-hero) opened up, and Van Cleef became an international star, though in films of decreasing quality.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In the 1980s he moved easily into action and martial-arts movies and starred in The Master (1984), a TV series featuring almost non-stop martial arts action. He died of a heart attack in December 1989 and was buried at Forest Lawn in the Hollywood Hills.


  • "United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K4YQ-3MW : accessed 3 June 2018), Clarence L Vanclief in household of Clarence L Vanclief, Somerville Borough, Somerset, New Jersey, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 18-61, sheet 19A, line 9, family 405, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 2383.


Filmography [[6]]

Connects to https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Van_Kleef-22

Father Clarence Leroy Van Cleef Sr

BIRTH 27 FEB. 1895 • Belle Mead, Somerset, New Jersey, USA

DEATH 1948 • Somerville, Somerset, New Jersey, USA


Marion Lavinia Van Fleet

BIRTH 6 AUG. 1897 • Hillsborough, Somerset, New Jersey, USA

DEATH 28 OCT. 1987 • Tarzana, Los Angeles, California, USA


First Wife: Patsy Ruth Kahle (from 10 December 1943 to 1960 - divorced - had 3 children together)

Second Wife: Joan Marjorie Drane (from 9 April 1960 to 1974 - divorced - no known children together)

Third Wife: Barbara Havelone (from 13 July 1976 to his death on 16 December 1989 - no known children together)[1]

More Genealogy Tools

Sponsored Search

Searching for someone else?
First: Last:

No known carriers of Lee's ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Ancestry DNA.

Images: 2
Lee Van Cleef Image 1
Lee Van Cleef Image 1

Lee Van Cleef Image 2
Lee Van Cleef Image 2


On 3 May 2018 at 20:56 GMT Eddie King wrote:


Lee is 27 degrees from Rosa Parks, 24 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 21 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

V  >  Van Cleef  >  Clarence Leroy Van Cleef Jr