Clarence Gray (November 14, 1901 – January 5, 1957) was an American comic strip artist, best known for drawing the science fiction adventure strip Brick Bradford for more than two decades. He also worked as a freelance illustrator for various magazines.
Born in Toledo, Ohio, Gray called himself the "middle man" of three brothers. He was the son of Laura Jane and Val Gray, a construction worker. His father took little interest in his childhood drawings. "He just pitied me," recalled Gray. The red-haired youth began drawing trains and automobiles at an early age, teaching himself by making copies of magazine illustrations. He once described himself as a "red-headed, freckle-faced little punk." He concentrated on art courses in grade and high school, and after his high school graduation, he started his career at $18 a week doing sports and editorial cartoonist with the Toledo News-Bee. However, on his second week, he was surprised by a large raise, as detailed in a 1936 syndicated feature story on cartoonists:
"I had to give it back the next Monday," recalled Gray. "It was a payroll mistake."
In 1933, he created Brick Bradford with writer William H. Ritt, a columnist with the Central Press Association of Cleveland. Launched by the Central Press Association as an adventure strip, it quickly developed into one of the leading science-fiction strips of the 1930s. The daily comic strip was joined by a Sunday page in 1934, followed by a companion strip, The Time Top in 1935.
In 1939, Gray gave his art tips:
Gray received the solo byline for the daily strip in 1948 and the Sunday strip in 1949. When Ritt stopped scripting in 1952, Gray worked only on the Sunday strip and left the daily strip to Paul Norris. Gray and his wife, Jessie Matthews Gray, lived in Rocky River, Ohio where they had one son, Robert, and red-haired twins, Janet and Jane. When not at the drawing board, Gray liked golf, hunting, fishing and camping, where he communed with nature:
Clarence Gray died in 1957 at age 55. At age 70, William Ritt died September 20, 1972.