Al Clark was a prolific editor. His career spanned four decades, most of which was spent at Columbia Pictures. During that time, he was nominated for 5 Academy Awards and 1 Emmy. He edited over 120 films. Towards the end of his career, in the 1960s, he was responsible for editing multiple popular television series.
Clark began his career in 1933 at the Poverty Row studio, Tower Productions. The first film he worked on was the crime drama, The Important Witness. In 1934 he would begin his long association with Columbia Pictures, on Lambert Hillyer's crime drama, Men of the Night. His work on the 1937 screwball comedy, The Awful Truth, starring Irene Dunne and Cary Grant, earned him the first of his five Academy Awards for Best Film Editing nominations. In 1939 Clark co-edited, along with Gene Havlick, Frank Capra's classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which stars Jean Arthur and James Stewart. The two editors were nominated for an Academy Award, losing to the editors for Gone With the Wind. His third nomination came in 1940 for the classic political drama, All the King's Men, shared with Robert Parrish. The winner that year was Harry W. Gerstad for Champion. In 1958, he and William A. Lyon edited the western Cowboy, starring Glenn Ford and Jack Lemmon. However, the editing award that year went to Adrienne Fazan for Gigi. Clark's fifth and final Oscar nomination came in 1961, for his work on Pepe, which he co-edited by Viola Lawrence. That year the Oscar went to Daniel Mandell for The Apartment. His long association with Columbia came to an end in 1962, with Clark's work on The Interns. After his departure from Columbia, Clark edited only two more films: the 1963 comedy Hootenanny Hoot, for MGM; and the 1969 Elvis Presley western, Charro!.
Beginning in 1952 on NBC's Cavalcade of America, Clark worked sporadically on television shows. His television credits include Dennis the Menace (1959), The Twilight Zone (1963), Gilligan's Island (1964), Perry Mason (1963–65), and I Dream of Jeannie (1965). His final work in television was from 1967-68 on The High Chaparral. His work on Ben Casey garnered him an Emmy Award nomination in 1963.