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Clarence Darrow
Clarence Darrow.jpg
Clarence Seward Darrow ca. 1922
Clarence Seward Darrow

(1857-04-18)April 18, 1857
Died March 13, 1938(1938-03-13) (aged 80)
Chicago, Illinois
Cause of death Pulmonary heart disease
Alma mater Allegheny College
University of Michigan
Occupation Lawyer

Clarence Darrow (April 18, 1857 – March 13, 1938) was an American lawyer and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He was the son of Eddy and Amirus Darrow, a furniture manufacturer and dealer Amirus Darrow had originally trained as a minister,but just before his ordination he experienced a crisis of faith that led him to question the existence of God and the notion of life after death. Darrow briefly attended Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, then taught school for several years before enrolling at the University of Michigan Law School.

His humor during trials, and his willingness to support civil rights, made him a famous lawyer.

Darrow spent the remaining years of his life in near seclusion. He died of heart disease at the age of eighty, respected by some and despised by others as a colorful rebel who was always willing to take on unpopular causes in the firm belief that they were the right ones to back-regardless of their impact on his career and his finances.


Today, Clarence Darrow is remembered for his reputation as a fierce litigator who, in many cases, championed the cause of the underdog; because of this, he is generally regarded as one of the greatest criminal defense lawyers in American history.

Henry Drummond (left), a fictionalized version of Clarence Darrow, as portrayed by Spencer Tracy in Inherit the Wind.

According to legend, before he died, Darrow declared that if there was an afterlife, he would return on the small bridge (now known as the Clarence Darrow Memorial Bridge) located just south of the Museum of Science and Industry in Hyde Park, Chicago on the date of his death.

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