Frank Sutton Statue
Arts and Culture | Downtown
The statue of Frank Sutton emerged glowing in the midday sun and evoked oohs and ahs from the crowd when it was unveiled in May 2017. Sculptor Wise’s statue perfectly evokes Sutton’s famous “Sgt. Carter” from the CBS sitcom, “Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.,” with his trademark hat, lean-forward stance, square jaw and flaring nostrils.
Mayor Kim McMillan acknowledged that Frank Sutton remains a “favorite son” of our community. “He gave distinguished service to our country, and by all accounts, he was always fond of Clarksville, and remained true to his relatives and roots here.”
Mark Holleman -- civic leader and broker/owner of Coldwell Banker Conroy, Marable & Holleman -- working with the City of Clarksville, led the drive to place the statue near the Roxy Theatre in Sutton’s hometown.
“This is about keeping the past alive for our youngsters, like these students who gather here with us today,” Holleman said. “This all started when one of my agents, Pat Powers, a distant relative of Frank Sutton, and I started talking about making this a company project. It was a long two years of hard work, but it turned out great, thanks to Scott Wise, the City, and of course, the group of investors who contributed the money.”
Sutton, whose parents met while working at The Leaf-Chronicle, took to the stage as a student at East High School in Nashville, where his family moved when he was 8. He returned to Clarksville after high school and worked as a radio announcer. During World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the South Pacific.
After the war, he began a notable career as an actor, with many TV roles in shows. But Sutton will always be remembered for his breakthrough role as tough Marine Corps Sgt. Vince Carter in the “Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.” television series with Jim Nabors. He chose to be buried in Clarksville, which he always considered home.
by Richard Stevens
Clarksville, TN 37040