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Joe Louis Clark (born May 7, 1938) is the former principal of Eastside High School in Paterson, one of New Jersey's toughest inner city schools. He is also the subject of the 1989 film Lean on Me, starring Morgan Freeman. Clark gained public attention in the 1980s for his unconventional and controversial disciplinary measures. He also partly inspired Denzel Washington's character in the film Hard Lessons about contemporary Los Angeles high school principal George McKenna.