Clark Gable

Clark Gable
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Clark Gable
Clark Gable filmography
White Man (film)
The Merry Widow (1925 film)
The Plastic Age
Ben-Hur (1925 film)
The Johnstown Flood (1926 film)
The Painted Desert
The Easiest Way
Dance, Fools, Dance
The Secret Six
Laughing Sinners
A Free Soul
Night Nurse (1931 film)
Sporting Blood
Susan Lenox (Her Fall and Rise)
Possessed (1931 film)
Hell Divers
Polly of the Circus
Red Dust
Strange Interlude (1932 film)
No Man of Her Own (1932 film)
The White Sister (1933 film)
Hold Your Man
Dancing Lady
It Happened One Night
Men in White (1934 film)
Manhattan Melodrama
Chained (1934 film)
Forsaking All Others
After Office Hours
The Call of the Wild (1935 film)
China Seas (film)
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935 film)
Wife vs. Secretary
San Francisco (film)
Cain and Mabel
Love on the Run (1936 film)
Parnell (film)
Saratoga (film)
Test Pilot (film)
Too Hot to Handle (1938 film)
Idiot's Delight (film)
Gone with the Wind (film)
Strange Cargo (1940 film)
Comrade X
They Met in Bombay
Honky Tonk (1941 film)
Somewhere I'll Find You
Adventure (1945 film)
The Hucksters
Homecoming (1948 film)
Any Number Can Play
Key to the City (film)
To Please a Lady
Across the Wide Missouri (film)
Callaway Went Thataway
Lone Star (1952 film)
Betrayed (1954 film)
Soldier of Fortune (film)
The Tall Men (film)
The King and Four Queens
Band of Angels
Run Silent, Run Deep
Teacher's Pet (1958 film)
But Not for Me (film)
It Started in Naples
The Misfits (film)
Article Sources and Contributors
Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors
Article Licenses
Clark Gable
Clark Gable
Clark Gable
in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
William Clark GableFebruary 1, 1901Cadiz, Ohio, U.S.
November 16, 1960 (aged 59)Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Heart attack
Resting place
Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California, U.S.
Years active
Josephine Dillon (m. 1924–1930) (divorced)
Maria "Ria" Franklin Prentiss Lucas Langham (m. 1931–1939)
Carole Lombard (m. 1939–1942) (her death)
Sylvia Ashley (m. 1949–1952) (divorced)
Kay Williams (m. 1955–1960) (his death)
Judy Lewis, John Gable
William Gable
Adeline (née Hershelman)
William Clark Gable (February 1, 1901 – November 16, 1960) was an American film actor, nicknamed "The King
of Hollywood" in his heyday.[1] In 1999, the American Film Institute named Gable seventh among the greatest male
stars of all time.[2]
Gable's most famous role was Rhett Butler in the 1939 Civil War epic film Gone with the Wind, in which he starred
with Vivien Leigh. His performance earned him his third nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor; he won
for It Happened One Night (1934) and was also nominated for Mutiny on the Bounty (1935). Later performances
were in Run Silent, Run Deep, a submarine war film, and his final film, The Misfits (1961), which paired Gable with
Marilyn Monroe, also in her last screen appearance.
During his long film career, Gable appeared opposite some of the most popular actresses of the time. Joan Crawford,
who was his favorite actress to work with,[3] was partnered with Gable in eight films, Myrna Loy was with him
seven times, and he was paired with Jean Harlow in six productions. He also starred with Lana Turner in four
features, and with Norma Shearer in three. Gable was often named the top male star in the mid-30s, and was second
only to the top box-office draw of all, Shirley Temple.
Clark Gable
Early life
The [American]] actor Clark Gable was born in Cadiz, Ohio to William Henry "Bill" Gable, an oil-well driller,[3] [4]
and Adeline (née Hershelman). He was mistakenly listed as a female on his birth certificate. His original last name
was Goebel, but this was considered too German during World War I because of anti-German sentiment. Birth
registrations, school records and other documents contradict one another. "William" would have been in honor of his
father. "Clark" was the maiden name of his maternal grandmother. In childhood he was almost always called
"Clark"; some friends called him "Clarkie," "Billy," or "Gabe".[5]
When he was six months old, his sickly mother had him baptized Roman Catholic. She died when he was ten months
old, probably of an aggressive brain tumor. Following her death, Gable's father's family refused to raise him as a
Catholic, provoking enmity with his mother's side of the family. The dispute was resolved when his father's family
agreed to allow Gable to spend time with his mother's Catholic brother, Charles Hershelman, and his wife on their
farm in Vernon, Pennsylvania.
In April 1903, Gable's father Will married Jennie Dunlap, whose family came from the small neighboring town of
Hopedale. Gable was a tall shy child with a loud voice. After his father purchased some land and built a house, the
new family settled in. Jennie played the piano and gave her stepson lessons at home; later he took up brass
instruments. She raised Gable to be well-dressed and well-groomed; he stood out from the other kids. Gable was
very mechanically inclined and loved to strip down and repair cars with his father. At thirteen, he was the only boy
in the men's town band. Even though his father insisted on Gable doing "manly" things, like hunting and hard
physical work, Gable loved language. Among trusted company, he would recite Shakespeare, particularly the
sonnets. Will Gable did agree to buy a seventy-two volume set of The World's Greatest Literature to improve his
son's education, but claimed he never saw his son use it.[6] In 1917, when Gable was in high school, his father had
financial difficulties. Will decided to settle his debts and try his hand at farming and the family moved to Ravenna,
just outside of Akron. Gable had trouble settling down in the area. Despite his father's insistence that he work the
farm, Gable soon left to work in Akron's B.F. Goodrich tire factory.
At seventeen, Gable was inspired to be an actor after seeing the play The Bird of Paradise, but he was not able to
make a real start until he turned 21 and inherited money. By then, his stepmother Jennie had died and his father
moved to Tulsa to go back to the oil business. He toured in stock companies and worked the oil fields and as a horse
manager. Gable found work with several second-class theater companies and worked his way across the Midwest to
Portland, Oregon, where he found work as a necktie salesman in the Meier & Frank department store. While there,
he met actress Laura Hope Crews, who encouraged him to go back to the stage and into another theater company.
His acting coach was a theater manager in Portland, Oregon, Josephine Dillon (seventeen years his senior). Dillon
paid to have his teeth repaired and his hair styled. She guided him in building up his chronically undernourished
body, and taught him better body control and posture. She spent considerable time training his naturally high-pitched
voice, which Gable slowly managed to lower, and he gained better resonance and tone. As his speech habits
improved, Gable's facial expressions became more natural and convincing.[7] After the long period of rigorous
training, she eventually considered him ready to attempt a film career.
Stage and silent films
In 1924, with Dillon's financial aid, the two went to Hollywood, where she became his manager and first wife. He
changed his stage name from W. C. Gable to Clark Gable.[8] He found work as an extra in such silent films as Erich
von Stroheim's The Merry Widow (1925), The Plastic Age (1925), which starred Clara Bow, and Forbidden
Paradise, plus a series of two-reel comedies called The Pacemakers. He also appeared as a bit player in a series of
shorts. However, Gable was not offered any major roles and so he returned to the stage, becoming lifelong friends
with Lionel Barrymore, who in spite of his bawling Gable out for amateurish acting at first, urged Gable to pursue a
Clark Gable
career on stage.[9] During the 1927-28 theater season, Gable acted with the Laskin Brothers Stock Company in
Houston, where he played many roles, gained considerable experience and became a local matinee idol. Gable then
moved to New York and Dillon sought work for him on Broadway. He received good reviews in Machinal; "He's
young, vigorous and brutally masculine," said the Morning Telegraph.[10] The start of the Great Depression and the
beginning of talking pictures caused a cancellation of many plays in the 1929-30 season and acting work became
harder to get.
Early successes
In 1930, after his impressive appearance as the seething and desperate character Killer Mears in the Los Angeles
stage production of The Last Mile, Gable was offered a contract with MGM. His first role in a sound picture was as
the villain in a low-budget William Boyd western called The Painted Desert (1931). He received a lot of fan mail as
a result of his powerful voice and appearance; the studio took notice.
In 1930, Gable and Josephine Dillon were divorced. A few days later, he married Texas socialite Ria Franklin
Prentiss Lucas Langham. After moving to California, they were married again in 1931, possibly due to differences in
state legal requirements.
"His ears are too big and he looks like an ape," said Warner Bros. executive Darryl F. Zanuck about Clark Gable
after testing him for the lead in Warner's gangster drama Little Caesar (1931).[11] After several failed screen tests for
Barrymore and Zanuck, Gable was signed in 1930 by MGM's Irving Thalberg. He became a client of well-connected
agent Minna Wallis, sister of producer Hal Wallis and very close friend of Norma Shearer.
Gable's timing in arriving in Hollywood was excellent as MGM was looking to expand its stable of male stars and he
fit the bill. Gable then worked mainly in supporting roles, often as the villain. MGM's publicity manager Howard
Strickland developed Gable's studio image, playing up his he-man experiences and his 'lumberjack in evening
clothes' persona. To bolster his rocketing popularity, MGM frequently paired him with well-established female stars.
Joan Crawford asked for him as her co-star in Dance, Fools, Dance (1931). He built his fame and public visibility in
such movies as A Free Soul (1931), in which he played a gangster who shoved the character played by Norma
Shearer (Gable never played a supporting role again). The Hollywood Reporter wrote "A star in the making has been
made, one that, to our reckoning, will outdraw every other star... Never have we seen audiences work themselves
into such enthusiasm as when Clark Gable walks on the screen".[12] He followed that with Susan Lenox (Her Fall
and Rise) (1931) with Greta Garbo, and Possessed (1931), in which he and Joan Crawford (then married to Douglas
Fairbanks, Jr.) steamed up the screen with some of the passion they shared for decades to come in real life. Adela
Rogers St. John later dubbed the relationship as "the affair that nearly burned Hollywood down."[13] Louis B. Mayer
threatened to terminate both their contracts and for a while they kept apart and Gable shifted his attentions to Marion
Davies. On the other hand, Gable and Garbo disliked each other. She thought he was a wooden actor while he
considered her a snob.
Clark Gable
Rising star
Gable was considered for the role of Tarzan but lost out
to Johnny Weissmuller's better physique and superior
swimming prowess. However Gable's unshaven
lovemaking with bra-less Jean Harlow in Red Dust
(1932) soon made him MGM's most important male
star. After the hit Hold Your Man (1933), MGM
recognized the goldmine of the Gable-Harlow pairing,
putting them in two more films, China Seas (1935) and
Wife vs. Secretary (1936). An enormously popular
combination, on-screen and off-screen, Gable and Jean
Harlow made six films together, the most notable being
Red Dust (1932) and Saratoga (1937). Harlow died of
with Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night (1934)
kidney failure during production of Saratoga. Ninety
percent completed, the remaining scenes were filmed
with long shots or doubles; Gable would say that he felt as if he were "in the arms of a ghost".[14]
According to legend, Gable was lent to Columbia Pictures, then considered a second-rate operation, as punishment
for refusing roles; however, this has been refuted by more recent biographies. MGM did not have a project ready for
Gable and was paying him $2000 per week, under his contract, to do nothing. Studio head Louis B. Mayer lent him
to Columbia for $2500 per week, making a $500 per week profit.[5]
Gable was not the first choice to play the lead role of Peter Warne in It Happened One Night. Robert Montgomery
was originally offered the role, but he felt that the script was poor.[15] Filming began in a tense atmosphere,[5] but
both Gable and Frank Capra enjoyed making the movie.
A persistent legend has it that Gable had a profound effect on men's fashion, thanks to a scene in this movie. As he is
preparing for bed, he takes off his shirt to reveal that he is bare-chested. Sales of men's undershirts across the country
allegedly declined noticeably for a period following this movie.[16]
Gable won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his
1934 performance in the film. He returned to MGM a
bigger star than ever.[17]
The unpublished memoirs of animator Friz Freleng
mention that this was one of his favorite films. It has
been claimed that it helped inspire the cartoon character
Bugs Bunny. Four things in the film may have
coalesced to create Bugs: the personality of a minor
character, Oscar Shapely and his penchant for referring
to Gable's character as "Doc", an imaginary character
named "Bugs Dooley" that Gable's character uses to
frighten Shapely, and most of all, a scene in which
Clark Gable eats carrots while talking quickly with his
mouth full, as Bugs does.[18]
as Fletcher Christian in the trailer for Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
Gable also earned an Academy Award nomination when he portrayed Fletcher Christian in 1935's Mutiny on the
Bounty. Gable once said that this was his favorite film of his own, despite the fact that he did not get along with his
co-stars Charles Laughton and Franchot Tone.
Clark Gable
In the following years, he acted in a succession of enormously popular pictures, earning him the undisputed title of
"King of Hollywood" in 1938. The title 'King' was first offered by Spencer Tracy, probably in jest but soon Ed
Sullivan started a poll in his newspaper column and more than 20 million fans voted Gable 'King' and Myrna Loy
'Queen' of Hollywood. Though the honorific certainly helped his career, Gable grew tired of it and later stated, "This
'King' stuff is pure bullshit...I'm just a lucky slob from Ohio. I happened to be in the right place at the right time".[19]
Throughout most of the 1930s and the early 1940s, he was arguably the world's biggest movie star.
Gone with the Wind
Despite his reluctance to play the role, Gable is best known for his performance in Gone with the Wind (1939),
which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Carole Lombard may have been the first to
suggest that he play Rhett Butler (and she play Scarlett) when she bought him a copy of the bestseller, which he
refused to read.[20]
Gable was an almost immediate favorite for the role of
Rhett with both the public and producer David O. Selznick.
But since Selznick had no male stars under long-term
contracts, he needed to go through the process of
negotiating to borrow an actor from another studio. Gary
Cooper was Selznick's first choice.[21] When Cooper turned
down the role of Butler, he was quoted as saying, "Gone
With the Wind is going to be the biggest flop in Hollywood
history. I’m glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling flat on his
nose, not me."[22] By then, Selznick had become determined
to hire Gable, and set about finding a way to borrow him
from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Gable was wary of potentially
disappointing an audience that had decided that no one else
as Rhett Butler in the trailer for Gone with the Wind (1939)
could play the part. He later conceded, "I think I know now
how a fly must react after being caught in a spider's web."[23] Gone with the Wind was Gable's first film that was shot
in Technicolor. Also appearing in Gone With The Wind in the role of "Aunt Pittypat" was Laura Hope Crews, the
friend in Portland who had coaxed Gable back into the theater.
During the filming of the movie, Vivien Leigh complained about Gable's bad breath, which was apparently caused
Gable's most famous line in any film was his closing,
by his false teeth. Otherwise, they got along quite well.
"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn".
Gable was also reportedly friends with the African-American actress Hattie McDaniel, and he even slipped her a real
alcoholic drink during the scene they were supposed to be celebrating the birth of Scarlett and Rhett's daughter.
Gable also tried to boycott the premier of Gone with the Wind in Atlanta, Georgia, because McDaniel was not
allowed to attend it, and he only went after she pleaded with him to go. Gable remained friends with McDaniel, and
he always attended her Hollywood parties, especially when she was raising funds for World War II.
Gable did not want to shed tears for the scene after Scarlett (Leigh) has a miscarriage. Olivia de Havilland made him
cry, later commenting, "... Oh, he would not do it. He would not! Victor (Fleming) tried everything with him. He
tried to attack him on a professional level. We had done it without him weeping several times and then we had one
last try. I said, "You can do it, I know you can do it and you will be wonderful ..." Well, by heaven, just before the
cameras rolled, you could see the tears come up at his eyes and he played the scene unforgettably well. He put his
whole heart into it."[26]
Decades later, Gable said that whenever his career would start to fade, a re-release of Gone with the Wind would
soon revive his popularity, and he continued as a top leading actor for the rest of his life. In addition, Gable was one
of the few actors to play the lead in three films that won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Clark Gable
Gone with the Wind was given theatrical re-releases in 1947, 1954, 1961, 1967 (in a widescreen version),[27] 1971,
1989, and 1998.
Personal life
Marriage to Carole Lombard
Gable's marriage in 1939 to his third wife, the successful American actress Carole Lombard, was the happiest period
of his personal life. As an independent actress, her annual income exceeded his studio salary until Gone with the
Wind brought them to rough parity.[28] From their marriage, she gained personal stability that she had lacked, and he
thrived being around her with her youthful, charming, and frank personality. Lombard liked to go hunting and
fishing with Gable and with his associates, and he became more sociable around her. Most times, she tolerated his
philandering ways. He one or more times stated, "You can trust that little screwball with your life or your hopes or
your weaknesses, and she wouldn't even know how to think about letting you down."[29] The Gables purchased a
ranch at Encino, California, and once Gable had become accustomed to Lombard's often blunt way of expressing
herself, they found that they had much in common, despite Gable being a Conservative Republican and Lombard a
Liberal Democrat. Their efforts to have a baby were unsuccessful. Lombard got pregnant once in 1940, but she
suffered a miscarriage.
On January 16, 1942, Lombard was a passenger on Trans-World Airlines Flight 3. She had just finished her 57th
movie, To Be or Not to Be, and was on her way home from a successful war bond selling tour when the flight's DC-3
airliner crashed into a mountain near Las Vegas, Nevada, killing all aboard, including Lombard, her mother, and her
MGM staff publicist Otto Winkler (who had been the best man at Gable's wedding to Lombard). Gable flew to the
crash site, and he saw the forest fire that had been ignited by the burning airliner. Lombard was declared to be the
first war-related American female casualty of World War II, and Gable received a personal condolence note from
President Roosevelt. The Civil Aeronautics Board investigation into the crash concluded that "pilot error" was its
Gable returned to his and Lombard's empty house, and a month later, he returned to the studio to work with Lana
Turner in the movie, Somewhere I'll Find You. Gable was devastated by the tragic death of his wife for many months
afterwards, and he began to drink heavily. However, he carried out his performances professionally on the movie
sets. Gable was seen to break down for the first time in public when Lombard's funeral request note was given to
him. For a while, Joan Crawford returned to his side to offer her support and friendship.
Gable resided for the rest of his life at his and Lombard's house in Encino. He acted in twenty-seven more movies,
and he re-married twice. "But he was never the same," said Esther Williams. "His heart sank a bit."[31]
Clark Gable
World War II
For details of Gable's combat missions, see RAF
In 1942, following Lombard's death, Gable joined the U.S.
Army Air Corps. Before her death, Lombard had suggested
that Gable enlist as part of the war effort, but MGM was
obviously reluctant to let him go, and until her death he
resisted the suggestion. Gable made a public statement
after Lombard's death that prompted Commanding General
of the Army Air Forces Henry H. Arnold to offer Gable a
"special assignment" in aerial gunnery. Gable had earlier
expressed an interest in officer candidate school (OCS),
Clark Gable with 8th AF B-17 in Britain, 1943
but he enlisted on August 12, 1942, with the intention of
becoming an enlisted gunner on an air crew. MGM
arranged for his studio friend, cinematographer Andrew McIntyre, to enlist with and accompany him through
However, shortly after his enlistment, he and McIntyre were sent to Miami Beach, Florida, where they entered
USAAF OCS Class 42-E on August 17, 1942. Both completed training on October 28, 1942, commissioned as
second lieutenants. His class of 2,600 fellow students (of which he ranked 700th in class standing) selected Gable as
their graduation speaker, at which General Arnold presented them their commissions. Arnold then informed Gable of
his special assignment, to make a recruiting film in combat with the Eighth Air Force to recruit gunners. Gable and
McIntyre were immediately sent to Flexible Gunnery School at Tyndall Field, Florida, followed by a photography
course at Fort George Wright, Washington, and promoted to first lieutenants upon completion.[32]
Gable reported to Biggs Army Air Base on January 27, 1943, to train with and accompany the 351st Bomb Group to
England as head of a six-man motion picture unit. In addition to McIntyre, he recruited screenwriter John Lee
Mahin; camera operators Sgts. Mario Toti and Robert Boles; and sound man Lt.Howard Voss to complete his crew.
Gable was promoted to captain while with the 351st at Pueblo AAB, Colorado, for rank commensurate with his
position as a unit commander. (As first lieutenants, he and McIntyre had equal seniority.)[32]
Gable spent most of the war in the United Kingdom at RAF Polebrook with the 351st. Gable flew five combat
missions, including one to Germany, as an observer-gunner in B-17 Flying Fortresses between May 4 and September
23, 1943, earning the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his efforts. During one of the missions,
Gable's aircraft was damaged by flak and attacked by fighters, which knocked out one of the engines and shot up the
stabilizer. In the raid on Germany, one crewman was killed and two others were wounded, and flak went through
Gable's boot and narrowly missed his head. When word of this reached MGM, studio executives began to badger the
U.S. Army Air Corps to reassign their valuable screen property to non-combat duty. In November 1943, he returned
to the United States to edit the film, only to find that the personnel shortage of aerial gunners had already been
rectified. He was allowed to complete the film anyway, joining the 1st Motion Picture Unit in Hollywood.
In May 1944, Gable was promoted to major. He hoped for another combat assignment but, when D-Day came and
passed in June without further orders, he requested and was granted a discharge. His discharge papers were signed by
a Captain and president-to-be named Ronald Reagan. He completed editing of the film, Combat America, in
September 1944, providing the narration himself and making use of numerous interviews with enlisted gunners as
focus of the film.
Adolf Hitler esteemed Gable above all other actors; during the Second World War, he offered a sizable reward to
anyone who could capture and bring Gable to him unscathed.[33]
Clark Gable
After World War II
Immediately after his discharge from the service, Gable
returned to his ranch and rested. He resumed a pre-war
relationship with Virginia Grey and dated other starlets. He
introduced his golf caddie Robert Wagner to MGM
casting. Gable's first movie after World War II was the
1945 production of Adventure, with his ill-matched co-star
Greer Garson. It was a critical and commercial failure
despite the famous teaser tagline "Gable's back and
Garson's got him". After this film, Gable's career as a top
star in Hollywood abruptly ended.
After Joan Crawford's third divorce, she and Gable
resumed their affair and lived together for a brief time.
Gable was acclaimed for his performance in The Hucksters
(1947), a satire of post-war Madison Avenue corruption and immorality. A very public and brief romance with
Paulette Goddard occurred after that. In 1949, Gable married Sylvia Ashley, a British divorcée and the widow of
Douglas Fairbanks. The relationship was profoundly unsuccessful; they divorced in 1952. Soon followed Never Let
Me Go (1953), opposite Gene Tierney. Tierney was a favorite of Gable and he was very disappointed when she was
replaced in Mogambo (due to her mental health problems) by Grace Kelly.[34] Mogambo (1953), directed by John
A Mercedes 300SL Gullwing once belonging to Gable.
Ford, was a Technicolor remake of his earlier film Red Dust, which had been an even greater success. Gable's
on-location affair with Grace Kelly sputtered out after filming was completed.
Gable became increasingly unhappy with what he considered mediocre roles offered him by MGM, while the studio
regarded his salary as excessive. Studio head Louis B. Mayer was fired in 1951 amid slumping Hollywood
production and revenue, due primarily to the rising popularity of television. Studio chiefs struggled to cut costs.
Many MGM stars were fired or not renewed, including Greer Garson and Judy Garland. In 1953, Gable refused to
renew his contract, and began to work independently. His first two films were Soldier of Fortune and The Tall Men,
both profitable though only modest successes. In 1955, Gable married his fifth wife, Kay Spreckels (née Kathleen
Williams), a thrice-married former fashion model and actress who had previously been married to sugar-refining heir
Adolph B. Spreckels Jr.
In 1955, Gable formed a production company with Jane Russell and her husband Bob Waterfield, and they produced
The King and Four Queens, Gable's one and only production. He found producing and acting to be too taxing on his
health, and he was beginning to manifest a noticeable tremor particularly in long takes. His next project was Band of
Angels, with relative newcomer Sidney Poitier and Yvonne De Carlo; it was a total disaster. Newsweek said, "Here is
a movie so bad that it must be seen to be disbelieved."[35] Next he paired with Doris Day in Teacher's Pet, shot in
black and white to better hide his aging face and overweight body. The film was good enough to bring Gable more
film offers, including Run Silent, Run Deep, with co-star and producer Burt Lancaster, which featured his first on
screen death since 1937, and which garnered good reviews. Gable started to receive television offers but rejected
them outright, even though some of his peers, like his old flame Loretta Young, were flourishing in the new medium.
At 57, Gable finally acknowledged, "Now it's time I acted my age".[36] His next two films were light comedies for
Paramount: But Not for Me with Carroll Baker and It Started in Naples with Sophia Loren (his last film in color).
Both received poor reviews and flopped at the box office.
Gable's last film was The Misfits, written by Arthur Miller, directed by John Huston, and co-starring Marilyn
Monroe, Eli Wallach, and Montgomery Clift. This was also the final film completed by Monroe. Many critics regard
Gable's performance to be his finest, and Gable, after seeing the rough cuts, agreed.[37]
Clark Gable
Gable was politically conservative, though he never publicly spoke about politics. His third wife Carole Lombard
was an activist liberal Democrat, and she cajoled him into supporting Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt
and the New Deal. In 1944, he became an early member of the conservative Motion Picture Alliance for the
Preservation of American Ideals, alongside Ronald Reagan, John Wayne, Gary Cooper, and other conservative
actors and filmmakers. In February 1952, he attended a televised rally in New York where he enthusiastically urged
General Dwight D. Eisenhower to run for President. This was when Eisenhower was still being sought by both
parties as their candidate. Despite having suffered a severe coronary thrombosis, Gable still managed to vote by post
in the 1960 presidential election. It is believed that he probably voted for the Republican candidate, and Eisenhower's
vice-president, Richard Nixon.[38]
Gable had a daughter, Judy Lewis,[39] the result of an affair with actress Loretta Young that began on the set of The
Call of the Wild in 1934. In an elaborate scheme, Young took an extended vacation and went to Europe to hide the
fact that she was pregnant. After a few months, she came back to California and gave birth to their child in Venice.
Nineteen months after the birth, Loretta claimed to have adopted Judy. This ploy became less believable when the
child grew up to look like her mother and Clark Gable. Judy had Gable's big ears that stuck out, as well as his eyes
and smile.
According to Lewis, Gable visited her home once, but he didn't tell her that he was her father. Neither Gable nor
Young would ever publicly acknowledge their daughter's real parentage, but this fact was so widely known that, in
Lewis' autobiography Uncommon Knowledge, she wrote that she was shocked to learn of it from other children at
school. Loretta Young never officially acknowledged the fact, which she said would be the same as admitting to a
"venial sin." However, she finally gave her biographer permission to include it only on the condition that the book
not be published until after her death.
On March 20, 1961, Kay Gable gave birth to Gable's son, John Clark Gable, born four months after Clark's death.
Gable died in Los Angeles, California on November 16, 1960, the result of a coronary thrombosis ten days after
suffering a severe heart attack. There was much speculation that Gable's physically demanding role in The Misfits
contributed to his sudden death soon after filming was completed. In an interview with Louella Parsons, published
soon after Gable's death, Kay Gable was quoted as saying "It wasn't the physical exertion that killed him. It was the
horrible tension, the eternal waiting, waiting, waiting. He waited around forever, for everybody. He'd get so angry
that he'd just go ahead and do anything to keep occupied."[40] Monroe said that she and Kay had become close
during the filming and would refer to Clark as "Our Man",[3] while Arthur Miller, observing Gable on location, noted
that "no hint of affront ever showed on his face."
Others have blamed Gable's crash diet before filming began. The 6'1" (182,5 cm) Gable weighed about 190 pounds
(86.2 kg) at the time of Gone with the Wind, but by his late 50s, he weighed 230 pounds (104.3 kg). To get in shape
for The Misfits, he dropped to 195 lbs (88 kg). In addition, Gable was in poor health from years of heavy smoking
(three packs of unfiltered cigarettes a day over thirty years, as well as cigars and at least two bowlfuls of pipe
tobacco a day). Until the late 1950s he had been a heavy drinker. His preferred drink was whiskey.
Gable is interred in The Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California beside Carole
Lombard. The pallbearers at his funeral were Spencer Tracy, James Stewart, Robert Taylor, Howard Strickling, Ray
Hommes, Al Menasco, E.J. Mannix and Ernie Dunlevie.
In a photo essay of Hollywood film stars, Life Magazine called Gable: "All man... and then some."
Clark Gable
Doris Day summed up Gable's unique personality, "He was as masculine as any man I've ever known, and as much a
little boy as a grown man could be – it was this combination that had such a devastating effect on women."[41]
Longtime friend, eight time co-star and on-again, off-again romance Joan Crawford concurred, stating on David
Frost's TV show in 1970, "he was a king wherever he went. He walked like one, he behaved like one, and he was the
most masculine man that I have ever met in my life."
Actor Robert Ryan, in character as Nathan Stark in the 1955 film: "The Tall Men" paid Gable what is probably his
best tribute: "He's what every boy thinks he's going to be when he grows up, and wishes he had been when he's an
old man."
Robert Taylor said Gable "was a great, great guy and certainly one of the great stars of all times, if not the greatest. I
think that I sincerely doubt that there will ever be another like Clark Gable, he was one of a kind."[42]
Gable is known to have appeared as an extra in 13 films between 1924 and 1930. He then appeared in a total of 67
theatrically released motion pictures, as himself in 17 "short subject" films, and he narrated and appeared in a World
War II propaganda film entitled Combat America, produced by the United States Army Air Forces.
In popular culture
Warner Bros. cartoons sometimes caricatured Gable. Examples include Have You Got Any Castles? (in which his
face appears seven times from inside the novel The House of the Seven Gables), The Coo-Coo Nut Grove (in which
his ears flap on their own), Hollywood Steps Out (in which he follows an enigmatic woman), and Cats Don't Dance
in which he appears on a billboard promotion for Gone With The Wind.
In the film Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937) 15-year-old Judy Garland sings "You Made Me Love You" while
looking at a composite picture of Clark Gable. The opening lines are: "Dear Mr. Gable, I am writing this to you, and
I hope that you will read it so you'll know, my heart beats like a hammer, and I stutter and I stammer, every time I
see you at the picture show, I guess I'm just another fan of yours, and I thought I'd write and tell you so. You made
me love you, I didn't want to do it, I didn't want to do it..."
Bugs Bunny's nonchalant carrot-chewing standing position, as explained by Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, and Bob
Clampett, originated in a scene in the film It Happened One Night, in which Clark Gable's character leans against a
fence, eating carrots rapidly and talking with his mouth full to Claudette Colbert's character. This scene was well
known while the film was popular, and viewers at the time likely recognized Bugs Bunny's behavior as satire.
The Postal Service's album Give Up (2003) features a track entitled "Clark Gable."
In the 1999 pop song Girl on TV by LFO he is referenced in the song:
I wished for you on a falling star wondering where you are do I ever cross your mind in the warm sunshine? She's
from the city of angels like Bette Davis, James Dean, and Gable.
Clark Gable
James Brolin in Gable and Lombard (1976)
Gene Daily in The Rocketeer (1991)
Bruce Hughes and Shayne Greenman in Blonde (2001)
Charles Unwin in Lucy (2003)
Larry Pennell in Marilyn: The Untold Story (1980)
Edward Winter in Moviola: The Scarlett O'Hara War (1980)
Boyd Holister in Grace Kelly (1983)
Gary Wayne in Malice in Wonderland (1985)
• Harris, Warren G. (2002). Clark Gable: A Biography. New York: Harmony. ISBN 0-609-60495-3.
• Lewis, Judy. Uncommon Knowledge (book by Gable's daughter with Loretta Young). (Pocket Books/Simon &
Schuster 1994), ISBN 0-671-70019-7
• Spicer, Chrystopher (2002). Clark Gable: Biography, Filmography, Bibliography. Jefferson, North Carolina:
McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-7864–1124-4.
• Clark Gable in the 8th Air Force, Air Power History, Spring 1999 [43]
[1] Obituary Variety, November 23, 1960, page 71.
[2] "America's Greatest Legends" (http:/ / connect. afi. com/ site/ DocServer/ stars50. pdf?docID=262). American Film Institute. . Retrieved July
29, 2009.
[3] Spicer, Chrystopher (2002). Clark Gable: Biography, Filmography, Bibliography. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company.
ISBN 0-7864-1124-4.
[4] Van Neste, Dan (1999). "Clark Gable Reconstructed Birthhome: Fit For A King" (http:/ / www. classicimages. com/ 1999/ april99/
clarkgable. html). Classic Images. . Retrieved 2008-04-03.
[5] Harris, Warren G. (2002). Clark Gable: A Biography. New York: Harmony. ISBN 0609604953.
[6] Harris, p.7.
[7] Harris, p.24.
[8] Harris, p.29.
[9] Harris, p.36.
[10] Harris, p.49.
[11] Turner Classic Movies (2006-09-01). Leading Men: The 50 Most Unforgettable Actors of the Studio Era. Chronicle Books.
ISBN 0811854671.
[12] Harris, p.80.
[13] Harris, p.82.
[14] Harris, p. 179.
[15] Kotsabilas-Davis, James; Myrna Loy (1998-10-31). Myrna Loy: Being and Becoming. Primus, Donald I Fine Inc. pp. 94.
ISBN 1556111010.
[16] "The Shirt Off His Back" (http:/ / www. snopes. com/ movies/ actors/ gable1. asp). . Retrieved 2008-04-03.
[17] Gable's Oscar recently drew a top bid of $607,500 from Steven Spielberg, who promptly donated the statuette to the Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences. (Colbert's Oscar for the same film was offered for auction by Christie's on June 9, 1997, but no bids were made for
[18] "It Happened One Night" (http:/ / www. filmsite. org/ itha. html). . Retrieved 2008-04-03.
[19] Harris, p. 185.
[20] Harris, p.164.
[21] Selznick, David O. (2000). Memo from David O. Selznick. New York: Modern Library. pp. 172–173. ISBN 0-375-75531-4.
[22] Donnelley, Paul (2003-06-01). Fade To Black: A Book Of Movie Obituaries. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0711995125.
[23] Harris, p.189.
[24] Stallings, Penny; Mandelbaum, Howard (1981). Flesh and Fantasy. New York: Bell Publishing Co.. ISBN 0517339684.
[25] Although legend persists that the Hays Office fined Selznick $5,000 for using the word "damn." In fact, the Motion Picture Association
board passed an amendment to the Production Code on November 1, 1939, that forbade use of the words "hell" or "damn" except when their
use "shall be essential and required for portrayal, in proper historical context, of any scene or dialogue based upon historical fact or folklore …
Clark Gable
or a quotation from a literary work, provided that no such use shall be permitted which is intrinsically objectionable or offends good taste."
With that amendment, the Production Code Administration had no further objection to Rhett's closing line. Leonard J. Leff and Jerold L.
Simmons, The Dame in the Kimono: Hollywood, Censorship, and the Production Code, pp. 107-108.
[26] Breznican, Anthony (2004-11-14). "Legends swirl around `Gone With the Wind' 65 years later" (http:/ / www. highbeam. com/ doc/
1P2-7182393. html) (fee required). Deseret Morning News (Associated Press). . Retrieved 2008-04-03.
[27] The American Widescreen Museum, Gone With the Wind (http:/ / www. widescreenmuseum. com/ special/ gwtw. htm).
[28] Harris, p. 224.
[29] Harris, p.182.
[30] Harris, pp. 250-251.
[31] Williams, Esther; Diehl, Digby (1999). The Million Dollar Mermaid. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0684852845.
[32] Argoratus, Steven. "Clark Gable in the 8th Air Force" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20090806191102/ http:/ / geocities. com/ cactus_st/
article/ article143. html). Air Power History, Spring 1999. Centenniel Tribute to Clark Gable. Archived from the original (http:/ / www.
geocities. com/ cactus_st/ article/ article143. html) on 2009-08-06. . Retrieved 12 August 2008.
[33] Harris, p. 268.
[34] Tierney and Herskowitz (1978) Wyden Books, Self- Portrait p.150-151
[35] Harris, p. 351.
[36] Harris, p. 361.
[37] Miller, Arthur (1987). Timebends. New York: Grove Press. p. 485. ISBN 0-8021-0015-5.
[38] Harris, Warren G. Clark Gable: A Biography (2003)
[39] Official site of Judy Lewis (http:/ / judy--lewis. com/ )
[40] Harris, pp 378-379
[41] Harris, p. 352.
[42] UPI, Year In Review "1960 Year In Review: Casey Stengel retires, Clark Gable Dies" (http:/ / www. upi. com/ Audio/ Year_in_Review/
Events-of-1960/ Casey-Stengel-retires,-Clark-Gable-Dies/ 12295509435928-6/ ). . Retrieved May 19, 2009.
[43] http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20091028004440/ http:/ / www. geocities. com/ cactus_st/ article/ article143. html
External links
Clark Gable ( at the Internet Broadway Database
Clark Gable ( at the Internet Movie Database
Clark Gable ( at Allmovie
Clark Gable ( at the TCM Movie Database
Clark Gable ( at
Snopes on the false rumor of Gable killing a pedestrian while he was driving drunk (
• Combat America at the Internet Archive:
• Part 1 (
• Part 2 (
• Part 3 (
• Part 4 (
• "Clark Gable" ( Find a Grave. Retrieved
• Clark Gable: Biographie, filmographie, galerie, etc ( (French)
• Official Site of daughter Judy Lewis with extensive Clark Gable photo gallery (
Clark Gable filmography
Clark Gable filmography
Films as an extra
During the period 1924–1930 Clark Gable established himself as a major stage actor. Also during this period, Gable
supplemented his income by working as an extra in motion pictures. Below is a listing of the films that Gable is
known or believe to have appeared in as an extra.
White Man
Forbidden Paradise
The Pacemakers
The Merry Kiddo
What Price Gloria?
The Merry Widow
The Plastic Age
North Star
10 Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
11 The Johnstown Flood
12 One Minute to Play
13 Du Barry, Woman of Passion
Main filmography
Excluding his work as an extra, short films, and war time documentaries, Clark Gable appeared in a total of 67
theatrically released motion pictures. These films are listed below with the names of the characters Gable played, his
leading ladies, directors, and co-stars. Except where noted, all of Gable's films were produced by
Clark Gable filmography
1 The Painted
Rance Brett
2 The Easiest Way
Nick Feliki,
Anita Page
Jake Luva
Louis J. Blanco
Fay Wray
5 The Secret Six
Carl Luckner
Jean Harlow
George W.
With Wallace Beery, Johnny Mack Brown. The first of six films
Gable made with Harlow.
6 Laughing Sinners
Carl Loomis
With Neil Hamilton.
7 A Free Soul
Ace Wilfong,
With Leslie Howard, Lionel Barrymore.
8 Night Nurse
Nick, the
William A.
Warren "Rid"
Greta Garbo
Robert Z.
With Jean Hersholt, Alan Hale.
3 Dance, Fools,
4 The Finger
9 Sporting Blood
10 Susan Lenox (Her Rodney Spencer
Fall and Rise)
Other players / Notes
A Pathé Production. With William Boyd, William Farnum, J.
Farrell MacDonald.
Jack Conway With Constance Bennett, Adolphe Menjou, Robert Montgomery.
With Cliff Edwards. The first of eight films Gable did with
John Francis With Richard Barthelmess, Regis Toomey.
A Warner Bros. Production. With Ben Lyon, Joan Blondell.
Gable's first starring role.
11 Possessed[3]
Mark Whitney
With Wallace Ford, Marjorie White.
12 Hell Divers
CPO Steve
George Hill
With Wallace Beery, Conrad Nagel.
1932 13 Polly of the
Reverend John
14 Red Dust[4]
Dennis Carson
Jean Harlow
Mary Astor
15 Strange Interlude
16 No Man of Her
1933 17 The White
Afred Santell With C. Aubrey Smith.
With Gene Raymond, Donald Crisp.
Dr. Ned Darrell
Robert Z.
Based on the play by Eugene O'Neill. This is the first film where
Gable sports a moustache.
Babe Stewart
A Paramount Picture. With Dorothy Mackaill. Gable's only film
with Lombard, whom he later married.
With Louis Stone
With Stuart Erwin.
Giovanni Severi Helen Hayes
18 Hold Your Man
Eddie Hall
Jean Harlow
Sam Wood
19 Night Flight[6]
Helen Hayes
With John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Robert Montgomery,
Myrna Loy.
20 Dancing Lady
Patch Gallagher
Robert Z.
With Franchot Tone, Robert Benchley, Fred Astaire , Nelson
Eddy, and the Three Stooges.
Clark Gable filmography
1934 21 It Happened One
[8] [9]
Peter Warne
Frank Capra
A Columbia Picture. With Walter Connolly, Alan Hale. Generally
regarded as one of the all-time great romantic comedies. Gable and
Colbert won Academy Awards for their performances.
Dr. George
Myrna Loy
With Jean Hersholt, Otto Kruger.
Edward J.
Myrna Loy
W.S. Van
With William Powell.
24 Chained[11]
Michael "Mike"
With Otto Kruger, Stuart Erwin.
25 Forsaking All
W.S. Van
With Robert Montgomery, Charles Butterworth, Billie Burke.
James "Jim"
Robert Z.
With Stuart Erwin, Billie Burke.
27 The Call of the
Jack Thornton
William A.
A 20th Century Production, released through United Artists. With
Jack Oakie, Reginald Owen. Loosey adapted from the novel by
Jack London.
28 China Seas
Captain Alan
Jean Harlow
Tay Garnett
With Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone, C. Aubrey Smith, Robert
Frank Lloyd
With Charles Laughton, Franchot Tone, Donald Crisp, Henry
Stephenson. One of Gable's most famous films. He received an
Academy Award nomination for his performance.
Based on
the novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall.
22 Men in White
23 Manhattan
1935 26 After Office
29 Mutiny on the
[13] [14]
1936 30 Wife vs. Secretary
Lt. Fletcher
Van Stanhope
Jean Harlow
Myrna Loy
31 San Francisco
With May Robson, James Stewart.
W.S. Van
With Spencer Tracy, Jack Holt, Shirley Ross. Another of Gable's
biggest hits.
Blackie Norton
32 Cain and Mabel
Larry Cain
33 Love on the Run
Michael "Mike"
W.S. Van
Charles Stewart
Myrna Loy
John M.
Duke Bradley
Jim Lane
Myrna Loy
"Chris" Hunter
Myrna Loy
1937 34 Parnell
35 Saratoga
1938 36 Test Pilot [19]
37 Too Hot to
Lloyd Bacon A Cosmopolitan Production released by Warner Bros..
With Franchot Tone, Reginald Owen.
With Edna May Oliver. Generally regarded as Gable's worst
Jack Conway With Lionel Barrymore, Frank Morgan. Gable's last film with
With Spencer Tracy, Lionel Barrymore.
Jack Conway With Walter Connolly, Walter Pidgeon. Gable's last film with Loy.
Clark Gable filmography
1939 38 Idiot's Delight
39 Gone with the
[20] [21]
Harry Van
Rhett Butler
Vivien Leigh
Olivia de
Based on the play by Robert Sherwood. Gable performs Irving
Berlin's "Puttin' On the Ritz."
A Selznick-International / MGM Production. Filmed in
Technicolor. With Vivien Leigh, Leslie Howard, Hattie McDaniel.
Based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell. One of the best-loved
movies of all time. Gable received an Academy Award nomination
for what is generally regarded as his most famous performance.
André Verne
With Ian Hunter, Peter Lorre, Paul Lukas. Gable's last film with
Big John
With Spencer Tracy, Frank Morgan, Lionel Atwill.
40 Strange Cargo
41 Boom Town
Other players / Notes
42 Comrade X
McKinley B.
"Mac" Thompson
43 They Met in
Gerald Meldrick
With Peter Lorre, Reginald Owen.
44 Honky Tonk
"Candy" Johnson
Lana Turner
With Frank Morgan, Marjorie Main, Albert Dekker. Gable's first
film with Turner.
45 Somewhere I'll
Find You
46 Adventure
47 The Hucksters
King Vidor With Oscar Homolka.
Jonathan "Jonny"
Lana Turner
With Robert Sterling, Reginald Owen. Gable's last film before
enlisting in the Army Air Corps to serve in combat during WWII.
Harry Patterson
With Joan Blondell and Thomas Mitchell. Gable's first post-WWII
film and the one with the now classic tag line, "Gable's back and
Garson's Got Him!"
Victor Albee
With Sydney Greenstreet, Adolphe Menjou, Keenan Wynn,
Edward Arnold.
With John Hodiak.
48 Homecoming
Col. Ulysses Delby Lana Turner
"Lee" Johnson
49 Command
Brig. Gen. K.C.
'Casey' Dennis
50 Any Number Can
Charley Enley
Sam Wood With Walter Pidgeon, Van Johnson, Brian Donlevy, Charles
Bickford, John Hodiak, Edward Arnold, Marshall Thompson.
With Wendell Corey, Audrey Totter, Frank Morgan.
Clark Gable filmography
Steve Fisk
Mike Brannan
With Adolphe Menjou, Will Geer, Roland Winters.
Flint Mitchell
María Elena
Filmed in Technicolor. With John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban,
Adolphe Menjou, Jack Holt.
With Fred MacMurray, Dorothy McGuire, Howard Keel. Gable,
Esther Williams, and Elizabeth Taylor made guest appearances in
this film.
1950 51 Key to the City
52 To Please a Lady
1951 53 Across the Wide
54 Callaway Went
Other players / Notes
With Frank Morgan,
James Gleason, Marilyn Maxwell, and
Raymond Burr.
1952 55 Lone Star
Devereaux Burke
With Broderick Crawford.
1953 56 Never Let Me
Philip Sutherland
With Richard Haydn.
57 Mogambo[26]
Victor Marswell
John Ford
Filmed in Technicolor on location in Africa. With Donald Sinden.
Grace Kelly
1954 58 Betrayed
Col. Pieter
Lana Turner
With Victor Mature, Louis Calhern. Gable's last film under his
MGM contract.
1955 59 Soldier of
Hank Lee
A 20th Century-Fox Production. With Michael Rennie, Gene
Barry. Filmed in Cinemascope and Deluxe color. Gable's first
wide-screen film.
60 The Tall Men
Colonel Ben
Jane Russell
A 20th Century-Fox Production. With Robert Ryan, Cameron
Mitchell. Filmed in Cinemascope and Deluxe color.
1956 61 The King and
Four Queens
Dan Kehoe
A Russ-Feild-Gabco Production, released through United Artists.
With Jo Van Fleet, Jean Willes, Barbara Nichols. Filmed in
Cinemascope and Deluxe color. Gable's only attempt at producing
one of his films.
1957 62 Band of Angels
Hamish Bond
Yvonne de
A Warner Bros. Production. With Sidney Poitier, Efrem Zimbalist,
Jr., Patric Knowles. Filmed in WarnerColor.
1958 63 Run Silent Run
Cmdr. "Rich"
A Hecht-Hill-Lancaster Production, released through United
Artists. With Burt Lancaster, Jack Warden, Don Rickles.
Doris Day
A Paramount Production. With Gig Young, Nick Adams. Filmed
in VistaVision.
A Paramount Production. With Lee J. Cobb. Filmed in
64 Teacher's Pet
1959 65 But Not for Me
Russell "Russ"
Mamie Van
Lilli Palmer