Jane Alice Gable (Peters) (1908 - 1942) MP

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Fort Wayne, Allen, Indiana, United States
Death: Died in Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, United States
Cause of death: plane crash
Occupation: Actress
Managed by: Anne Kathryn Phillips
Last Updated:
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About Jane Alice Gable (Peters)

Blond and vivacious Carole Lombard was plucked off the streets of Hollywood as a teenager and put in her first movie. She was sassy as well as beautiful and comedy became her forte. In the 1930s she helped pull America through the Depression with a string of screwball comedies. Clark Gable who became her husband said he saw Lombard in My Man Godfrey and realized he loved her. She is listed as one of the American Film Institute's greatest stars of all time and was the highest-paid star in Hollywood in the late 1930s, earning around US$500,000 per year (more than five times the salary of the US President). Lombard's career was cut short when she died at the age of 33 in the crash of TWA Flight 3.

Lombard was born Jane Alice Peters in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Her parents were Frederick C. Peters and Elizabeth Knight. Her paternal grandfather, John Claus Peters, was the son of German immigrants, Claus Peters and Caroline Catherine Eberlin.[citation needed] On her mother's side, she was a descendant of Thomas Hastings who came from the East Anglia region of England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1634. Lombard was the youngest of three children, having two older brothers, Fred C. Peters Jr. and Stuart Peters. She spent her early childhood in a sprawling, two-story house at 704 Rockhill Street in Fort Wayne, near the St. Mary's River. Her father had been injured during a work related accident and was left with constant headaches which caused him to burst out in paroxysms of anger which disturbed the family. Lombard's parents divorced and her mother took the three children to Los Angeles in 1914, where Lombard attended Virgil Jr. High School and then Fairfax High School.

After studying acting and dancing as a child, she made her screen debut as a 13-year-old tomboy in A Perfect Crime (1921); legend has it that the actress was cast in the role after the film's director, Allan Dwan, saw her playing baseball in the street.

She was elected "May Queen" in 1924. After graduating from junior high school, she appeared in the film Dick Turpin (1925) under the stage name Carol (after 1930, Carole) Lombard. She appeared in more than 20 silent films during the 1920s, mostly in bit roles or as a supporting player in several Mack Sennett-produced comedy shorts. She quit school to pursue acting full-time, but received her GED from Fairfax in 1927.

In 1930 she signed a seven-year contract with Paramount and was occasionally afforded the opportunity to display her comic skills in such films as Fast and Loose (1930), It Pays to Advertise (1931), and Man of the World (1931). It was also during this period that Lombard appeared in No Man of Her Own (1932), her only film with future husband Clark Gable (married 1939).

Lombard's big break finally came with Twentieth Century (1934), in which she costarred with John Barrymore in what many regard as the prototypical film of the screwball-comedy genre. The film established Lombard as one of the leading comic actresses of the 1930s and served as a showcase for her unique dichotomous persona of sophisticated glamour and earthy audaciousness. It was the first of four such comedies for which Lombard remains best known, the others being My Man Godfrey (1936), a high-society farce in which Lombard (in her only Oscar-nominated performance) costarred with her ex-husband, William Powell; Nothing Sacred (1937), which featured Lombard as a woman misdiagnosed with a fatal illness and Fredric March as the unscrupulous reporter who tries to exploit her story; and To Be or Not to Be (1942), an anti-Nazi satire starring Lombard and Jack Benny as leaders of a Polish theatrical troupe.

Although remembered primarily for her comedic skills, Lombard was also a highly capable dramatic actress, as evidenced by her performances as a noble and selfless nurse in Vigil in the Night (1940) and as a waitress mired in a deceitful mail-order romance in They Knew What They Wanted (1940). Lombard's other well-regarded films of the period include the melodrama In Name Only (1939), in which she appeared opposite Cary Grant; the comedy-drama Made for Each Other (1939), costarring James Stewart; and Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941), in which Lombard's performance highlighted director Alfred Hitchcock's only attempt at straightforward comedy.

In January 1942 Lombard visited her native Indiana to participate in a war-bond rally. As Lombard and her mother were returning home on January 16, they and 20 others were killed in a plane crash outside Las Vegas, Nevada. Lombard was at the peak of her popularity; her death stunned the nation and left husband Gable emotionally shattered. President Franklin Roosevelt expressed the feelings of millions in his telegram to Gable: “She brought great joy to all who knew her and to millions who knew her only as a great artist.…She is and always will be a star, one we shall never forget nor cease to be grateful to.”

Sources: Wikipedia, IMDB, The Biography Channel, Biography

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Carole Lombard's Timeline

1908
October 6, 1908
Fort Wayne, Allen, Indiana, United States
1939
March 29, 1939
Age 30
1942
January 16, 1942
Age 33
Las Vegas, Clark, Nevada, United States
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