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About Clark Gable
'The former blue-collar worker from Ohio with the prominently jutting ears became the 'King of Hollywood,' a title based on his being the leading male box office attraction throughout the 1930s. The dashing, mustachioed image of Rhett Butler in "Gone with the Wind" (1939) remains indelibly associated with the name Clark Gable, but before his "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" made screen history, Gable (with the aid of his MGM publicist Howard Strickland) had already established a distinctive screen persona as the virile, lovable rogue whose gruff facade only thinly masked a natural charm and goodness.
Following his marriage to actress Josephine Dillon, Gable played bit parts in several silent Hollywood features (e.g., "The Merry Widow", 1925) but he first achieved fame as a leading man on Broadway in the late 20s. With the flourishing of sound films, Gable joined the new generation of movie actors who made the move from New York to Hollywood in the early 30s. On the advice of director/actor Lionel Barrymore MGM granted him a screen test and, after a talkie debut in a Pathe western ("The Painted Desert" 1931), Gable signed a contract with the prestigious Metro studio, where he remained until 1954. In his first year alone, Gable appeared in a dozen features, quickly rising from supporting player to romantic lead. He was teamed with all of MGM's leading ladies, most notably opposite Norma Shearer in "A Free Soul" (1931), Greta Garbo in "Susan Lenox, Her Fall and Rise" (1931) and Joan Crawford in "The Possessed" (1931)--though he proved equally adept in male-oriented action sagas ("The Secret Six", "Sporting Blood", "Hell Divers", all 1931).
Despite his rising popularity, Gable balked at having to play gangsters and overly callous characters. In a now legendary act of studio disciplining, Louis B. Mayer "punished" Gable by loaning him out to lowly Columbia for a role in a minor romantic comedy. The project, Frank Capra's "It Happened One Night" (1934), unexpectedly became the first film to sweep the five major Oscars (for best actor, actress, director, writer, and picture) and vaulted Gable to new prominence in the industry. His sensational appearance "sans" undershirt in the film's bedroom scene went down in Hollywood legend as the event that caused American males to make fewer trips to the haberdasher. While its effect on undershirt purchases may be purely apochryphal, the publicity from the event no doubt led to Gable's next major role, that of the bare-chested Fletcher Christian in MGM's "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935), another Oscar-winner for Best Picture.
With such success under his belt, Gable commanded even greater star treatment at Metro and began appearing in fewer films each year, although his range of genre vehicle expanded. He continued his string of romantic comedies with Jean Harlow ("Red Dust" 1932, "Hold Your Man" 1933, "China Seas" 1935, "Wife vs. Secretary" 1936, and "Saratoga" 1937), but also made off-beat musical appearances ("San Francisco", "Cain and Mabel", both 1936; the comedy-drama "Idiot's Delight" 1939, in which he sang "Puttin' on the Ritz"), action dramas ("The Call of the Wild" 1935, "Test Pilot" 1938) and romances ("Love on the Run" 1936). With MGM even 0promoting his image in its other feature films (Judy Garland singing "Dear Mr. Gable--You Made Me Love You" in "Broadway Melody of 1938" and Mickey Rooney doing Gable impressions in "Babes in Arms" 1939) Clark Gable remained King of the Hollywood box office throughout the decade, culminating in his highly publicized and memorable performance in "Gone With the Wind." Only his ill-conceived biopic "Parnell" (1937) interrupted a string of popular successes.
Gable's reign at the top of Hollywood stardom in 1939 was enhanced by his storybook romance and marriage to actress Carole Lombard. Her untimely death in a plane crash in January 1942 marked a tragic downturn in Gable's life. He turned his back on his film career and enlisted in the Army Air Corps. After two years of decorated combat service, Gable returned to the screen in 1945 with his macho hero's image only further amplified. But despite much studio publicity for his return in "Adventure" ("Gable's Back and Garson's Got Him") and some box office success, Gable's post-war film career consisted mostly of routine, undistinguished vehicles. He consistently starred in one film a year, but never regained his status of 30s. Still, there were no pretenders to the throne. When MGM remade "Red Dust" in 1953 as "Mogambo", Ava Gardner was in for Harlow, Grace Kelly played the Mary Astor role, and Gable's part? Only Gable could fill Gable's shoes, even twenty-one years later.
After a short-lived marriage (Lady Sylvia Ashley) and an unsuccessful attempt at independent production in the 1950s, Gable proved himself the King one last time, romancing the fragile Marilyn Monroe in John Huston's "The Misfits" (1961). His performance was greatly praised, but Gable had insisted on performing his own stunts, including breaking a horse. Doctors had warned him about an already weakened heart and the exertion proved too much (this would be Monroe's last completed film as well). He widowed his fifth wife, the former Kay Spreckles, in 1960, shortly before she gave birth to John Clark Gable, the son Gable had always longed for. As per his last wishes, Spreckles buried him alongside the great love of his life, Carole Lombard.
William Clark Gable (February 1, 1901 – November 16, 1960) was an American film actor, nicknamed "The King of Hollywood" in his heyday. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Gable seventh among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time.
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 memorable performances were in Run Silent, Run Deep, a classic submarine war film, and his final film, The Misfits (1961), which paired Gable with Marilyn Monroe in her last screen appearance.
In his long film career, Gable appeared opposite some of the best and most popular actresses of the time. Joan Crawford, who was his favorite actress to work with, 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.
Gable was born in Cadiz, Ohio to William Henry "Bill" Gable, an oil-well driller, and Adeline Hershelman, of German and Irish descent. He was mistakenly listed as a female on his birth certificate. His original name was probably William Clark Gable, but 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".
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. 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. After the long period of rigorous training, she eventually considered him ready to attempt a film career.
Gable had a daughter, Judy Lewis, 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 got less believable when the child grew up to not only look like her mother, but also 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. While neither Gable nor Young would ever publicly acknowledge their daughter's real parentage, this fact was so widely known that in Lewis's 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 the book not be published until after her death.
Gable died in Los Angeles, California on November 16, 1960, the result of a heart attack ten days after suffering a severe coronary thrombosis. 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."
Freemason: , Beverly Hills Lodge No. 528, California
Clark Gable’s Secret Daughter Dies
Masonic membership: Beverly Hills Lodge No. 528, Al Malaika Temple A.A.O.N.M.S. Los Angeles, California. (Gable was raised October 31, 1933 in Beverly Hills Lodge.)
- Residence: Green, Harrison, Ohio, United States - 1910
- Residence: Akron Ward 5, Summit, Ohio, United States - 1920
Actor. Born under the name William Clark Gable, his early life was ordinary, unhappy and confusing. Two towns claim him as a native son, Cadiz, Ohio and Meadville, Pennsylvania. His mother died when he was but a few months of age. He attended the Hopedale Schoolhouse in Hopedale, Ohio, which then was both a grammar and high school housed in the same building located on a hilltop directly behind the family residence. With his family, William attended Hopedale Methodist Church where his father was a Sunday School teacher. A poor student, he became a school dropout leaving home to take a job with Firestone Tire in Akron, Ohio. The biggest attractions in the city for William Gable were movies and especially the Akron Music Hall where a stock company was doing a live performance. He hung around the hall until landing an unsalaried position. He found out what he wanted to be and no amount of adversity, hardship or negative opinion would ever change his mind. A long indirect journey to Hollywood began with many odd jobs along the way leading him to Portland, Oregon. He landed a job with a stock company gaining valuable training from the woman who would become his wife and lead him to Hollywood and a career which spanned three decades with appearances in 92 movies including "Gone With the Wind," one of the most popular film of all times. Gable won an Academy Award in 1934 for his role in "It Happened One Night." His third marriage to actress Carole Lombard ended with her tragic death at 33 in a plane crash in 1942 while participating in a bond drive. Distraught, he withdrew from his career and though well over the draft age, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps becoming an aerial gunner during World War II flying in five bombing missions over Germany and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal. Discharged with the rank of Major, he returned to Hollywood and resumed film making. Two weeks after completing his last movie, "The Misfits," He suffered chest pains and was transported to Presbyterian Hospital in Los Angeles where he was diagnosed as having suffered a coronary thrombosis. On the ninth day of his confinement he was gone. Clark Gable was buried in a closed casket. An Episcopal service was led by an Air Force chaplain accompanied by an honor guard at the Church of the Recessional at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale. His fifth wife Kay had arranged for him to be interred next to his third wife, Carole Lombard. A few weeks later she delivered a boy at the same hospital where his father died. (bio by: [fg.cgi?page=mr&MRid=46585747" target="_blank Donald Greyfield)] Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Jan 01, 2001
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