Happy birthday Clark Gable!

William Clark Gable (February 1, 1901 – November 16, 1960) was an American film actor whose outstanding film career earned him the moniker The King of Hollywood. He is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Rhett Butler in the 1939 film Gone With the Wind, opposite Vivien Leigh. In what became the final screen appearance for each, Gable appeared with Marilyn Monroe in The Misfits, in 1961. Below, a list of interesting facts about the screen legend in honor of his birthday:


Clark Gable and Mary Astor in Red Dust, 1932

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 some money. Gable worked with several small theater companies and made his way from the Midwest to Portland, Oregon, where he worked in a department store.


While there, Gable met the actress Laura Hope Crews, who encouraged him to continue pursuing his acting career. Years later, Crews would play "Aunt Pittypat" in Gable's most famous film, Gone With the Wind.

While he was in Oregon, Gable was trained by theater manager Josephine Dillon, who was 17 years his senior. She also paid to have his teeth fixed and his hair and eyebrows styled. They eventually got married and moved to Hollywood.

Clark_GableIn Hollywood, Gable was originally rejected at screen tests because casting agents thought his ears were too big for a leading man. He was eventually offered a contract with MGM and his first leading role was opposite Joan Crawford, in Dance, Fools, Dance.

During the filming of Dancing Lady in 1933, Gable developed pyorrhea, an infection in his gums that required immediate removal of nearly all his teeth. The infection spread and he was hospitalized, and the delays cost MGM $150,000 in reshoots. When he recovered, MGM lent him to a low-budget comedy film, It Happened One Night. The film established Gable's range as an actor, and he won an Academy Award for his role.


Gable with wife Carole Lombard after their honeymoon

In 1942, while he was filming Somewhere I'll Find You, Gable's third wife and the love of his life, Carole Lombard, died in a plane crash. Gable was absolutely devastated, and he enrolled in the Air Force, serving on several bombing missions over Germany. Gable was married twice more over the course of his life, but his friend Esther Williams said that Gable was "never the same" and that "his heart sank a bit".




In 1944, he returned to acting in the film Adventure. He went on to make Mogambo with Ava Gardener and Grace Kelly. He made at least one movie a year until his last film, The Misfits. Two days after the completion of filming, Gable died of a heart attack.

Gable appeared in eight films with his favorite costar, Joan Crawford; seven films with Myrna Loy, six films with Jean Harloe, four with Lana Turner, and three each with Norma Shearer and Ava Gardener. Crawford later said of Gable, "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."

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Saturday, 01 February 2014
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