D.O.B.: February 1, 1901 (Cadiz, OH)
D.O.D.: September 16, 1960 (Los Angeles, CA)
Cause of Death: Heart Attack
Location: Forest Lawn Glendale; Great Mausoleum
Clark Gable's mother died when he was seven months old. At sixteen he quit high school, went to work in an Akron tire factory, and decided to become an actor after seeing the play "The Bird of Paradise". He toured in stock companies, worked oil fields and sold ties. In 1924 he reached Hollywood with the help of Portland OR theatre manager Josephine Dillon, who coached and (twelve years older) married him.
After bit parts he returned to theatre, becoming lifelong friends with Lionel Barrymore. After several failed screen tests (Barrymore and Zanuck) he was signed in 1930 by MGM's Irving Thalberg. Joan Crawford asked for him as co-star in "Dance, Fools, Dance" (1931) and the public loved him manhandling Norma Shearer in "A Free Soul" (1931) the same year. His unshaven love-making with bra-less Jean Harlow in "Red Dust" (1932) made him MGM's most important star.
The studio punished him for refusing an assignment; he was farmed out to Columbia where he won an Oscar for "It Happened One Night" (1934). He returned to substantial roles at MGM, winning nominations for Fletcher Christian in "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935) and as Rhett Butler in "Gone with the Wind" (1939).
When his third wife Carole Lombard died in a plane crash returning from a War Bond drive, a grief-stricken Gable joined the Army Air Corps, out of movies for three years. When he returned the studio regarded his salary as excessive and did not renew his contract. He free-lanced, but his films didn't do well at the box office. He announced during filming of "The Misfits" (1961) that, for the first time, he was to become a father. Two months later he died of a heart attack.
"The Misfits" (1961) Movie
"Gone with the Wind" (1939) Movie
"Saratoga" (1937) Movie
"Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935) Movie
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