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Carole Lombard

Carole Lombard

D.O.B.: October 6, 1908 (Fort Wayne, IN)

D.O.D.: January 16, 1942 (Las Vega, NV)

Cause of Death: Plane Crash

Location: Forest Lawn Glendale; Great Mausoleum

Biographical Notes:

Carole Lombard was born Jane Alice Peters.. Her parents divorced in 1916 and Carole's mother took the family on a trip out West. While there they decided to settle down in Los Angeles. After being spotted playing baseball in the street with the neighborhood boys by a film director, Carole was signed to a one picture contract in 1921 when she was 12. The film in question was "A Perfect Crime". Although she tried for other acting jobs, she would not be seen again for four years.

For the time being she returned to a normal life, going to school and participating in athletics at which she was very good particularly track and field. At 15, Carole had had enough of school and quit. She joined a theater troupe and played in several stage shows, which were for the most part nothing to write home about. In 1925, she passed a screen test and was signed to a contract with 20th Century Fox. Her first role as a Fox player was "Hearts and Spurs" where she had the lead. Other films that year included a number of shorts. In 1926, Carole was seriously injured in an automobile accident which left the left side of her face scarred. Once she had recovered, Fox canceled her contract. She did find work in a number of shorts during 1928 (thirteen of them), but did go back for a one time shot with Fox called "Me, Gangster".

By now, the film industry was moving from the silent era to "talkies". While some had their careers end due to sound, Carole made a very smooth transition. Her first film with sound was "High Voltage" with Pathe (her new studio employer) in 1929.

In 1931, Carole was teamed with William Powell in "Man of the World". "No Man of her Own" (1932) put Carole opposite Clark Gable for the first and only time. By now she was with Paramount Studios and was one of their top stars. But it was 1934's Twentieth Century that showed her true comedic talents and proved to the world what a fine actress she really was.

In 1936, Carole received her only Oscar nomination for Best Actress in "My Man Godfrey". As Irene Bullock, she was superb in the role. Unfortunately, the coveted award went to Luise Ranier in "The Great Ziegfeld" which also won for Best Picture.

In 1939, Carole married Clark Gable. They bought and lived in a 20 acre ranch in San Fernando Valley. They nick named each other Ma and Pa and were role modeled as the ideal marriage.

She commanded and received one of the top salaries in the business. At one time it was reported she was making $35, 000 a week. Her last film was in 1942, when Carole played Maria Tura in "To Be or Not To Be". She did not live to see its release. Finished in 1941 at the time the US entered World War II, Carole went home to Indiana for a war bond rally. On January 16, 1942, Carole, her mother, and 20 other people were flying back to California when the plane went down outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. All perished. Her last words, in her home state of Indiana, to all the people were just before boarding the plane, "Before I say goodbye to you all - come on - join me in a big cheer- V for victory!" Clark Gable, her husband, was devastated by losing her. The highly acclaimed comedy actress was dead at the age of 33 and few have been able to match her talents since.

During World War II and after her death, a Liberty ship was named after Carole Lombard.

Appeared in:

"To Be or Not To Be" (1942) Movie

"Made for Each Other" (1939) Movie

"My Man Godfrey" (1936) Movie

 

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