Adolf Hitler esteemed the film star above all other actors, and during the war offered a sizable
reward to anyone who could capture and return Gable, who had enlisted in the Army Air Corps and
was flying combat missions over Germany, unscathed to him.
A few months after his death, his wife gave birth to John Clark Gable. John is
into racing and has appeared in at least one film.
Actress Judy Lewis is Clark's out-of-wedlock daughter by actress Loretta
Young. The two had a romance during the filming of The Call of the Wild (1935).
1970s: His Encino, CA, estate was subdivided and turned into a very upscale tract development called "Clark
Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, USA, in the Great Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Trust, on
the left hand side, next to Carole Lombard.
It was at Gable's 36th birthday that Judy Garland sang "Dear Mr. Gable:
You Made Me Love You."
Gable's first two wives - Josephine Dillon and Maria Franklin
Gable (aka Ria Langham) - were 14 and 17 years older than he was, respectively.
1942: He enlisted in the army in honor of his late wife, Carole Lombard. She had been killed in a
plane crash while on tour selling war bonds.
When he was first cast in It Happened One Night (1934) opposite Claudette
Colbert, he told director Frank Capra that he would give the role a shot, but if things
weren't going well after a few days, he would leave the production.
When he was born he was mistakenly listed as a female on his birth certificate.
He disliked Greta Garbo, a feeling that was mutual. She thought his acting was wooden while he considered her a
Playing a cowboy in his last film, The Misfits (1961), which was also the final film for co-star
Marilyn Monroe, the aging Gable diligently performed his own stunts, taking its
toll on his already guarded health. He died from a heart attack before the film was released.
Pictured on one of four 25¢ US commemorative postage stamps issued on 23 March 1990 honoring classic films released
in 1939. The stamp features Gable and Vivien Leigh as Rhett
Butler and Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind (1939). The other
films honored were Beau Geste (1939), Stagecoach (1939) and The Wizard of
Grandfather of Clark James Gable, who's the first child of his son John Clark
Gable and his ex-wife Tracy Yarro. Clark James was born on September 10,
1988 at a hefty 10 lbs.
Gable was dyslexic, a fact which didn't emerge until several years after his death.
Cousin-in-law of William B. Hawks.
Joined the Army Air Corps during the Second World War, and was commissioned an officer with service number 565390.
Rose to the rank of captain and served primarily in Public Affairs, making training films and
performing public relations visits to soldiers and airmen in Europe.
June 2004: As a native of Cadiz, OH, he was inducted into the Lou Holtz Museum/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of
He was seriously considered to play Tarzan in Tarzan the Ape Man (1932), but he
was deemed an unknown and Johnny Weissmuller was chosen instead.
Was Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's inspiration for half of
Superman's alter ego name Clark Kent ("Kent" came from Kent Taylor).
He worked as a lumberman in the Willamette Valley of Oregon in the early 1920s. After a couple of months of doing
that, he quit, saying that "the work was too hard" and he would rather act instead.
He then left to go to Hollywood, where he began his acting career.
1952: His widow, Kay Williams, divorced her previous husband, Adolph Spreckels
Jr., heir to the Spreckels Sugar fortune. In the divorce papers she alleged that he beat
her with one of her slippers.
His wife Sylvia Ashley was born Edith Louise Sylvia Hawkes in 1904. She was the
widow of Douglas Fairbanks. Her first husband was Lord Anthony Ashley (they
divorced November 28, 1934), her third was Lord Stanley of Alderney, and her fifth was
Prince Dimitri Djordjadze (whom she married in 1954 and stayed married to until her death). She
died June 29, 1977. Her grave stone refers to her as "Princess Sylvia Djordjadze."
His widow, Kay Williams, was born August 7, 1917, and died in May of 1983.
In some radio interviews at the end of his life, his voice has a haunting similarity to Walt
Disney's. Served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps during
World War II making training films. Also trained as an aerial gunner, he flew 5 combat missions
with the 8th Air Force's 351st Bombardment Group (Heavy) while making his films and was awarded
the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal.
Is the subject of the song "Clark Gable" by The Postal Service.
Is portrayed by James Brolin in Gable and Lombard (1976), Bruce
Hughes and Shayne Greenman in Blonde (2001) (TV), Charles
Unwin in Lucy (2003) (TV), Larry Pennell in Marilyn:
The Untold Story (1980) (TV), Edward Winter in The Scarlett O'Hara
War (1980) (TV), Boyd Holister in Grace Kelly (1983) (TV) and
Gary Wayne in Malice in Wonderland (1985) (TV).
Military records on celebrities released by the Pentagon in 2005 reveal that Gable, upon
enlistment, was described as a "motion picture specialist" and his weekly wage was listed as $7,500. A movie
cameraman, Andrew J. McIntyre, enlisted along with Gable and trained with him,
the documents showed. "In order to have something definite to describe and some tangible evidence of his
experiences, it is proposed that there be enlisted his cameraman to be trained as an aerial gunner also who may
make pictures of Gable in various theaters of operations," one Army memo said.
Prior to making The Misfits (1961), he crash-dieted from a bloated 230 lbs. to 195 lbs. Twice in
the previous decade he had suffered seizures that might have been heart attacks; once, ten years earlier, while
driving along a freeway he had chest pains so severe that he had to pull off the road and lie down on the ground
until he felt well enough to continue on.
Both parents were of German ancestry.
Gave his Oscar for It Happened One Night (1934) to a child who admired it,
telling him it was the winning of the statue that had mattered, not owning it. The child returned the
Oscar to the Gable family after Clark's death.
Had to have almost all of his teeth extracted in 1933 due to pyorrhea. The infection would have killed him had he
not been rushed to a private hospital for treatment.
1933: Underwent cosmetic surgery on his ears and teeth.
Gable's first screen test was made by director Mervyn LeRoy for Warner Bros. When
studio head Jack L. Warner and production chief Darryl F. Zanuck saw the test
they were furious at LeRoy for wasting their money on that big "ape" with those "huge floppy
taxi-cab ears". Years later when Gable made it big, LeRoy used to tease
Warner and say, "How would you like to have him and those huge floppy ears now?".
He served as a pallbearer and usher at Jean Harlow's funeral in 1937.
1938: In a poll of entertainment readers, he was overwhelmingly selected "King of Hollywood" and
was officially crowned by columnist Ed Sullivan.
When MGM remade Red Dust (1932) in 1953 as Mogambo (1953), Ava
Gardner played the Jean Harlow part, Grace Kelly had the Mary
Astor role, and Gable played his old part. Only Gable could fill
Gable's shoes, even 21 years later.
At the time of his death, his gun collection was valued at half a million dollars. He had a special gun room in his
house filled with gold-inlaid revolvers, shotguns and rifles.
11/6/60: Gable was devastated to learn of the unexpected death of his close friend Ward Bond from
a heart attack. Shortly afterwards Gable himself suffered a massive heart attack, and died ten days later in the
Although it is often claimed that Gable died as a result of Marilyn Monroe's
behavior and performing his own stunts in The Misfits (1961), he was already in terrible health
when filming began from years of excessive drinking and smoking more than three packs of cigarettes a day.
He is the second cousin of film producer Thomas R. Bond II, President of American Mutoscope &
Biograph, a motion picture and entertainment company.
1939: Part of Gable and Carole Lombard's honeymoon was spent at the
Willows Inn in Palm Springs, CA. Today the Inn continues to operate and anyone
can stay in the same room, which is largely unaltered since that time.
Some sources say he turned down the role of Colonel William Travis in The Alamo
(1960) because he didn't want to be directed by John Wayne. However this seems unlikely, since
Travis was 26 at the time of the battle, and Gable would have been 58 when the
movie was filmed.
Although he was never crowned #1 at the Box Office in the Top 10 Poll of Money-Making Stars, as ranked by
Quigley Publications' annual survey of movie exhibitors, he made the list a then-record 15 times
from 1932 to 1949, and a 16th time in 1955. Gable, "The King", was ranked in the top four of Box
Office stars every year from 1934 to 1939 (the "Golden Age" of Hollywood), ranking #2 in 1934 and 1936 through
1938, inclusive, when he was topped by Shirley Temple. After ranking #3 at the Box Office in 1940,
he slumped to #10 in 1941, a position he also held in 1942 and 1943. After returning from the war, he took the #7
spot in the Box Office poll in 1947 and 1948, before again slumping to #10 in 1949. He made his last appearance in
the Top 10 in 1955, when he again placed #10.
Despite his dyslexia, Gable became an avid reader. He would never allow himself to be photographed
reading on film sets, fearing it would undermine his macho screen image.
Discouraged by his failure to progress in films, Gable tried the stage and became an employable
actor, first in stock and eventually on Broadway, without acquiring real fame. When he returned to Hollywood in
1930 for another try at movie acting, his rugged good looks, powerful voice and charisma made him an overnight
sensation as the villainous Rance Brett in his first sound picture, The Painted
Desert (1931). Gable exploded onto the screen in a dozen 1931 releases, in small parts at
first, but he was an established star by the end of the year. Soon his success threatened to eclipse every other
star, including his rival Gary Cooper.
He was an early member of the right-wing Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American
Attempted suicide using a high-powered motorbike following his wife Carole Lombard's death.
During his time on Broadway,Gable worked as a stage gigolo, performing stud
services for such actresses as Pauline Frederick and Laura Hope Crews, who were
considerably older than he. His much older first wife served as his first acting coach and paid for his false
teeth. Later he married a woman seventeen years his senior, Texan heiress Maria Franklin Gable,
who had underwritten his successful assault on Hollywood.
Gable became increasingly unhappy with the mediocre roles offered him by MGM as a
He refused to renew his contract with them in 1953 and proceeded to work independently.
He was a conservative Republican, although his third wife Carole Lombard, a liberal
Democrat, encouraged him to support President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal
reforms. In February 1952 Gable addressed a televised rally at Madison Square Gardens in New York
in support of the Republican candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower, and a few days before his death he
voted by post for Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election.
6/11/33: He was hospitalized for an infection of the gums the day before he was to begin shooting Dancing
Lady (1933). He was hospitalized for several days, after which most of his teeth were extracted.
Afterwards, he went on a vacation to Alaska and Canada with his wife, as it would
take a couple of weeks for his gums to heal enough so he could be fitted for dentures. MGM shot around
Gable until he returned and was fitted with a dental plate, but on July 30, after one day's
shooting, the infection felled him again. In the days before antibiotics, the infection was so serious
Gable's gall bladder was removed. Out another month, the film had to be shut down and went
$150,000 over budget. MGM boss Louis B. Mayer docked Gable two weeks pay, which caused bad
feelings between the studio and its top star. In order to teach him a lesson, Mayer lent him to
Columbia Pictures, then a poverty-row studio, to make a comedy. The movie, Frank Capra's
masterpiece It Happened One Night (1934), swept the Academy Awards the next year
and brought Gable his only Oscar.
3/15/46: Was injured in a car crash at the traffic circle at Sunset Blvd. and Bristol
Ave. in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Brentwood. According to a press release from
MGM, Gable was driving east on Sunset Blvd. and had entered the
south half of the traffic circle when he was struck by another car, whose driver apparently had become confused by
the "round-about" and was driving in a westerly direction on the same arc of the circle. Gable
drove his car over a curb to avoid hitting the other car, and it struck a tree, throwing him against the steering
wheel. He was treated at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital for a bruised chest and a cut on his right leg
that required stitches. The driver of the other car drove away from the site without checking on
Gable or reporting the accident. The hit-and-run accident gave rise to the urban legend that
Gable had struck and killed a pedestrian while driving drunk, an incident that allegedly was
covered up by MGM. Though reported in several biographies, there is no basis in fact for the
In the 1950s Gable joined Walt Disney, John Wayne, James Stewart and other
politically conservative entertainers to "assist" the House Un-American Activities Committee in
its efforts to find alleged Communist infiltration in the film industry.
11/16/60: Gable sat up in his hospital bed while reading a magazine and suffered his fourth and
final heart attack. He was dead within seconds and attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.
Proposed his headstone should read: "Back to silents." It was not used by his widow though.
1948: Proposed marriage to Nancy Davis.
As head of the actors' division of the Hollywood Victory Committee, Gable sent his wife
Carole Lombard on one of the first tours, in January 1942, to her home state of Indiana, where she
sold $2 million worth of bonds. On the plane trip back to Hollywood the plane crashed, killing
Lombard and her mother. Gable drank heavily for six months before enlisting as a
private in the Army Air Corps.
He served as a combat cameraman in Britain, rose to the rank of major, and eventually was furloughed to
Fort Roach, as the First Motion Picture Unit headquarters came to be known.
Gable's discharge papers were signed by Captain Ronald Reagan.
Turned down Cary Grant's role in The Philadelphia Story (1940) because he thought
the film was too wordy.
His private funeral service at the Church of the Recessional in Forest Lawn Park was attended by
200 mourners including Spencer Tracy, Robert Taylor, James Stewart, Norma Shearer, Ann Sothern, Marion
Davies, Frank Capra, Robert Stack, Jack Oakie, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Van Johnson and Howard Strickling,
Gable's longtime publicity man at MGM. There was no eulogy. The closed casket was
adorned with yellow roses shaped like a crown, befitting the one-time King of Hollywood.
He was baptized as a Catholic, but raised as a Protestant. However, he did not
practice any religion as an adult.
11/5/60: His heart attack happened when he was changing a tire on his jeep. President Dwight D.
Eisenhower, a close friend of Gable's, sent him a message of support wishing him a speedy
Contrary to popular belief, Gable did not perform his own stunts in The Misfits
(1961). He was only used for the close ups while a stunt double stood in for him in the long shots. His heart
attack was caused by his lifestyle - thirty years of heavy smoking and drinking, plus his increasing weight in
later years. It is also believed his crash diet before filming began may have been a contributing factor.
His favorite drink was whiskey.
Director Howard Hawks had long intended to make Hatari! (1962) with
Gable and John Wayne.
However, by the time filming began Gable was already dead.
In the mid-1950s he started to receive television offers but rejected them outright, even though some of his peers,
like his old flame Loretta Young, were flourishing in the new medium.
In 1955, he formed a production company with Jane Russell and her husband Bob
Waterfield, and they produced The King and Four Queens(1956), the star's one and only
production. The stress of making the film took such a toll on his health that Gable decided not to
Well known for his pipe smoking, sustaining at least two bowlfuls a day. To this day he still has pipes named after
Originally the image of Gable as an outdoors man was an invention of the studios, designed to
bolster his masculine screen image during the early 1930s. However, he soon discovered that he enjoyed hunting,
shooting and fishing, so the image swiftly became the reality.
In order to expedite divorce from his second wife Ria in order to marry Carole Lombard,
Gable paid his ex-wife a $500,000 settlement in 1939, nearly everything he had at the time.
Despite his rising popularity, Gable balked at playing gangsters and overtly callous characters,
and was therefore very pleased to be cast in Red Dust (1932), the film that set the seal on his
As a teenager his voice was very high-pitched, however with vocal training he was able to lower it over time. His
voice later proved a major asset in his climb to fame.
Once named Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) as his favorite of his movies, despite the fact that he did
not like his co-star Charles Laughton. He was also initially disappointed by the casting of
Franchot Tone as Midshipman Byam since the two actors had been bitter rivals for
the affections of Joan Crawford. However, during filming they became close friends.
He disliked his most famous film Gone with the Wind (1939), which he regarded as "a woman's
He liked westerns, and once expressed his regret that he didn't make more of them.
He was highly patriotic, a staunch anti-communist and a firm believer in military intervention. Among the political
leaders he admired were President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Sir Winston Churchill and King
George VI. Until John Wayne's stardom eclipsed Gable's in the late
1940s, many Americans thought of Gable as THE American star.
Gable and then future wife Carole Lombard first met in late 1924 while working as
extras on the set of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925). They would make three films together as
extras, Ben-Hur, The Johnstown Flood (1926) and The Plastic Age (1925) and star
together in No Man of Her Own (1932), but not become romantically attached until 1936.
On Easter weekend, 1935, Gable flew to Houston to give away step-daughter Jana in
her marriage to Dr. Thomas Burke.
He separated from wife Maria ('Ria') in October, 1935.
Met his second wife Ria when he was in a play. Her brother, actor Booth Franklin,
brought her backstage and introduced them.
His two step-children from wife Ria were George Anna "Jana" (b. circa 1913) and
Alfred Lucas (b. circa 1919).
In order to hide that she and Gable had an illegitimate child, fearing that it would ruin both of
their careers, Loretta Young secretly gave birth to her daughter Judy Lewis
pretending she was vacationing in Europe. When she returned to Hollywood, she claimed that
Judy was adopted. Gable met Judy only once when she was a
His father always opposed his decision to become an actor, and even after Gable became a major
star he still denounced acting as a "sissy" occupation. Gable became a Freemason
in 1933 just to please his father. However, he showed no grief when his father died aged 78 from a heart attack on
4 August 1948, having outlived his three wives.
Died on the first birthday of his granddaughter, Maria.
In 1949 he served as a pallbearer at the funeral of director Victor Fleming, whom he considered
something of a father figure.
Turned down Robert Mitchum's role in Home from the Hill (1960).
He was so disappointed by the critical and commercial failure of Adventure (1945) that he did not
agree to make another film until more than a year had passed. Fortunately, The Hucksters (1947)
proved to be a success and his performance was acclaimed.
Although discharged from the US air force early in 1944, he refused to make another movie until the war had
Watched very little television except boxing matches.
Had a fear of flying, and made all long journeys across America by train.
1995: Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#36).
He was voted the 8th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
He was voted the 21st Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premiere Magazine.
Named the #7 greatest actor on The 50 Greatest Screen Legends List by the American Film
1999: The American Film Institute named Gable among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, ranking