Clark Gable

Clark Gable

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.

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.

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.

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.

Attempted suicide using a high-powered motorbike following his wife Carole Lombard's death.

Both parents were of German ancestry.

Bugs Bunny's nonchalant carrot-chewing standing position, as explained by Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, and Bob Clampett, originated in a scene in the film It Happened One Night, in which Clark Gable's character leans against a fence, eating carrots rapidly and talking with his mouth full to Claudette Colbert's character. This scene was well known while the film was popular, and viewers at the time likely recognized Bugs Bunny's behavior as satire.

Clark Gable is caricaturized in a Merrie Melodies short cartoon called Hollywood Steps Out directed by Tex Avery (Warner Brothers 1941). The action takes place in the famed Ciro's nightclub where the Hollywood stars are having dinner. During the course of the action, Clark Gable spots a girl, whom he follows with his head turning around 180 degrees. Later on in the cartoon, Gable is moving to the conga beat while following the girl he saw earlier. At the end of the cartoon, the conga beat stops Gable finally catches the girl he was chasing, insisting she kiss him. "She" turns out to be Groucho Marx in drag -- "Well, fancy meeting you here!"

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.

Cousin-in-law of William B. Hawks.

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.

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 stardom.

Died on the first birthday of his granddaughter, Maria.

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.

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.

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 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.

Gable became increasingly unhappy with the mediocre roles offered him by MGM as a mature actor. He refused to renew his contract with them in 1953 and proceeded to work independently.

Gable was dyslexic, a fact which didn't emerge until several years after his death.

Gable's marriage in 1939 to his third wife, the successful American actress Carole Lombard, was the happiest period of his personal life. As an independent actress, her annual income exceeded his studio salary until Gone with the Wind brought them to rough parity. From their marriage, she gained personal stability that she had lacked, and he thrived being around her with her youthful, charming, and frank personality.