Clark Gable Overview:

Legendary actor, Clark Gable, was born William Clark Gable on Feb 1, 1901 in Cadiz, OH. Gable appeared in over 80 film roles. His best known films include It Happened One Night, Gone with the Wind, The Misfits, San Francisco, Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), Teacher's Pet, Boom Town, Mogambo and Wife vs. Secretary. He also appeared in a number of silent films, mostly uncredited, including a role as a Soldier in 1924's Forbidden Paradise and a role as a Roman Guard in 1925's Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. Gable died at the age of 59 on Nov 16, 1960 in Los Angeles, CA and was laid to rest in Forest Lawn (Glendale) Cemetery in Glendale, CA.


The King of Hollywood was born on February 1st, 1901 in the small of Cadiz, Ohio. As a child, he was something of a contradiction. Tall and shy, his step-mother groomed him to be both well-dressed and well-mannered while at the same time fostering his innate sense of mechanics by helping his father strip and repair worn cars. He would hunt and perform grueling manual labor with his father by day then recite Shakespeare by night. After moving to Ravenna when he was 16, Gable took work in a tire factory. A year later, at age 17, the seed of his acting career took root after seeing the play The Birds of Paradise, although his lack of funds delayed his dreams for the next four years. After inheriting a small amount of money on his 21st birthday, he left Ohio to pursue a career in acting.


He toured the west, finding gigs in second-rate theater companies while taking on several odd jobs, such as necktie salesman, oil-rigger, and horse manager. He received training from actress Josephine Dillon who couched him in voice lessons, speech, body movement, and image. Seventeen years his senior, she would become his manager and first wife. In 1924, the duo headed west to Hollywood, where Gable found steady work as an extra. Unhappy with the lack of substantial film offers, Gable headed back to New York in 1928. He toured with the Laskin Brothers Stock Company and gained a small following. He soon made his way to Broadway where he received positive reviews of his earliest appearances. After his run in the Los Angels production of The Last Mile, he was offered a contract to MGM studios. His first role was in 1931's The Painted Desert. He received much fan attention for his portrayal of the film's antagonist and although MGM continued to cast him as villains or gangsters, by 1932 he was the studio's fastest rising star, but it was the film Red Dust that solidified his status as America's favorite leading man.


In 1934, as a punishment for his insubordination, MGM loaned Gable to second-tier production house, Columbia Studios, for Frank Capra's It Happened One Night. The film, to everyone's supresie, was a massive hit. Audiences adored it almost as much as the critics. The film was awarded an Oscar for each of its nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing, Best Actress, and one for Clark Gable as Best Actor. Gable returned to MGM, his star shining brighter than ever. He starred in a steady stream of hits including Mutiny on The Bound (1935), Wife vs. Secretary (1936), Saratoga (1937), and Test Pilot (1938), seeming almost untouchable at the box office. In 1939 he would star in the role that would come to define his entire career, Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind. Although audiences and filmmakers agreed he was the only person who could possibly play Rhett Butler, Gable was reluctant to accept the part, wary of disappointing those very people. His fears were for naught as the four-hour epic has since become a staple in both film and pop culture history. Gable won his second Academy Award for the role. Not a single man, woman, or child could deny his unofficial title, ?The King of Hollywood.?


Gable was living the picture perfect life when, in 1942, tragedy struck. While filming Somewhere I'll Find You, Gable learned his third wife, Carole Lombard, had died in a plane crash returning from a successful war bonds selling tour. He soon after joined the WWII effort by entering the Army Air Corps, despite being forty-two, well over draft age. He served as a tail runner on multiple bombing missions flying over Germany. By the time he was relieved of active duty in 1944, he had reached the rank of Major.


Gable's first post World War film, 1945's Adventure, was both a critical and commercial failure. In fact, most of Gable's post war MGM films turned out to be box office disappointments, with 1947's The Hucksters and the 1953 remake of Mogambo opposite Grace Kelly and Eva Gardner being the main exceptions. Unhappy with the roles that he was being offered, Gable chose not to renew his contract with the studio that he had called home for the last 22 years. He quickly became the highest paid freelance actor in the industry when his first two independent films, Soldiers of Fortune and The Tall Men were both financial successes. As his age became more apparent on screen, Gable began to take on roles outside of the lone rogue persona he had spent years building. Gable's final film was the Arthur Miller penned, John Huston directed The Misfits. He starred opposite Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift, as aging cowboy Gay Langland. Upon its release, critics hailed it as his best performance but unfortunately, it was his last. Already in failing health when filming began, the grueling schedule and the fact that he insisted on performing his own stunts didn't help the matter. Soon after production ended, on November 16th, 1960, Gable died at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital of coronary thrombosis ten days after suffering a heart attack. He was 59 years old.

(Source: article by Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub).



Clark Gable was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning one for Best Actor for It Happened One Night (as Peter Warne) in 1934.

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1934Best ActorIt Happened One Night (1934)Peter WarneWon
1935Best ActorMutiny on the Bounty (1935)Fletcher ChristianNominated
1939Best ActorGone with the Wind (1939)Rhett ButlerNominated

He was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures. Clark Gable's handprints and footprints were 'set in stone' at Grauman's Chinese Theater during imprint ceremony #33 on Jan 20, 1937. In addition, Gable was immortalized on a US postal stamp in 1990.

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Clark Gable Quotes:

Rhett Butler: Why, all we have is cotton and slaves and arrogance.

Charley Enley Kyng: Too much tension... it's always coming to bat with the bases loaded.

Dan Kehoe: I never put a dime on anybody but myself. I haven't lost yet.

read more quotes from Clark Gable...

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Clark Gable on the
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Clark Gable Facts
Died on the first birthday of his granddaughter, Maria.

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.

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 Oz (1939).

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