Biography of Actor Clark Gable Part 3

About the famous actor Clark Gable, history and biography of the Hollywood star and legend.


CLARK GABLE (1901-1960)

Even on serious occasions, there was always an opportunity for a joke. When Lombard was rushed to the hospital for an appendicitis operation, Gable slept in an adjoining room each night during her recovery. On the last night of her stay, Gable entered her darkened room to kiss her good night. Deciding not to wake her, he tiptoed to the bed and bent over the quiet form. Suddenly, plump arms reached up to encircle him and two totally unfamiliar lips planted a sloppy kiss on his mouth. He turned on the light to discover a middle-aged woman smiling like a Cheshire cat. When he located Lombard a few rooms away, she swore that she had no idea she was going to be moved to a different room.

The last and saddest joke was played while Lombard was on her ill-fated trip to bolster the sale of U.S. war bonds. She had purchased a full-size blond mannequin to keep Gable company while she was away. Knowing her ribald sense of humor, Gable got a male dummy--complete with 12-in. erect penis--and placed it in her bed as a welcome-home gift. It was one joke she was never to appreciate, for the plane carrying her back to Los Angeles crashed just outside Las Vegas on Jan. 16, 1942. Everyone on board was killed instantly.

After Carole Lombard's death, Gable enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, flew over Germany as a tail-gunner, and rose to the rank of captain. In the years following W.W. II, his personal popularity was undiminished, but he projects offered him were mediocre, and Gable withdrew from the business of filmmaking. He was married two more times, in 1949, briefly, to Lady Sylvia Ashley, another socialite; and six years later to Kay Williams Spreckels, something of a Lombard type, who bore Gable the child he had wanted all his life--a child he never saw. John Gable was born four months after his father's heart failed.

For his last film, The Misfits, Gable's contract stipulated a salary of at least $750,000, 10% of the gross, plus overtime at $48,000 per week. Right to the end, Gable was setting industry records. And though his roles rarely matched those of the screen's other graceful roughnecks, such as Cagney, Tracy, and Bogart, the personal aura of Clark Gable remains undimmed. "Up on the screen, he was buffalo type who would bust through doors," recalled director Delmer Daves. "But innately he was a gentleman--kind, thoughtful, and tender. All I think of about Clark was the twinkle in his eye."

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