Date of Birth
Date of Death
The King of Hollywood
Pa (by Carole Lombard)
William Clark Gable was born on February 1, 1901 in Cadiz, Ohio. Later that year his mother died, and his father sent him to live with his maternal aunt and uncle in Pennsylvania, where he stayed until he was two. His father then returned to take him back to Cadiz. When Clark was 16 he dropped out of school and worked at many odd jobs before joining a traveling theater company.
On December 13, 1924 he married Josephine Dillon, his acting coach and 15 years his senior. Around that time, they moved to Hollywood so that Clark could concentrate on his acting career. In April 1930, they divorced and a year later he married Maria Langham (a.k.a. Maria Franklin Gable), also about 15 years older than him. After working as an extra in various movies, he was offered a small part in the The Painted Desert (1931) in 1931.
From this point, his acting career flourished, and in 1934 he won an Academy Award for his performance in Frank Capra's classic It Happened One Night (1934). The next year saw a starring role in The Call of the Wild (1935) with Loretta Young, with whom he had an affair (resulting in the birth of a daughter, Judy Lewis). Divorced in 1939, he later that same year starred in Gone with the Wind (1939).
In March 1939 Clark married Carole Lombard, but tragedy struck in January 1942 when the plane in which Carole and her mother were flying crashed into Table Rock Mountain, Nevada, killing them both. Clark then volunteered to be drafted and served in Europe for several years. After the war he continued with his film career and married Silvia Ashley, the widow of Douglas Fairbanks, in 1949. Unfortunately this marriage was short-lived and they divorced in 1952.
In July 1955 he married a former sweetheart, Kathleen Williams Spreckles (a.k.a. Kay Williams) and became stepfather to her two children, Joan and Adolph ("Bunker") Spreckels III. On November 16, 1959, Gable became a grandfather when Judy Lewis, his daughter with Loretta Young, gave birth to a daughter, Maria. In 1960, Gable's wife Kay discovered that she was expecting their first child. In early November 1960, he had just completed filming The Misfits (1961), when he suffered a heart attack, and died later that month.
Gable was buried shortly afterwards in the shrine that he had built for Carole Lombard and her mother when they died. In March 1961, Kay Gable gave birth to a boy whom she named John Clark Gable after his father.
The only reason they come to see me is that I know that life is great - and they know I know it.
[on his acting ability] I worked like a son of a bitch to learn a few tricks and I fight like a steer to avoid getting stuck with parts I can't play.
This 'King' stuff is pure bullshit. I eat and sleep and go to the bathroom just like everybody else. There's no special light that shines inside me and makes me a star. I'm just a lucky slob from Ohio. I happened to be in the right place at the right time, and I had a lot of smart guys helping me - that's all.
[about The Misfits (1961)] This is the best picture I have made, and it's the only time I've been able to act.
Hell, if I'd jumped on all the dames I'm supposed to have jumped on, I'd have had no time to go fishing.
The things a man has to have are hope and confidence in himself against odds, and sometimes he needs somebody, his pal or his mother or his wife or God, to give him that confidence. He's got to have some inner standards worth fighting for or there won't be any way to bring him into conflict. And he must be ready to choose death before dishonor without making too much song and dance about it. That's all there is to it.
It is an extra dividend when you like the girl you've fallen in love with.
I hate a liar. Maybe because I'm such a good one myself, heh? Anyway, to find someone has told an out-and-out lie puts him on the other side of the fence from me for all time.
I'm no actor and I never have been. What people see on the screen is me.
[on rumors he was dull in bed] I can't emote worth a damn.
Everything Marilyn [Marilyn Monroe] does is different from any other woman, strange and exciting, from the way she talks to the way she uses that magnificent torso.
[on Spencer Tracy] The guy's good. There's nobody in the business who can touch him, and you're a fool to try. And the bastard knows it, so don't fall for that humble stuff!
Every picture I make, every experience of my private life, every lesson I learn are the keys to my future. And I have faith in it.
I am intrigued by glamorous women . . . A vain woman is continually taking out a compact to repair her makeup. A glamorous woman knows she doesn't need to.
[about Gary Cooper] Coop is a right guy, the kind you like to hunt and fish with and not talk about making movies. I laid it on him one time about his romance with Carole [Carole Lombard, Gable's wife] and he got pale as hell. She told me about it during a drunken argument we had. After that, Coop and I didn't hunt together so much and when we did, we kept an eye on each other. She used to throw him up to me in my face and that was hard to take, especially since I didn't know the whole truth until years later. I got to admit I was jealous.
[on playing Rhett Butler] I discovered that Rhett was even harder to play than I had anticipated. With so much of Scarlett preceding his entrance, Rhett's scenes were all climaxes. There was a chance to build up to Scarlett, but Rhett represented drama and action every time he appeared. He didn't figure in any of the battle scenes, being a guy who hated war, amid he wasn't in the toughest of the siege of Atlanta shots. What I was fighting for was to hold my own in the first half of the picture - which is all Vivien's - because I felt that after the scene with the baby, Bonnie, Rhett could control the end of the film. That scene where Bonnie dies, and the scene where I strike Scarlett and she accidentally tumbles down stairs, thus losing her unborn child, were the two that worried me most.
Types really don't matter. I have been accused of preferring blondes. But I have known some mighty attractive redheads, brunettes, and yes, women with grey hair. Age, height, weight haven't anything to do with glamour.
[on Jean Harlow] She didn't want to be famous. She wanted to be happy.
I bring to a role everything I am, was and hope to be.
|The Misfits (1961)||$750,000 + $58,000 for each week of overtime|
|Soldier of Fortune (1955)||$100,000|
|Any Number Can Play (1949)||$241,250|
|Strange Cargo (1940)||$7,500/week|
|Gone with the Wind (1939)||$120,000|
|Test Pilot (1938)||$4,000/week|
|Dancing Lady (1933)||$2,500/week|
|Hold Your Man (1933)||$2,000/week|
|Strange Interlude (1932)||$2,000/week|
|Polly of the Circus (1932)||$650/week|
|Hell Divers (1931)||$650/week|
|Susan Lenox <Her Fall and Rise> (1931)||$650/week|
|Sporting Blood (1931)||$650/week|
|A Free Soul (1931)||$650/week|
|The Secret Six (1931)||$650/week|
|Dance, Fools, Dance (1931)||$650/week|
|The Painted Desert (1931)||$750/week|
|Forbidden Paradise (1924)||$7.50/day|