William Clark Gable was born on February 1, 1901 in Cadiz, Ohio. The son of William Henry Gable and Adeline Hershelman.
In 1917, when Clark Gable was in high school, his father had financial difficulties and the family moved to Ravenna, Ohio. Despite his father's insistence that he work the family farm, Clark Gable left to work in Akron's B.F. Goodrich tire factory.
At seventeen, Gable was inspired to be an actor after seeing the play The Bird of Paradise, but he was not able to make a real start due to financial difficulties.
Clark Gable instead toured in stock companies and worked the oil fields and as a horse manager. He found work with several second-class theater companies and worked his way across the Midwest to Portland, Oregon, where he found work as a necktie salesman in the Meier & Frank department store. While there, he met actress Laura Hope Crews, who encouraged him to go back to the stage and into another theater company.
His acting coach was a theater manager in Portland, Oregon, Josephine Dillon (seventeen years his senior and would become his first wife). Dillon paid to have his teeth repaired and his hair styled. She taught him better body control and posture. She spent considerable time training his naturally high-pitched voice, which Gable slowly managed to lower, and gain better resonance and tone. After the long period of rigorous training, she eventually considered him ready to attempt a film career.
In 1924, with Dillon's financial aid, the two went to Hollywood, where she became his manager and first wife. He changed his stage name from W. C. Gable to Clark Gable.
He began his career as an extra in such silent films as He found work as an extra in such silent films as Fighting Blood (1923), Forbidden Paradise (1924), The Plastic Age (1925) and Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925).
In 1928, he made his Broadway debut in Machinal. Roles would follow in Hawk Island and Love, Honor and Betray.
In 1931, he returned to Hollywood and was cast in his first credited role as Rance Brett in The Painted Desert.
In 1931, he was cast opposite Jean Harlow in The Secret Six. They would go on to make five more films together: Red Dust (1932), Hold Your Man (1933), China Seas (1935), Wife vs. Secretary (1936), and Saratoga (1937).
During the 1930s, Clark Gable and Myrna Loy were crowned the King and Queen of Hollywood. They made eight movies together: Night Flight (1933), Manhattan Melodrama (1934), Men in White (1934) , Wife vs. Secretary (1936), Parnell (1937), Too Hot to Handle (1938), Test Pilot (1938), and Northward, Ho! (1940).
In 1934, Clark Gable refused an assignment and MGM thought they would punish him by loaning him out to Columbia Pictures. That film was Frank Capra's It Happened One Night (1934). Clark Gable won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.
The next year Clark Gable starred as Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty. He would be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor.
During the 1930s, Clark Gable also starred in Night Nurse (1931), Possessed (1931), No Man of Her Own (1932), The Call of the Wild (1935), San Francisco (1936), and Idiot's Delight (1939).
In 1939, Clark Gable would be cast as Rhett Butler in his most famous role in the epic Gone With The Wind. He would receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
During the 1940s and 1950s, Clark Gable appeared in Strange Cargo (1940), Boom Town (1940), Comrade X (1940), The Hucksters (1947), Command Decision (1948), Mogambo (1953), Run Silent Run Deep (1958) and Teacher's Pet (1958).
In 1961, Clark Gable would appear in his final film: The Misfits as Gay Langland.
During World War II, Clark Gable joined the Army Air Corps. He rose to the rank of Captain.
In March 1939, Clark Gable married actress Carole Lombard who he had previously worked with in No Man of Her Own (1932). 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.
In July 1955, Clark Gable married a former sweetheart, Kathleen Williams Spreckles. A few months after his death, she gave birth to his son John Clark Gable.
On November 16, 1959, Clark Gable became a grandfather when Judy Lewis, his daughter with Loretta Young, gave birth to a daughter, Maria.
Clark Gable died on November 16, 1960 of a heart attack, the day his granddaughter turned one.
A little trivia about Clark Gable:
Clark Gable's first screen test was made by director Mervyn LeRoy for Warner Bros. The powers that be said they 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 was mistakenly listed as a female on his birth certificate.
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