Clark Gable’s life story

Decades pass, but the memories of the greats do not fade.

The greatest seducer of the 20th century, the American actor who was called the king of Hollywood after he played Rhett Butler in the cult film “Gone with the Wind”, forever determined the definition of a macho man who breaks women’s hearts regardless of age, origin or religion. Striking, developed and with a mischievous smile, he could have won the heart of every member of the fairer sex, whether she was rich, poor, successful or a housewife with six children, but somehow he always remained unhappy with his choice.

Despite his perfect body, wit, charisma and radiance and wealth, he was very unhappy, dark and in constant conflict with himself. Women came and went through his life, he started and ended marriages, but he never found the ideal one. A seemingly happy marriage with actress Carol Lombard, which lasted for three years, was interrupted by her death. Perhaps the eternal emotional uneasiness of the famous actor was influenced by the fact that he lost his mother as a boy, and his stepmother, with whom he was very close, died just after he started his film career. Clark Gable’s life story had a lot of ups and downs, but few left it indifferent!

He grew up with a cruel father who often teased him because he was mistakenly registered as a girl in the book of births. This was later cited by many interpreters of his biography as a possible factor for the actor’s pronounced homophobia. However, some of his contemporaries made different, mostly unfounded allegations, which begin with unverified sources and without evidence. Namely, in these allegations, it is pointed out that at the beginning of his career, Gable worked as a gigolo for men in order to advance in business. Serially seducing women, behind the screen of a man, he also had relationships with people of the same sex, with older women and bisexuals.

On the other hand, it is claimed that the most beautiful ladies of the then Hollywood were in Clark’s embrace, among others Grace Kelly. With a few of his loves, he experienced the pinnacle of happiness, as was the case with Carol Lombard, and owed to some an early rise in film and encouragement in moments of crisis and occasional falls.

Hard to grow up

The real name of this film great is William Gable, and he was born on February 1, 1901, in Cadiz, Ohio, as the only child of a farmer and oil prospector, William Henry Bill Gable and his wife Adelaine, who was of Irish-German descent. When he was only six months old, his mother became seriously ill, and only four months later she died, most likely from a tumor. After this tragic event, his father sent him to Pennsylvania to a farm with Uncle Charles, who was an Orthodox Catholic, but a year and a half later, when his father remarried, Clark returned to the family home. He experienced his stepmother Jenny Dunlop as the most beautiful thing that could have happened to him then. She was an extraordinary person, subtle and cultured, from whom he gained strength and tenderness at the same time.

Listening to her play the piano in their house, he fell in love with music, and she gave him his first piano lessons. He soon started playing in a city band, but Clark’s father didn’t like it because he wanted his son to do more serious work. However, the only female figure that the future artist perceived as a mother, understood the boy’s love for art, among other things, for literature, in which he was especially fascinated by Shakespeare.

Because of that, he enjoyed the affection of the teachers in elementary school, and then in high school, where the professors were delighted with Clark’s talent, so he was engaged in the drama section. However, not all his talent, nor his personal initiative opened the door to the film industry. Gable had to do the usual jobs that most of the youth of that time were forced to do, because at the end of the 1920s, the world economic crisis shook the American continent.

After graduating from high school, the future actor expressed his desire to work in a tire factory in the city of Akron. At the urging of his stepmother, his father barely let him leave the house, and Gable met for the first time in Akron, and then enchanted him with the theater. He was soon hired as a boyfriend for everyone. He set up lights, collected cables and made coffee for the actors. He was not allowed to appear on stage, except occasionally as an extra. When he turned twenty-one, his stepmother, after a serious illness, died suddenly, and his father returned to his old job. Clark’s grandfather gave him three hundred dollars and took him to Kansas City, where he soon joined a traveling theater troupe. Because he exuded masculinity, it was not difficult for him to play fierce cowboys, brave reporters, unscrupulous oil magnates, rude truck drivers, to participate in car races and be a boxer or a soldier. The desire to advance took him into the arms of 14-year-old actress Josephine Dillon, who was also the director of the theater.

Aware of his extraordinary acting abilities, she helped him develop his talent. They went to Hollywood together, where they got married in 1924, and six years later, they still divorced. Josephine played a decisive role in Gable’s mastery of the secrets of acting. She even convinced him to change his name to Clark. At the time of the rise of sound film, space was opening up for new stars in Hollywood, as the two most romantic actors of the silent film era, Wallace Reed and Rudolf Valentino, were already fading unstoppable. Due to such a development of the situation, Josephine managed to provide Gable with her first roles in feature films through communication.

The rise of an acting career

The striking young man made his debut in 1924 in the production of “White Man”, and a year later, he got a small role in the film “The Plastic Age”, where he played in the company of the great star of silent film, Clare Bow. His next wife, Maria Franklin, whom he met while he was still in a previous marriage, was seventeen years older than him, and with her experience, she gave Clark’s acting skills the necessary glaze. She helped him develop self-confidence and ease in acting. Soon, in 1931, he got the opportunity to play the villain in the small western “Colored Desert” with the then big star William Boyd.

After that, he started lowering roles in more than twenty films, which he made, mainly for the production giant “MGM”, in just two years. In the period from 1932 to 1943, he entered the ranks of the ten highest paid movie stars, and he repeated that success from 1947 to 1949 after returning from the Second World War. The company “MGM” was especially dedicated to building the image of Gable as an actor of expressive masculinity, trying to connect him as a partner with the then starlets, and later the great movie stars Joan Crawford, Myrna Loy and Gene Harlow.

He starred in almost all female movie stars in at least one film, except for Marie Dresler, whom he couldn’t stand. He also spent a lot of time with his colleagues in private, which is why his marriage barely managed to resist various temptations. The biggest threat was the relationship with the famous Loretta Young, who in her biography, published after her death, admitted that she secretly gave birth to a daughter, Judy Lewis, conceived in an extramarital affair with Gable. Their adventure began in 1935 on a train as they were returning from filming The Call of the Wild.

Loretta was not married, so at the urging of people from the studio who did not want a scandal of this kind, she fled to Europe where she stayed until the end of her pregnancy, and returned to California to give birth. She decided to place the six-month-old baby in an orphanage in San Francisco, and after a year, the girl was introduced to the world as her adopted daughter. According to the author of the biography, the official papers for adoption were never publicly presented and Gable never acknowledged her child. It is assumed that he did not even know about her existence, and on the other hand, some sources claim that he came to meet little Judy, but that he did not introduce himself as her father. The truth about fatherhood became public just before Loretta’s death – the real story of the circumstances under which the girl was conceived was only then revealed.

Loretta was a devout Catholic with a strong sense of good and bad, claims her daughter-in-law Linda Lewis. According to Linda, the truth was revealed after they watched the Larry King show in which the topic was rape between marital and emotional partners. Then, 85-year-old Loretta asked Linda what that meant at all, and when her daughter-in-law explained it to her, she said: “Ah, then it happened between me and Clark.” According to her daughter-in-law, Loretta always wanted to protect her daughter Judy, so after her death, the whole family kept silent about this great secret. However, when Judy died in 2011, Linda and her husband Chris (Loretta’s son from the marriage she had after the affair with Gable), decided to tell this story to the press.

Loretta Young began her acting career at the age of four and was one of the most successful young stars in Hollywood when she met Clark in 1935. She was frightened by the stories that her parents and the priest told her that she would go to hell, so she never got into any affair with her colleagues in the film. However, that later changed. On the train from Seattle to Los Angeles, each of the actors had a separate cabin. Somewhere in the middle, Gable entered her compartment, and a month later, humiliated Loretta, she was pregnant. It wasn’t until Judy turned 31 that Loretta told her the truth. When she found out who her father was, Gable had not been alive for five years.

Business rise and private decline

In the midst of an adulterous affair, he got a role in the film “Rebellion on the Bounty Ship”, where he played the disobedient officer Fletcher Christian, who opposes the rigid, cruel and arrogant Captain William Blythe. In addition, his roles in the films “Command Decision” and “Through Missouri” were especially noted. His role as reporter Peter Verne in the film “It Happened One Night”, for which he also won an Oscar, is also significant. However, in the memory of film fans around the world, he inscribed himself with the character of Rhett Butler from the unforgettable film “Gone with the Wind”. During the filming of this film, he divorced Mary Franklin and married his greatest love, his colleague Carol Lombard. It seemed that the two of them were a dream couple, but that romance was interrupted by the Second World War, in which Carol also participated, by visiting and encouraging soldiers at the front. After returning from one of those trips, the plane she was on crashed in the American mountains. Her death threw the famous actor into despair and he became depressed.

He decided to enlist in the Eighth Air Force, and for his achievements during military missions in Germany, he received two decorations and was promoted to the rank of major. After the war, he returned to the company “MGM”, but he was no longer the old, smiling, relaxed and charming seducer, but a strict and frowning war hero. Such a Gable, “MGM” decided to present to new generations in the films “Adventure”, “Propagandists”, “Return” and “Every Number Plays”. However, even the popular “Mogambo”, which did great at the box office, was only a modest attempt compared to the first version of “Red Dust”, by Victor Fleming.

These failures only intensified Gable’s disorientation. Feeling lonely, he made a big mistake when he married the widow Sylvia Ashley in 1949. He divorced after two years, and in 1954 he lost his contract with “MGM”. However, that did not turn out to be bad for Gable, because then he became the most expensive freelance actor. All the films he made after the breakup with this company, brought him not only more money, but they were also of better quality. However, the famous heart breaker could no longer live alone, so his fifth wife became Kay Williams.

A tragic end

His the latest film, “Unadjusted”, written by Arthur Miller, is one of the best in which he has acted, and he played a cowboy at the age who finds the lost meaning of life in unrequited love for a young and beautiful girl played by Marilyn Monroe. It was filmed at the location of the city of Reno in Nevada, where both the actors and the film crew were exposed to difficult weather conditions, and they used to work at a temperature higher than 45 degrees.

Gable refused to be replaced by a backup in demanding scenes, and although Marilyn Monroe made it difficult to shoot with a constant delay, he calmly endured everything, because he was overjoyed to have a son. He did not wait to see him, because two days after the end of filming, he suffered a severe heart attack and died on November 16, 1960. By the way, his son John Clark Gable was born four months after the actor’s death, and the artist’s departure marked the end of the Hollywood era, which is marked as the golden age.


I hope you liked Clark Gable’s biography?

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

For more motivational stories, you can visit

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *