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Dubbed “King of Hollywood,” Gone with the Wind actor Clark Gable epitomized Hollywood's Golden Age, and was a legend for his on- and off-screen romances.
Watch a short video about Clark and learn how his life spiraled out of control after he became a legend with his role in "Gone With the Wind."
Clark Gable will always be best known for his performance as Rhett Butler in the 1939 classic "Gone with the Wind," despite his reluctance to take the role.
Born February 1st, 1901, Clark Gable moved away from his farm work life and relied on his charm and good looks to succeed.
Clark Gable became a Hollywood leading man despite lesser known earlier movies. It was the film, "A Free Soul," and films with Joan Crawford that made him a star.
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He ended up winning an Academy Award for It Happened One Night, and having shown his range, began being cast in a wider variety of roles.
By now, Gable was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, and he churned out a series of successful movies like Boomtown, San Francisco and Mutiny on the Bounty. In 1939 he appeared as Rhett Butler in his best-known film, the civil-war epic Gone with the Wind. He was dubbed the “King of Hollywood,
” and was a symbol of masculinity, admired by men and adored by women.
Then, during filming of Somewhere I’ll Find You with Lana Turner in 1942, tragedy struck. Carole Lombard, Gable’s third wife and the love of his life, died in a plane crash. He was devastated. Disconsolate, he enlisted in the Army Air Force at age 41. He served as a tail-gunner on five bombing missions over Germany and made a propaganda film for the Army.
After his discharge in 1944, he returned to the big screen in Adventure. Though it was a lackluster flick, Gable’s return to film had people flocking to the box office. He continued to make movies with MGM, including Mogambo with Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly, but his career never regained the same momentum. Still, when his studio contract expired in 1954, he became the highest-paid freelance actor of his day.
Gable’s status as a legend carried him, and he consistently made at least one movie a year, most notably Soldier of Fortune and The Tall Men. He gave what is considered to be one of his finest performances in The Misfits with Marilyn Monroe and Montgomery Clift, but he never got to enjoy its success: Two days after they completed filming, Clark Gable suffered a heart attack. He died November 16, 1960.
Gable was a ladies’ man both on and off screen, and he was married five times over the course of his life. His wives included his first theater director Josephine Dillon, socialite Rhea Langham, actress Carole Lombard, Lady Sylvia Ashley and actress Kay Williams Spreckels. Spreckels and Gable had one son, John Clark Gable, who was born after Gable’s death.
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