Many of you know Clark Gable for one reason. Gone With The Wind is that reason. I’m glad you know him because of this but honestly this is not enough. On what would have been his 112th Birthday I will give you an education in the greatness that is Mr. Clark Gable.
Known at one point as the King of Hollywood Clark Gable had it all; the looks, the voice, the stardom and the women. It wasn’t all great things for the man though. He married 6 times throughout his life and when he married his perfect woman, fellow actress Carole Lombard 1n 1939, he lost her 3 years later when she died in a plane crash after a war bond selling rally. At this time he put a stop to his acting and joined the United States Air Force in 1942 and served until the end of the war. After this he did go back to acting but there were changes in him.
These hard times were few but the great times were many. You all know of him playing Rhett Butler to Vivien Leigh’s Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind even if you’ve never watched it. And I’m positive you all know his famous line “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” from the film. This is probably one of his most famous of roles and really pushed him forward in Hollywood. In this film itself he plays opposite stars like Olivia de Havilland, Ann Rutherford and Leslie Howard. He does look pretty good to say that he is 38 in the film and it was the first colour film to win best picture at the Oscars. Gable was reluctant to be in the film as a previous costume drama he was in flopped at the box office but he finally accepted (all to do with him wanting to marry Carole Lombard) and it was a smash.
This wasn’t the only film he was in with big star names in it. In 1953 he was cast as Victor Marswell in Mogambo which is actually a remake of Red Dust a film he
starred in in 1932 opposite Jean Harlow. Mogambo itself saw him take on the lead role with Hollywood starlets Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly. At this point he would have been in his early 50’s and he was still bringing the crowds in to the cinema. He looked great and his talent and charisma was still there.
His last film would turn out to be one of his greatest, maybe on par with Gone With The Wind, but all for tragic reasons. The Misfits had the perfect cast Clarke Gable, Montgomery Clift, Marilyn Monroe and Eli Wallach. It was written by Arthur Miller, Monroe’s husband at the time, and was directed by John Huston. This was also Monroe’s last completed film. Out of boredom he is said to have done many of his own stunts in the film. Gable died of a heart attack in 1960 weeks after filming was wrapped and before the premiere of The Misfits.
Throughout his almost 40 year career Gable was said to be a hard worker and honest. His personal life was splashed all over the gossip columns but he got on with life and got through tragedies and everything else thrown at him. There is no other actor that can be compared to Gable and no one should try to be him.
I recommend you all go watch Gone With The Wind. I’m sure you’ve all got 4 hours to spare. If not here’s Rhett’s “You should be kissed and often and by someone who knows how” scene. Enjoy!