Biography of Clark Gable (1901-1960)

Clark Gable.

American actor, whose full name was William Clark Gable, born in Cadiz, (Ohio) on February 1, 1901, and died on November 16, 1960 in Hollywood (California).


The only son of a farmer and driller of oil (his mother died when he was seven months old) abandoned studies in the second year of University to go with a friend, to Akron, where he discovered his vocation in the tables to be ecstatic after a theatrical performance. He worked for the same company as a gofer, without any payment, with the condition that let him see the function each night. This served to get some small role, sometimes with short dialogues.

With the help of his grandfather, he traveled to Kansas City, where he joined a travelling theatre company, the Jewell Players; but, unfortunately, it passes through Oregon, the company went bankrupt. A young actress was set on him, taking him to another theatre company directed by the also actress Josephine Dillon, fourteen years older than him and that was, to the end, his first wife. This helped him to hone his talent, took him to Hollywood and gave him his first roles in movies, including the Merry Widow (1925), Erich von Stroheim. Not completed jigsaw his marriage, or his career in front of the camera, so it was separated from both and returned to the scene.

After a series of minor roles, debuted on Broadway on September 7, 1928, Machinal. It was the first of a string of successes as first actor in the late 1920s. At beginning of the thirties, and with the claim of sound films, it was part of a new generation of actors who changed New York dark scenarios by sunny dishes of filming in Hollywood. In 1931 made his first appearance in a sound film: was a western of the Pathé entitled desert snow (1931), Howard Higgin. Act followed, Lionel Barrymore advised the MGM to do a test to the young actor.

Shortly after, signed a contract with the prestigious company of the lion, where he stayed until 1954, playing the perfect partner of the biggest female stars of Metro, above all Joan Crawford, which appeared on eight occasions (perhaps love for sale (1931), and strange cargo (1940), his best films together); Myrna Loy, which made seven films, and Jean Harlow (China seas (1935), among them); also could see you next to Norma Shearer (free soul, 1931), the divine Greta Garbo (Susan Lenox, 1931), Marion Davies (Cain and Mabel, 1936), Greer Garson (Aventura, 1945) or Gene Tierney (do not forsake me, 1953).

Despite his rising popularity, Gable was forced to playing evil characters in other so many bad films. On one occasion he refused to do so. In retaliation, he was punished by Louis B. Mayer, paying to the then humble Columbia to intervene, with Claudette Colbert, in one minor romantic comedy. The film, happened one night (1934), of Frank Capra, unexpectedly, became the first to pick up the five major Oscars in the same issue (film, director - Capra-, - Colbert - actress, screenplay adapted - Robert Riskin - and the own Gable, best actor) and in one of those legendary tapes that time did not age nor an only its frame.

Full scripting anthological (auto-stop, the emergence of Gable shirtless in the bedroom, the walls of Jericho, etc) happened one night to Gable became a true star, so the Metro rushed to rescue him to give it a role in a film major, the Fletcher Christian in rebellion on Board (1935), Frank Lloyd. The film won an Oscar to the best film of the year and Gable had as fellow cast to the immense Charles Laughton, in the role of the despotic Captain Bligh, in what would be the most famous mutiny in the history of cinema, versioning once more.

With such successes under his belt, Gable won a great reputation in the industry and the underground began to select you few papers each year. In 1936, Gable took part in a legendary production: San Francisco, w.s. Van Dyke II, luxurious production where the duo Gable and Spencer Tracy are more than memorable. The song "San Francisco", sung by Jeanette MacDonald, and a perfectly staged earthquake did the rest.

In 1939, two facts marked the life and career of Gable. His reign on the throne of Hollywood was enhanced by its love story, and after marriage, to the actress Carole Lombard (one of the most beautiful women that has been put in front of the cameras). The other fact, of course, was the interpretation of Rhett Butler in the wind (directed by Victor Fleming, while several directors, including George Cukor and Sam Wood, had something to do with the outcome of the film).

What could have been simply production luxury, became an exceptional work. Chronic and historical drama of the civil war, study of characters, a passionate woman, portrait of an adventurer (Gable) dipped in a tumultuous America, too much perhaps for it which is a man calm, a single man (able to dance to Scarlett O'Hara to the stupor of the respectable that does not tolerate a woman in mourning to be responsible for starting the dance)a reflection on the couple, love; What wind I is a multiform film production, collective enterprise model, a colossal, paradigm of the Hollywood industry. And multitude of scenes to remember, as the first appearance of the actor down the grand staircase of the mansion, the scene that was admired by millions of women; or that hiss launched Gable, after being a direct witness to the character of Scarlett, vase and wall included.

In 1942, the life of Gable suffered a great setback: Carole Lombard, his wife, died in a plane crash in January of that year. He decided then to give back to his film career and enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Finished the war, after two years of decorated service in combat, Gable returned to cinema in 1945, with his image, male hero par excellence, reinforced. But his career in the Metro from here rarely did not exceed the routine, productions without any kind of incentive, except for their presence in them.

He didn't stop at any time to participate in at least one film a year, but he failed to regain the status he enjoyed in the 1930s. Only more beyond of the Missouri (1951), of William A. Wellman, left normal. Gable plays, here relaxed, the Trapper divided between his family and his friends.

But when Metro decided to do a remake of land of passion (1932), Victor Fleming, the company chose to Ava Gardner to replace Jean Harlow and Grace Kelly by Mary Astor and of course, chose to Clark Gable. The film was titled Mogambo (1953), and John Forddirected it.

In 1954, his contract with the meter expired and was not renewed, which freed him from unwanted products. He chose what he wanted and wanted. He had a good eye and took part in three good films, all directed by his friend Raoul Walsh, that returned you part of the lost prestige: the relentless (1955), a King for four Queens (1956), and the free slave (1957). Until, in 1961, John Huston gave him the opportunity of participating in rebel lives, conceived, almost, as the last sigh offered by a few dying actors in his last appearance on the stage: it was the last full film of Marilyn Monroe, one of the last of Montgomery Clift and, of course, the last undisputed Clark Gable.Rey of Hollywood, Clark Gable was one of the ten grossing stars of Hollywood between 1932 and 1943 and 1947 and 1949doing so again in 1955. Truth is that the elegant image of Rhett Butler in what the wind has remained indelibly associated with the name of Clark Gable, but before, quite soon, Gable (with the help of the publicist for the Metro Howard Strickland) already had patented a distinctive character on the screen, as the virile and rogue shameless brusque façade hardly managed to hide her natural charm and kindness.

A King who, at the beginning of the 1930s, turned to cosmetic surgery to try their huge ears to imagine is everything against the skull. But his ears were part of his personality, were part of the myth. These ears that made exclaim to Ava Gardner to see a small elephant in Mogambo,: 'go! But to who remind me of those great labarse?" Gable was limited to smile, rogue, proud, as a good King.


Short films:

1925: The pacemakers.1931: Christmas party (Jackie Cooper s Christmas). 1942: March of dimes film.1943: Hollywood in uniform.1944: Aerial gunner; Be careful; Wings up; Combat America.

Feature films:

1924: The frivolity of a lady; White Man.1925: La viuda alegre; North Star; College days; Declasee.1926: The Johnstown Flood.1931: desert of snow; Love for sale; Susan Lennox; Thoroughbred; Dance, crazy, dance; Night nurses; The sinner; Free soul; The finger; The mysterious six; Saved; The cielo.1932 Titans: married by chance; Polly of the circus girl; Land of passion; Strange intervalo.1933: soul of the dancer; You are mine; Night flight; Blanca.1934 sister: happened one night; Chained; When the devil looms; Public enemy No. 1; Men of blanco.1935: the scandal of the day; The call of the wild; China seas; Rebellion to bordo.1936: San Francisco; Cain and Mabel; Love on the Run; Between wife and secretaria.1937: Parnell; Saratoga.1938: Pilot tests; It happened in China.1939: what the wind; Idiot's Delight.1940: Fruit Golden; Comrade X; Strange cargo.1941: I love this man; They met in Bombay.1942: Somewhere I'll Find You.1945: Aventura.1947: the vendedores.1948: Sublime decision; The rival.1949: do game! 1950: Key to the City; Indianapolis.1951: Apart from the Missouri; Callaway Went Thataway.1952: Star of the destino.1953: Mogambo; No me abandones.1954: mists of traicion.1955: appointment in Hong Kong; The implacables.1956: A King for four reinas.1957: the slave libre.1958: Torpedo; Teach me to querer.1959: I'm not to ti.1960: Capri.1961: rebel lives.

Productions with sequences of his films or recordings of time:

1988: Going Hollywood: The War Years.


EAMES, John Douglas: The MGM story. New York. (Crown. 1976).