Clark Gable (February 1, 1901 – November 16, 1960) was an American film actor, often referred to as “The King of Hollywood” or just simply as “The King”. Gable began his career as a stage actor and appeared as an extra in silent films between 1924 and 1926, and progressed to supporting roles with a few films for MGM in 1931. The next year he landed his first leading Hollywood role and became a leading man in more than 60 motion pictures over the next three decades. Gable was arguably best known for his role as Rhett Butler in the epic Gone with the Wind (1939), for which he received his third nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. He was also nominated for leading roles in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), and he won for It Happened One Night (1934). Gable found further success commercially and critically with films like Red Dust (1932), Manhattan Melodrama (1934), San Francisco (1936), Saratoga (1937) Boom Town (1940), The Hucksters (1947) Homecoming (1948) and The Misfits (1961) which was his final screen appearance.
Gable appeared opposite some of the most popular actresses of the time: Joan Crawford, who was his favorite actress to work with, was partnered with Gable in eight films; Myrna Loy worked with him seven times, and he was paired with Jean Harlow in six productions. He also starred with Lana Turner in four features, and with Norma Shearer and Ava Gardner in three each. Gable’s final film, The Misfits (1961), united him with Marilyn Monroe (also in her last screen appearance). Gable is considered one of the most consistent box-office performers in history, appearing on Quigley Publishing’s annual Top Ten Money Making Stars Poll sixteen times. He was named the seventh greatest male American screen legend by the American Film Institute.
Gable died at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital on November 16, 1960, from a coronary thrombosis, ten days after suffering a severe heart attack at age 59. There was speculation that Gable’s physically demanding role in The Misfits contributed to his sudden death soon after filming was completed. In an interview with Louella Parsons, published soon after Gable’s death, Kay Gable said, “It wasn’t the physical exertion that killed him. It was the horrible tension, the eternal waiting, waiting, waiting. He waited around forever, for everybody. He’d get so angry that he’d just go ahead and do anything to keep occupied.” Monroe said that she and Kay had become close during the filming and would refer to Clark as “Our Man”, while Arthur Miller, observing Gable on location, noted that “no hint of affront ever showed on his face”. Others have blamed Gable’s crash diet before filming began. The 6 ft 1 in (185 cm) Gable weighed about 190 pounds (86 kg) at the time of Gone with the Wind, but by his late 50s, he weighed 230 pounds (104 kg). To get in shape for The Misfits, he dropped to 195 pounds (88 kg). On March 20, 1961, Kay Williams (Gable) gave birth to Gable’s only son, John Clark Gable, at the same hospital in which Gable had died four months earlier. Marilyn Monroe attended his son’s Christening. Gable is interred in The Great Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California beside his third wife, Carole Lombard.
- February, 01, 1901
- Harrison County, Ohio
- November, 16, 1960
- Los Angeles County, California
Cause of Death
- Coronary thrombosis
- Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
- Glendale, California