Monday, June 18, 2007


Humphrey Bogart gets a lot of praise and attention, but is no match in my humble opinion to the greatest male movie star of all time: Mr. Clark Gable.

Mind you, I have yet to see most of Gable's films, but those I have seen: It Happened One Night, San Francisco, China Seas, and Gone With The Wind convince me of just how truly terrific, witty, and commanding this man was onscreen. Blessed with good looks and charm, Gable epitomized everything about classic Hollywood.

Interesting Gable trivia:

-Was born in 1901 in Ohio to a German mother (who died when he was only 7 months old) and a father of German descent. Came to Hollywood in 1924.

-Gable had very bad teeth, and almost died of a severe gum infection in 1933. He had to have most of his choppers extracted and wore dentures. During the making of Gone With The Wind, Vivien Leigh complained about having to kiss Clark, because he had very bad breath; smoking and poor hygiene must've surely contributed to this.

-Gable was married a total of five times. It is highly likely he would have stopped at marriage #3 to actress Carole Lombard. He was deeply in love with her and had the happiest moments of his life wed to her for three short years. They even bought a nice ranch in Encino, CA. Sadly, Lombard died in a plane crash, and this devastated Gable for the rest of his life. Upon his death, he was buried alongside her at Forest Lawn in Glendale.

-Gable fathered two children; an illegitimate daughter with actress Loretta Young and a son with his final wife Kay. Judy was Gable's "secret" daughter, and was teased at school about being his child. Her mother Loretta never would admit to Judy who her father was, and it is said Clark even visited Judy once without admitting the truth. It was hard to deny it though, as she inherited much of her father's looks. Gable's son John Clark Gable, was born after Clark died.

-Gable hated actress Greta Garbo. She didn't like him much either.

-Disappointingly, Clark Gable was homophobic. He really disliked working with British actor Chales Laughton on the set of Mutiny on the Bounty, because Laughton would often bring his boyfriend to the set. Legendary gay director George Cukor was supposed to direct Gone With The Wind (and did do some key uncredited scenes), but it is said Gable did not feel comfortable with Cukor and was partially responsible for removing him from the project which brought in Victor Fleming to finish the movie instead.

-Gable did have some cosmetic surgery to fix his very pronounced ears.

-His 1934 film It Happened One Night inspired the cartoon character of Bugs Bunny. The way Gable chews a carrot in a scene while talking in the film, was just one of the inspirations.

-Gable was constantly upset on the set of his final film The Misfits, because Marilyn Monroe would always be late. He had smoked and drunk so much up to this point and then went ahead and lost a lot of weight using a crash diet, that his heart could take no more. He died of a heart attack in 1960 shortly after this shoot.

"All this 'King' stuff is pure bullshit. I eat and sleep and go to the bathroom just like anyone else. I'm just a lucky slob from Ohio who happened to be in the right place at the right time." - William Clark Gable.


Darci said...

It is rumored that Greta Garbo was a if Gable was homophobic...well, two and two...

Junk Thief said...

According to Kenneth Anger in Hollywood Babylon, in order to get a part early in his career Gable gave a blow job to then silent movie star Billy Haines, a good friend of Cukor's. Paranoid about having someone directing him that knew this secret, Gable was prompted Gable to refuse to work with Cukor. Anger's tales are always a bit dubious, and it's more likely that Gable was just plain homophobic.

Gavin Elster said...

Anger is the analog Wikipedia of Hollywood info.

alice said...

My father met Clark Gable at a coffee shop. Outside the restaurant my dad was admiring a car that was parked at the curb. It was a state-of-the-art sports car (I don't know the make or model) and it was quite something to look at. Clark Gable walked up beside my dad and asked him "you like my car??" My dad didn't even look at him at first - just responded that "yeah - that's really beautiful". Clark proceeded to show my dad all the trick features and he finally realized who he was talking with. They went in the coffee shop together, sat down at the counter, and talked about cars. My mom was so envious - Clark Gable was her favorite actor. She cried for days after he died. I've always thought he was hot!

Emma said...

Ooh, Clark Gable. I think I was a little bit in love with him after Gone With The Wind (I've always liked older men, what can I say?). Not that that's anything very new or original. However, this new teeth discovery kind of sheds some light on my crush in a disturbing way.

WAT said...

Great story Alice!

Thank you!

Crazy Eddie said...

As a big Bette Davis fan, I found that I didn't leave much room for anyone else during the amazing silver screen era. I have watched all of the prominent actors from the 40's to the 50's, but Clark Gable wasn't one of them. Thanx again for the schooling.

My penis between your ass cheeks. It's only because I love you...