His wife Sylvia Ashley was born Edith Louise Sylvia Hawkes in 1904. She was the widow of Douglas Fairbanks. Her first husband was Lord Anthony Ashley (they divorced November 28, 1934), her third was Lord Stanley of Alderney, and her fifth was Prince Dimitri Djordjadze (whom she married in 1954 and stayed married to until her death). She died June 29, 1977. Her grave stone refers to her as "Princess Sylvia Djordjadze."
His two step-children from wife Ria were George Anna "Jana" (b. circa 1913) and Alfred Lucas (b. circa 1919).
His widow, Kay Williams, was born August 7, 1917, and died in May of 1983.
He worked as a lumberman in the Willamette Valley of Oregon in the early 1920s. After a couple of months of doing that, he quit, saying that "the work was too hard" and he would rather act instead. He then left to go to Hollywood, where he began his acting career.
Gable and then future wife Carole Lombard first met in late 1924 while working as extras on the set of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925). They would make three films together as extras, Ben-Hur, The Johnstown Flood (1926) and _The Plastic Age (1925)_ and star together in No Man of Her Own (1932), but not become romantically attached until 1936.
Originally the image of Gable as an outdoors man was an invention of the studios, designed to bolster his masculine screen image during the early 1930s. However, he soon discovered that he enjoyed hunting, shooting and fishing, so the image swiftly became the reality.
Discouraged by his failure to progress in films, Gable tried the stage and became an employable actor, first in stock and eventually on Broadway, without acquiring real fame. When he returned to Hollywood in 1930 for another try at movie acting, his rugged good looks, powerful voice and charisma made him an overnight sensation as the villainous Rance Brett in his first sound picture, The Painted Desert (1931). Gable exploded onto the screen in a dozen 1931 releases, in small parts at first, but he was an established star by the end of the year. Soon his success threatened to eclipse every other star, including his rival Gary Cooper.
He was seriously considered to play Tarzan in Tarzan the Ape Man (1932), but he was deemed an unknown and Johnny Weissmuller was chosen instead.
So durable, he could play the same role in both an original (Red Dust (1932)) with Jean Harlow and Mary Astor, and its remake (Mogambo (1953)) with Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly.
When MGM remade Red Dust (1932) in 1953 as Mogambo (1953), Ava Gardner played the Jean Harlow part, Grace Kelly had the Mary Astor role, and Gable played his old part. Only Gable could fill Gable's shoes, even 21 years later.
Although he was never crowned #1 at the Box Office in the Top 10 Poll of Money-Making Stars, as ranked by Quigley Publications' annual survey of movie exhibitors, he made the list a then-record 15 times from 1932 to 1949, and a 16th time in 1955. Gable, "The King", was ranked in the top four of Box Office stars every year from 1934 to 1939 (the "Golden Age" of Hollywood), ranking #2 in 1934 and 1936 through 1938, inclusive, when he was topped by Shirley Temple. After ranking #3 at the Box Office in 1940, he slumped to #10 in 1941, a position he also held in 1942 and 1943. After returning from the war, he took the #7 spot in the Box Office poll in 1947 and 1948, before again slumping to #10 in 1949. He made his last appearance in the Top 10 in 1955, when he again placed #10.
Despite his rising popularity, Gable balked at playing gangsters and overtly callous characters, and was therefore very pleased to be cast in Red Dust (1932), the film that set the seal on his stardom.
Had to have almost all of his teeth extracted in 1933 due to pyorrhea. The infection would have killed him had he not been rushed to a private hospital for treatment.
1933: Underwent cosmetic surgery on his ears and teeth.
6/11/33: He was hospitalized for an infection of the gums the day before he was to begin shooting Dancing Lady (1933). He was hospitalized for several days, after which most of his teeth were extracted. Afterwards, he went on a vacation to Alaska and Canada with his wife, as it would take a couple of weeks for his gums to heal enough so he could be fitted for dentures. MGM shot around Gable until he returned and was fitted with a dental plate, but on July 30, after one day's shooting, the infection felled him again. In the days before antibiotics, the infection was so serious Gable's gall bladder was removed. Out another month, the film had to be shut down and went $150,000 over budget. MGM boss Louis B. Mayer docked Gable two weeks pay, which caused bad feelings between the studio and its top star. In order to teach him a lesson, Mayer lent him to Columbia Pictures, then a poverty-row studio, to make a comedy. The movie, Frank Capra's masterpiece It Happened One Night (1934), swept the Academy Awards the next year and brought Gable his only Oscar.
His father always opposed his decision to become an actor, and even after Gable became a major star he still denounced acting as a "sissy" occupation. Gable became a Freemason in 1933 just to please his father. However, he showed no grief when his father died aged 78 from a heart attack on 4 August 1948, having outlived his three wives.
When he was first cast in It Happened One Night (1934) opposite Claudette Colbert, he told director Frank Capra that he would give the role a shot, but if things weren't going well after a few days, he would leave the production.
Gave his Oscar for It Happened One Night (1934) to a child who admired it, telling him it was the winning of the statue that had mattered, not owning it. The child returned the Oscar to the Gable family after Clark's death.
Actress Judy Lewis is Clark's out-of-wedlock daughter by actress Loretta Young. The two had a romance during the filming of The Call of the Wild (1935).
Once named Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) as his favorite of his movies, despite the fact that he did not like his co-star Charles Laughton. He was also initially disappointed by the casting of Franchot Tone as Midshipman Byam since the two actors had been bitter rivals for the affections of Joan Crawford. However, during filming they became close friends.
On Easter weekend, 1935, Gable flew to Houston to give away step-daughter Jana in her marriage to Dr. Thomas Burke.
He separated from wife Maria ('Ria') in October, 1935.
He served as a pallbearer and usher at Jean Harlow's funeral in 1937.
1938: In a poll of entertainment readers, he was overwhelmingly selected "King of Hollywood" and was officially crowned by columnist Ed Sullivan.
Pictured on one of four 25¢ US commemorative postage stamps issued on 23 March 1990 honoring classic films released in 1939. The stamp features Gable and Vivien Leigh as Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind (1939). The other films honored were Beau Geste (1939), Stagecoach (1939) and The Wizard of Oz (1939).
1939: Part of Gable and Carole Lombard's honeymoon was spent at the Willows Inn in Palm Springs, CA. Today the Inn continues to operate and anyone can stay in the same room, which is largely unaltered since that time.
He disliked his most famous film Gone with the Wind (1939), which he regarded as "a woman's picture.".
In order to expedite divorce from his second wife Ria in order to marry Carole Lombard, Gable paid his ex-wife a $500,000 settlement in 1939, nearly everything he had at the time.
Turned down Cary Grant's role in The Philadelphia Story (1940) because he thought the film was too wordy.
He was highly patriotic, a staunch anti-communist and a firm believer in military intervention. Among the political leaders he admired were President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Sir Winston Churchill and King George VI. Until John Wayne's stardom eclipsed Gable's in the late 1940s, many Americans thought of Gable as THE American star.
1942: He enlisted in the army in honor of his late wife, Carole Lombard. She had been killed in a plane crash while on tour selling war bonds.
As head of the actors' division of the Hollywood Victory Committee, Gable sent his wife Carole Lombard on one of the first tours, in January 1942, to her home state of Indiana, where she sold $2 million worth of bonds. On the plane trip back to Hollywood the plane crashed, killing Lombard and her mother. Gable drank heavily for six months before enlisting as a private in the Army Air Corps. He served as a combat cameraman in Britain, rose to the rank of major, and eventually was furloughed to Fort Roach, as the First Motion Picture Unit headquarters came to be known. Gable's discharge papers were signed by Captain Ronald Reagan.
Although discharged from the US air force early in 1944, he refused to make another movie until the war had ended.
He was so disappointed by the critical and commercial failure of Adventure (1945) that he did not agree to make another film until more than a year had passed. Fortunately, The Hucksters (1947) proved to be a success and his performance was acclaimed.
1948: Proposed marriage to Nancy Davis.
In 1949 he served as a pallbearer at the funeral of director Victor Fleming, whom he considered something of a father figure.
In the 1950s Gable joined Walt Disney, John Wayne, James Stewart and other politically conservative entertainers to "assist" the House Un-American Activities Committee in its efforts to find alleged Communist infiltration in the film industry.
In the mid-1950s he started to receive television offers but rejected them outright, even though some of his peers, like his old flame Loretta Young, were flourishing in the new medium.
1952: His widow, Kay Williams, divorced her previous husband, Adolph Spreckels Jr., heir to the Spreckels Sugar fortune. In the divorce papers she alleged that he beat her with one of her slippers.
He was a conservative Republican, although his third wife Carole Lombard, a liberal Democrat, encouraged him to support President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal reforms. In February 1952 Gable addressed a televised rally at Madison Square Gardens in New York in support of the Republican candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower, and a few days before his death he voted by post for Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election.
Gable became increasingly unhappy with the mediocre roles offered him by MGM as a mature actor. He refused to renew his contract with them in 1953 and proceeded to work independently.
In 1955, he formed a production company with Jane Russell and her husband Bob Waterfield, and they produced The King and Four Queens (1956), the star's one and only production. The stress of making the film took such a toll on his health that Gable decided not to produce again.
Some sources say he turned down the role of Colonel William Travis in The Alamo (1960) because he didn't want to be directed by John Wayne. However this seems unlikely, since Travis was 26 at the time of the battle, and Gable would have been 58 when the movie was filmed.
Turned down Robert Mitchum's role in Home from the Hill (1960).
Although it is often claimed that Gable died as a result of Marilyn Monroe's behavior and performing his own stunts in The Misfits (1961), he was already in terrible health when filming began from years of excessive drinking and smoking more than three packs of cigarettes a day.
Playing a cowboy in his last film, The Misfits (1961), which was also the final film for co-star Marilyn Monroe, the aging Gable diligently performed his own stunts, taking its toll on his already guarded health. He died from a heart attack before the film was released.
Prior to making The Misfits (1961), he crash-dieted from a bloated 230 lbs. to 195 lbs. Twice in the previous decade he had suffered seizures that might have been heart attacks; once, ten years earlier, while driving along a freeway he had chest pains so severe that he had to pull off the road and lie down on the ground until he felt well enough to continue on.
Contrary to popular belief, Gable did not perform his own stunts in The Misfits (1961). He was only used for the close ups while a stunt double stood in for him in the long shots. His heart attack was caused by his lifestyle - thirty years of heavy smoking and drinking, plus his increasing weight in later years. It is also believed his crash diet before filming began may have been a contributing factor.
Director Howard Hawks had long intended to make Hatari! (1962) with Gable and John Wayne. However, by the time filming began Gable was already dead.
1970s: His Encino, CA, estate was subdivided and turned into a very upscale tract development called "Clark Gable Estates.".
Is portrayed by James Brolin in Gable and Lombard (1976), Bruce Hughes and Shayne Greenman in "Blonde" (2001), Charles Unwin in Lucy (2003) (TV), Larry Pennell in Marilyn: The Untold Story (1980) (TV), Edward Winter in The Scarlett O'Hara War (1980) (TV), Boyd Holister in Grace Kelly (1983) (TV) and Gary Wayne in Malice in Wonderland (1985) (TV).
Grandfather of Clark James Gable, who's the first child of his son John Clark Gable and his ex-wife Tracy Yarro. Clark James was born on September 10, 1988 at a hefty 10 lbs.
1995: Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#36).
1999: The American Film Institute named Gable among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, ranking at #7.
June 2004: As a native of Cadiz, OH, he was inducted into the Lou Holtz Museum/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame (www.LouHoltzHallOfFame.com).
Military records on celebrities released by the Pentagon in 2005 reveal that Gable, upon enlistment, was described as a "motion picture specialist" and his weekly wage was listed as $7,500. A movie cameraman, Andrew J. McIntyre, enlisted along with Gable and trained with him, the documents showed. "In order to have something definite to describe and some tangible evidence of his experiences, it is proposed that there be enlisted his cameraman to be trained as an aerial gunner also who may make pictures of Gable in various theaters of operations," one Army memo said.
Joined the Army Air Corps during the Second World War, and was commissioned an officer with service number 565390. Rose to the rank of captain and served primarily in Public Affairs, making training films and performing public relations visits to soldiers and airmen in Europe.