Clark Gable & Carole Lombard: The Golden Era of Hollywoods Star-Crossed Couple by Charles River Editors*Includes pictures.
*Includes Lombard and Gables quotes about their lives and careers.
*Comprehensively analyzes their film careers.
*Includes a bibliography for further reading.
*Includes a table of contents.
“The only reason they come to see me is that I know that life is great — and they know I know it.“ – Clark Gable
“Carole Lombards tragic death means that something of gaiety and beauty have been taken from the world at a time they are needed most.“ – Errol Flynn
The 1930s were also a time in which Hollywood boasted an unprecedented array of famous leading men. Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, James Stewart, and Fred Astaire were just a handful of the A-list stars of the decade, and it is in this context that the achievements of Clark Gable are particularly remarkable. Best known for his role in Gone With the Wind (1939), Gable reached the ranks of the Hollywood elite well before the end of the decade through acting in films such as It Happened One Night (1934) and Mutiny on the Bounty (1935). Gable had a unique appeal that captivated Depression-era audiences; while Cary Grant offered a sophisticated charm and Fred Astaire was tied to the musical genre, Gable brought an air of sophistication that was less comical than that of Grant and appealed to both genders, unlike Astaire. At a time when so many Americans were financially destitute, Gable managed to appear classy without coming across as snobbish. At the same time, his virile masculinity was not overly macho or misogynist. For these reasons, Gable was able to captivate male and female viewers alike, and his mass appeal was a driving force behind the commercial success of Gone With the Wind, possibly the most beloved Hollywood film ever made. As iconic director John Huston once stated, “Clark Gable was the only real he-man Ive ever known, of all the actors Ive met.”
Even if Gable is perhaps less widely-known than Grant or Astaire among 21st century audiences, examining the effect he had on viewers during the 1930s and 1940s allows a better understanding of Hollywood during its Golden Age. In conjunction with that, his career served as a sort of response to his upbringing and cultural background. In fact, there was a significant gap between his glamorous roles on the movie screen and the real-life adversity he faced from an early age. Gable faced great challenges throughout his entire career, from the death of his biological mother to the death of wife Carol Lombard in 1942. As with any famous actor, he was the recipient of great fortune, yet it is important to recognize that his many opportunities did not preclude him from experiencing great pain and tragedy.
On January 16, 1942, just a few weeks after Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II, the nation suffered what were considered the first civilian deaths of the war when a plane crashed into the side of a mountain southwest of Las Vegas. Aboard the plane were 15 servicemen, but the plane was also carrying one of Hollywood’s biggest stars: actress Carole Lombard.
Although Lombard’s death and her marriage to Gone With the Wind star Clark Gable have overshadowed her career, her untimely death in 1942 cut short the life of one of Hollywood’s most prominent stars at the time. In fact, Lombard’s platinum look and her unique mannerisms had helped her become the biggest star of the screwball genre by the end of the 1930s, and her movies were so successful that she was the highest paid actress in Hollywood by the start of the 1940s. As English critic Graham Greene said of her, Platinum blonde, with a heart-shaped face, delicate, impish features and a figure made to be swathed in silver lamé, Lombard wriggled expressively through such classics of hysteria as Tw
1942: What the Loss of Carole Lombard Means to Clark Gable
At the time, Clark, then 31, was married to Houston socialite Maria Langham. Lombard, just 24, was in an unhappy marriage of her own, with actor William Powell of The Thin Man fame. Strictly professional, the heartthrob and the high-paid actress didn't allow any romantic connection to develop between them. At least not at the time, anyway. Four years later, the two stars reunited at an event for Hollywood's elite.
He was the king of the movies. She was the queen of Screwball Comedies and together they endured a glorious marriage that was to last forever until tragedy tore them apart. A lot has been said about the marriage between Carole Lombard and Clark Gable. For a marriage that lasted not even three years, the real life partnership between Clark Gable and Carole Lombard has become the most talked about subject in cinema history. At the time neither Gable or Lombard were fully established in motion pictures. The Johnstone Flood failed to make a dent on either stars resumes and even though the two played small cameo roles in the film, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were required on the set on different days and were never introduced. Fast forward to six years later.
She was particularly noted for her energetic, often off-beat roles in the screwball comedies of the s. She was the highest-paid star in Hollywood in the late s. Lombard was born into a wealthy family in Fort Wayne , Indiana , but was raised in Los Angeles by her single mother. At 12, she was recruited by the film director Allan Dwan and made her screen debut in A Perfect Crime Eager to become an actress, she signed a contract with the Fox Film Corporation at age 16, but mainly played bit parts. She was dropped by Fox after a car accident left a scar on her face.