In the down time that I have that is not involving going to a movie, binge-watching a show, or reading a book, I thought why not look back at some of the iconic Hollywood relationships? Periodically, I will post a Hollywood couple and their journey, as a couple and as an individual.
At the age of 13, Carole Lombard, born Jane Alice Peters, starred in her first film, A Perfect Crime, as well as in numerous silent films. Despite the dramatic lifestyle changes during the time of the Great Depression, Lombard’s acting shined through. She played roles in many short comedic films, such as High Voltage. In 1930, she successfully landed a contract with Paramount Pictures after starring in The Arizona Kid– which bolted her in to dramatic roles too. Her popularity grew when she married William Powell in 1931, but the marriage only lasted two years.
The “King of Hollywood,” Clark Gable did not have it easy starting out in the movie industry. 16-year old Gable was inspired to act when he attended a play in his hometown in Ohio. With the death of his step-mother, he had to put his dream on hold and help his father in the oilfields of Oklahoma. After hitchhiking his way across the West, he met theater manager Josephine Dillon (17 years old than he) and they married shortly thereafter. She became his coach, and helped him get his teeth fixed and his hair styled. He had a hard time landing acting jobs, as producers thought his ears were too large for a leading man. Gable’s first speaking film was The Painted Desert, which MGM noticed and offered him a contract.
His career skyrocketed.
Some of Clark’s popular films include: It Happened One Night, Gone with the Wind, Mutiny on the Bounty, and The Misfits.
Carole and Clark met on the set of No Man of Her Own in 1932, when Lombard was still married to Powell. Their relationship did not grow until about four years later when they became reacquainted at a party. After that– they were inseparable. During the filming of Gone with the Wind, the two married in 1939 in Arizona. They were both each other’s one true love.
Tragedy struck on January 16, 1942 when a Transcontinental and Western Air Flight 3 crashed in to a mountain near Las Vegas. Carole, her mother, and press agent were on board that flight. 22 passengers lost their lives. Gable flew to the crash site to claim the bodies. Lombard was noted as the first American war-related female casualty of World War II. The cause of the crash was “pilot error.”
Following the death of his wife, Clark returned to making movies, but was noticeably devastated by it- physically and emotionally. He made 27 more films and re-married twice.
Gable joined the U.S. Army Air Force in 1942. He expressed interest in becoming a bomber and flew five combat missions and promoted to major in 1944, but was relieved of duty a couple months later as he was over-age for combat.
Clark became increasingly unhappy as the years progressed.
On November 6, 1960, Gable was sent to the hospital where doctors discovered he had suffered a heart attack. Newspapers reported that his condition seemed to be improving. The evening of November 16, he passed away from an arterial blood clot. There was speculation that the cause of his death was the strenuous work while filming The Misfits.
Some people wonder if it is possible to die from a broken heart. That is for one’s own self to decide. I hate to say that that may have been what occurred here with Clark Gable and Carole Lombard.