William Clark Gable (February 1, 1901 – November 16, 1960) was an American film actor, and the biggest box-office star of the early sound film era. He was born in Cadiz, Ohio. When he was seven months old, his mother died. At the age of 16 he left high school and started to work in a factory. After seeing a play which impressed him, he made the decision to become an actor. He started to tour with several second class theater companies, and worked also as a salesman and in the industry.
In 1924 he went to Hollywood with the financial aid of theater manager Josephine Dillon, who was more than 10 years older than he was and became both his manager and his first wife. He acted in small roles and returned to the theater, until in 1930 he finally signed a contract with MGM. In the following years he acted in several pictures which soon made him become a megastar, earning the title of "King of Hollywood".
Gable won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his 1934 performance in the film It Happened One Night. He is, however, best-known for his performance as Rhett Butler in the 1939 classic Gone With the Wind, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. A few years before, he had also earned an Academy Award nomination for his role as Fletcher Christian in 1935's Mutiny on the Bounty. In addition, Gable was one of the few actors to appear in three films that have won an Academy Award for Best Picture.
Gable's marriage in 1939 to his third wife, actress Carole Lombard, was reportedly the happiest episode in his personal life, but it ended with her death in a plane crash in 1942. He was deeply grieved and joined the U.S. Army Air Force. His first movie after returning from service in WWII was the 1945 production of Adventure. It was not really successful, and MGM did not renew his contract in view of his high salary. During the next ten years, he made films which did not match the quality of his earlier roles.
His second wife had been Texas socialite Rhea Langham Davis, and his fourth was actress Sylvia, Lady Sheffield, a British divorcée who also was the widow of Douglas Fairbanks. His fifth wife, married after an on-again, off-again affair spanning 13 years, was Kathleen Williams Capps de Alzaga Spreckels, a thrice-married former fashion model and stock actress from the town of North East, Pennsylvania. She was the mother of Gable's posthumous son and only legitimate child, John Clark Gable, born in 1961; she also had two children from her third marriage, Joan and Adolph Spreckels 3rd.
While married to his wife, Ria, Clark Gable and actress, Loretta Young, had a child out-of-wedlock, Judy Lewis, whom Young raised as an adopted child, in order to keep it from becoming a scandal.
Gable's last film was The Misfits, which also featured Marilyn Monroe in her last screen performance. Gable died in 1960 of a massive heart attack in Los Angeles, at the age of 59. He was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California, beside his beloved wife Carole Lombard.This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Clark Gable".