clark gable the misfits

Today, November 16, marks 56 years since Clark Gable passed away at the age of 59. You can read about his death and funeral here.

Below are the past years memorial tributes:

2015: Marilyn Monroe and John Huston Remember Clark Gable

2014: Goodbye, Mr. Gable (Clark’s final days, as told by his widow)

2013: In Memory

2012: Goodbye, Mr. Gable (Time Magazine)

2011: Hollywood Loses Its King

2010: In Tribute

2009: Rest in Peace


This newspaper article ran across the country on November 17:

Gable is Gone–And There is No One to Replace Him

by Vernon Scott

News of the death late Wednesday of Clark Gable, 59-year-old idol of the motion picture world, brought tearful, stunned reactions from actors and others around the world. The telephone at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital switchboard was overloaded with calls from across the United States and from Europe.

One of those calling was Gary Cooper. Another was veteran director John Huston who cried on the telephone and said, “Tell Kay if she needs me I’ll be right here (at his hotel).”

Ann Sothern also called, offering whatever help she could to the grieving widow.

In Lausanne, Switzerland, actor George Sanders said, “I knew him quite well. I am very unhappy to hear of his death. He will be a great loss to the motion picture industry.”

It’s Terrible News

Sophia Loren, who costarred with Gable in “It Started in Naples,” gasped, “I am so shocked I can hardly breathe. This is really terrible news.”

Mickey Rooney said, “it’s a deep shock both to myself and the entire motion picture industry. I used to see him from time to time…he was a great star.”

Movie director Walter Wagner said Clark Gable’s death “will be mourned by the entire world.” Wanger, in London to direct “Cleopatra,” said Gable, “not only was a Hollywood great, but was a personification of everything that makes the motion picture industry great.”

Alone And Apart

Clark stood alone and apart from a community populated with inflated egos. No matter the factions, petty feuds and gossip that swirled around King Clark, he was much-beloved by those who knew him. He had no enemies.

His last co-star, Marilyn Monroe, typified Hollywood’s regard for the man early this month when she completed work with him.

“Clark, I found out, is a real king. It was an honor working with him,” she said on the final day of shooting “The Misfits.”

This feeling for the big guy penetrated throughout the industry. Grips, cameramen, electricians and all the others who help make movies were devoted to him.

Was Always Available

I had known the man and the actor for more than 12 years. He was always available to newsmen and concerned with helping them get a story. His attitude was personal and engaging.

To everyone who approached him, Clark flashed his warm grin. He gave you the feeling that at that particular moment you were the most important person he knew.

And it was sincere.

He worked hard at putting people at ease, whether they were visiting tourists on the set or an assistant prop man fidgeting around him just before a “take.”

Gable exuded masculinity. In his presence women became more feminine and men experienced a rare camaraderie. It was a magical quality about which he seemed entirely unaware.

First On the Set

More than 200 newsmen played bit parts with him 2 1/2 years ago in “Teacher’s Pet,” and we discovered the meaning of “the old pro” during the film. He invariably was the first actor on the set at 8am, in costume, makeup complete and with his lines memorized.

While other stars complained about lighting, unflattering camera angles and battled with directors, Gable held his peace.

He believed an actor should take direction and leave the script and technical supervision in the hands of the professionals.

If he found fault with co-stars and fellow workers he kept his thoughts to himself.

“This is business, like any other,” he once told me, “I’m an actor, not a genius. I do what they tell me and it works out pretty well.”

Devoted to His Wife

Gable cherished his private life and was devoted to his fifth wife, the former Kay Spreckels, and her two children.

“Those kids are the greatest thing that ever happened to me. It’s almost as if they were my own,” he said earlier this year.

He had no illusions about his age and decided last year to leave romantic young lovers to the likes of Rock Hudson. “My days of playing dashing young heroes is over,” he told me recently.

“I don’t think the public likes watching older guys wooing leading ladies half their age. I don’t like it myself. The actresses I started out with 30 years ago have long since quit playing glamor girls. Now it’s time I acted my age–59 years old.”

Other Stars Became Fans

Gable was the movie star’s movie star. His appearance at a party or a premiere sent a tingle through the crowd. Other stars became fans in his presence. His natty mustache, the crows feet etched around his eyes and his lopsided grin were his trademark, both on and off the screen.

He had hoped to continue his career in character roles, patterning his future after that of his friend Spencer Tracy, whom he considered the greatest actor of his time.

Clark first was called “King” during his marriage to Carole Lombard when they were Hollywood’s reigning couple/

The “King” sonbriquet referred to his unequaled magnetism at the box office. But with the years the nickname “King”–which amused him–was applied to Gable, the actor, the gentleman, the warm human being.

The King is dead of a heart attack, and today Hollywood discovered there is no one to take his place. And the belief is that no one ever will.

clark gable the misfits