Clark died fifty years ago today, at the age of 59, leaving behind him 66 films, legions of fans, hundreds of shocked friends and a devastated pregnant fifth wife.

Here is a piece by famed Hollywood gossip columnist (and longtime friend of Clark’s) Louella Parsons:

fr18 louella parsons 

Goodbye to My Dear Friend

I still can’t believe he is gone, although reams and reams of copy have been written about his death, more than has appeared about many heads of State.

Since that heartbreaking moment, a few minutes after he died on the night of [November 16] at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, when I was awakened by the shocking message, “Clark is dead”–there has been an unshakable feeling of unreality about his loss I have seldom felt about any other actor, no matter how close the friendship.

In the first place, Clark was the healthiest person I have ever known. He never even caught colds. During the thirty years I knew him, I never knew of his entering a hospital–even for a check-up–except once when he had his appendix removed. Then, he recovered so fast the nurses almost had to chain him down to keep him in bed.

For all his fifty-nine years, Clark carried his vitality, strength, he-manliness, and radiant health right up to the last eleven days of his life. And his personality abounded with good humor, jokes, laughter.

You don’t think of a man like this as dead–perhaps I never shall.

After those first tears of shock and grief had been shed, I read and re-read reports of the last minutes of his life:

The hospital was quiet. Visitors had left the floor. His beautiful and devoted Kay, carrying his only child, had dined with him, sat and talked until she noticed Clark was drowsy, and then she tiptoed across the hall to her room to retire. Clark’s private nurse watched her safely inside, then turned to her patient who seemed to be recovering so rapdily from his heart attack of ten days previous. It was a bare second to 11:00pm.

“He just put his arms behind his head, slowly leaned back against his pillows, sighed gently–and died.”

The thought comes to me that Clark died much as he had lived–no fuss, no big production, no dramatics.

The King is dead–and there is no hailing another, because there will never be another career like his. Or a star like Clark Gable.


For more on Clark’s death and funeral, visit here.

There are also several pictures from Clark’s funeral in the gallery.

Rest in peace.