If She Wants Him, She’ll Get Him!
By Charles Poole
Motion Picture magazine, December 1949
If Paulette Goddard makes up her mind to become Mrs. Clark Gable, the most eligible man in Hollywood might just as well stop struggling. Goddard never misses!
You have read a lot, and you will probably read a good deal more in the papers about the romance between Paulette Goddard and Clark Gable. But no matter what your opinion on the subject, bear this in mind:
“If Paulette Goddard wants Clark Gable, she will get him!”
If Paulette has any desire to become Mrs. Gable, the most eligible male in all Hollywood might just as well stop struggling and practice washing dishes and such. Goddard never misses.
Woman has the reputation for being the most blabbermouth creature in existence. Actually, that is not true. History has proved that woman is the closest-mouthed thing in the world, including the clam, when she wants to be. Hollywood history has proved that Paulette Goddard is the tightest-lipped member of her sex that ever lived. To ask Paulette Goddard, personally, about her romance with Clark Gable and her intentions as far as he is concerned would be just as effective as asking the elm tree on your front lawn what he feels for the oak lady next door. From Goddard you will get a sweet, knowing smile, but Paulette gives everyone a sweet, knowing smile when they ask her about anything.
Research, then, is the only approach to this problem. And research bears out the contention that there is a romance between these two beautiful people—and that the outcome depends entirely on the whim of Miss Goddard.
Cagey hints at inside information by the columnists would have you believe that Goddard and Gable met last summer at a Hollywood party, and that long warm glances passes across cocktail glasses saying eloquently, “Why haven’t we two met before?” These speculations are off by several years. Clark and Paulette met for the first time ten years ago, in 1939, when Paulette was working at MGM in The Women. They became friends, but nothing more because both had other commitments at the time. They met again a few years ago, at a party it is true, but under rather dramatic circumstances.
It was a foggy night. Gable was driving through Bentwood on his way home when another car came charging toward him on the wrong side of the road. Clark hit the ditch, skidded across a wide lawn and came to a halt with his front bumper well up on the porch of a large house. A party was in progress, but in thirty seconds the guests were all on the lawn to see what happened. Paulette was one of the guests, and Clark became one immediately. After all, how often does Clark Gable run into the front of your house when you have friends in? Paulette and Clark had a grand time that night, and even though circumstances kept them separated until this summer, they never forgot it.
Then came the Hollywood party the columnists tell you about. It was one of those large affairs that everyone who is anyone in Hollywood attends. Across the cocktail glasses, Gable saw Goddard and Goddard saw Gable. For the first time in ten years there was nothing to stand in the way of their getting together. So they got together. It was as simple as that. Then came the secrecy for which Paulette is so famous. Although rumors of a wild passion filled the town, the only glimpses of the lovers together were occasional and quick flashes of them driving down a quiet road, and that highly publicized picture taken at the airport when Gable saw her off to Mexico.
However, when they were both in Hollywood, Paulette saw Clark every day. They dined together, swam together, ran home movies together and laughed together most of their waking hours for a couple of months. Then, they tell me, there was a bit of a tiff. Paulette showed up at Rosarita Beach, a resort in Southern California, one weekend and by accident or design director John Huston was there too. Spies tell me Gable was morose. Other spies say that is just about the time that Clark got the hook securely set in his gills, and that from that time on all Paulette has to do is reel in when she wants to land him.
Gable’s devotion since then has been steady and apparent. He has made a quick trip south of the border to see her, and he has not denied that his intentions are completely honorable. Neither has Paulette denied that she is interested in something more permanent than a tender friendship. However, she has not confirmed it, and she won’t until she decides whether or not she’d like to be Mrs. Gable.
Paulette Goddard, one of the most popular and most written-about women in the world, has a long record of secrecy in matters concerning her personal life as well as her heart. It has never been publicly stated that she was married to Charles Chaplin. However, it can be confirmed that she was divorced from him, for the papers and the settlement that made her a rich woman were seen once by an associate for a brief seven seconds. This associate tells me that the papers were in English, which would indicate that the decree was granted somewhere in a British colony during the famous yachting trip with the comedian. It also is not widely known that the Chaplins are probably Paulette’s closest friends, and not the bitter enemies reported so many times.
Such simple matters as her real name, her place of birth, the identity of her real father, the schools she went to, the way she broke into show business and numerous other incidentals are things that Paulette never has given a straight answer on. Paulette has made more than thirty pictures at most of the major studios and yet there is not a biography writer in the industry who can certify the facts in the publicity he writes about her. Her name is in the columns as much as any other star, but no mention has ever been made of the most torrid romance of her life—because the columnists knew nothing about it, even though it lasted two years.
It was before Paulette married Burgess Meredith. She was a star at Paramount, and he was a top figure in the movie industry. He was married but separated from his wife. Paulette was free. The wife was taking her time about applying for a divorce and the man was in no position to press the matter. He talked to Paulette as many as twenty times a day on the telephone and dined with her every evening, alone. He was madly in love with her—and she was insane about him. Then Paulette unexpectedly married Burgess Meredith. The movie executive cried when he heard but it was too late. His wife later divorced him and he is now married again.
Paulette Goddard’s secrecy is further demonstrated by the shock her marriage to Meredith gave her enamored friend and the rest of her acquaintances. She has been a friend of Meredith for some time. When he went into the army Paulette offered to look after his business interests. Being probably the most astute business woman in America, Paulette efficiently supervised everything, including a chicken farm in Connecticut that she operated from Hollywood. At what point romance crept into the association is something only Paulette can say, but one day she decided she wanted to be Mrs. Burgess Meredith and that’s all it took to make it happen.
Have you ever heard of an Army Air Force captain named Jack Vitour? You haven’t? he was one of Paulette’s boyfriends right in Hollywood. They were inseparable for a time and yet his name never appeared in the papers. Another Goddard secret. Ever hear Paulette’s name linked with that of a very rich Mexican official? Well, it could have been if Paulette hasn’t chosen to keep it a secret. They say he showered her with priceless jewels and that she has a home in Acapulco today that was a gift from him. This must have been a difficult secret to keep because he visited her in Hollywood innumerable times and his importance made his name and his movements of vital public interest.
Did you ever hear that Paulette Goddard very nearly became Mrs. Harry Hopkins? Well, she did. It was, of course, before Hopkins was married to Louise Macy. When she was not making a picture during that period of her romantic life she went to Washington and stayed at the White House as his guest. And with all the newshounds casing Washington during those hot Roosevelt days, it is a miracle and a tribute to her talent for secrecy that not a word of this romance made the public prints.
And do you know why Paulette didn’t marry these men? She just didn’t want them. But she had all of them hanging on the ropes. During her adult years, Paulette Goddard has had more important, top-grade, eligible men paying court to her than any woman in the world. And if you want to go back a few years you can include Cleopatra and Lola Montez.
Paulette Goddard also thinks that her film life is nothing more than a job and that after the whistle blows her life is her own, and she will go to any lengths to keep the two separate. In the matter of men she will give you any answer but the right one. In the matter of men, also, she knows her talents and appeal. If she likes a man she doesn’t care if he’s a king or a bootblack. And she doesn’t care if he’s handsome or not. Her reactions and judgments are primitive, basic, and probably right.
What happens in Paulette’s future will be decided by her. If she wants a man, and that includes Gable, she knows she can have him and she’ll take him when she’s good and ready. If this sounds cold-blooded, I’ve given the wrong impression. No woman could have lived her life and has as many serious affections without being all woman, soft and cuddly and feminine as a flower inside. That is probably what Clark Gable would have to see in a woman before anything else.
He saw it and he wants it. Paulette is without a doubt very much smitten. Even if handsome men aren’t your greatest passion, if you’re a woman you just couldn’t tally Gable with ordinary men and neither can Paulette. Maybe Paulette is gathering a trousseau at this very minute, or maybe she’s had it in a hidden trunk for some time. We’ll never know until one day we read it in the papers, when Paulette gets ready to tell us—if she ever does.
Aside from love, I can think of one good reason why Paulette should say yes to Gable. She wouldn’t have to change a single monogrammed towel. PG works either way.