Death and Funeral
After a long and tedious shooting schedule for The Misfits, Clark was ready for a rest. He was set on not doing another movie until after his child was born, in March. On November 6, 1960, he spent what would be his final day at his beloved ranch. He toiled away the day working with his hunting dog, playing with the children, and relaxing. He told Kay he felt tired and went to bed early. He tossed and turned all night. At about 8:00am, Kay awakened to see Clark standing in the doorway, pale and sweating. “Ma, I have a terrible pain.” he said simply. He told her not to worry, he thought it was indigestion and that he didn’t need a doctor. Kay disagreed and sent for a doctor right away. The instant the doctor arrived and saw Clark, he called for an ambulance.
He was diagnosed with coronary thrombosis and was admitted to the hospital. Kay stayed in an adjoining room and rarely left his bedside. The doctors seemed confident he would recover but warned he would have to rest for a few months before he could resume his normal activities. Kay brought him books and read him the many telegrams and letters he received from people all over the world. Clark borrowed the doctor’s stethoscope and listened to his baby’s heartbeat. “You must have Mr. America in there,” he told Kay.
“The tenth day makes all the difference to a heart patient,” Kay was told by the doctor. She was becoming confident in Clark’s recovery on that tenth day, as he was in good spirits. The hospital barber came and gave him a shave. after which she and Clark had dinner together in his room. She felt her angina (Kay had ongoing heart problems) acting up and decided to lay down but told him she would be back to drink buttermilk with him before bed.
Next thing Kay knew she was being awakened by Dr. Robert Clark, her obstetrician, who was accompanied by a sobbing nurse. He was trying to tell her that Clark was gone. “What?….I must go to him,” Kay struggled to her feet. They tried to stop her and offer her sedatives but she pushed them aside and went to her husband’s room, where he lay, motionless. He was apparently joking with the nurse and then started reading a magazine. Suddenly he closed his eyes, leaned his head back against the pillow, and died, at 10:50pm on November 16, 1960.
Kay could not be consoled and held him in her arms, sobbing, for two hours. Afterward she was guided down a back staircase and whisked away, back to the ranch, before the gaggle of reporters outside could get to her.
Gable’s Death Certificate
Gable’s Hospital Bill
Listen to a newsreel of Gable’s death