Happy Birthday to dear Carole Lombard Gable, born today in 1908!

carole lombard

I don’t think anyone has ever questioned why Clark Gable would fall for Carole. After all, who else but Carole…

Looks adorable while putting on waders?

carole lombard waders

And hunting gear?

carole lombard

But yet can doll up and be the most glamorous woman in Hollywood?

carole lombard

Stays very friendly with her ex-husband?

william powell carole lombard

Makes everyone laugh, even David Selznick?

carole lombard david selznick

Beats up Robert Montgomery with roses?

carole lombard robert montgomery

Makes no apologies for how much she loves her dogs?

carole lombard dog

And goats?

carole lombard goat

And horses?


And chickens?

carole lombard

Jumps fences in pajamas?

carole lombard

Even makes a goofball out of Charles Laughton?

carole lombard charles laughton

Looks pretty no matter what face she makes?

carole lombard

Made Clark Gable so deliriously happy?

clark gable carole lombard

Happy Birthday, dear Ma!

1. HappyBirthday.mp3     

clark gable carole lombard

From December 1936:

Hollywood seems to spend most of its spare time practical joking. When Clark Gable arrived at a radio studio the other night to play George Washington in an air version of Valley Forge, he found his dressing room littered with cherry trees and miniature axes, while on the mirror was a sign proclaiming him the “Father of His Country.” It was suspected to be the work of Carole Lombard. Gable retorted by sending her a sixpenny pop-gun for her birthday.

clark gable carole lombard

From August 1937:

Of course, I’m not one to gossip, but they do say that the Lombard girl waited at the MGM studio till two o’clock the other morning for Clark Gable, who was having a long session in front of the cameras. That, in Hollywood, is love….

The burning question of the moment is, “Will Carole marry Clark?” The Lombard-Gable affair has been a headline romance for some time now. their friendship began back in 1933, when they appeared together in No Man of Her Own. Carole at the time did have a man of her own (she was married to William Powell), and no whisper of romance came from the set. Apart from the fact that Hollywood thought he took it like a good sport when his co-star publicly presented him, in his hour of triumph a the Chinese Theatre premiere, with a large ham, with his picture pasted firmly on the wrapper, the association arroused no comment at all. They parted at the evend of the picture just two artistes who had done a job of work together and Gable’s name was in no way involved when shortly afterwards she got a divorce from Powell.

Neither, it must be clearly understood, was Carole’s when Clark and rhea Gable separated.

Their romance really began at a “gag” party thrown by Jock Whitney in 1936. Carole contributed to the gaiety of the proceedings by arriving in an ambulance and being carried into the house on a stretcher. Gable was there. They got together and had so much fun, that they made another date. A week later he was driving round Hollywood in a battered white Ford car with a large red heart painted on it and the whole town was talking. Carole had sent it to him on St. Valentine;s Day. Tied around the body was a huge red ribbon with a card reading: “To my Valentine, from Carole Lombard.” Since then they have been inseparable. But will it end in marriage with roses round the door and, perhaps, the patter of little footsteps in the hall, or will it just be another of those things? Hollywood can only guess. Both stars have steadfastly refused to discuss the romance. Gable, moreover, though living apart from his wife, is still married. There are complicated legal formalities to be faced (mostly in connection with the property settlement, a difficult business where film contracts are concerned) before he will be free.

Moreover Carole is a play girl; she likes the gay social life. Gable does not, though he has, at her side, thrown himself cheerfully into the party whirl in the past months.

Some of the gossips declare that he won’t keep up the Lombard pace for long.

And, it is pointed out,  this is not exactly the first rosy picture of love’s young dream for either of them. Clark has been married twice. Carole has loved both William Powell and Russ Colombo, to whom she was engaged at the time of his death.

On the other hand, the affair has already lasted a long time as Hollywood affairs go and there;s the evidence of that two a.m. wait…

clark gable carole lombard bob cobb gail patrick

From July 1941:

It’s kind of cute on Carole Lombard’s part. Because she is so happy living on a ranch, every time someone has a birthday she sends him or her a complete western outfit. Carole and Clark are looking for huge acreage in Northern California. The Fred MacMurrays are interested too. They may buy together and build on adjoining properties. The MacMurrays want to raise citrus fruit. Clark and Carole want to raise among other things, cattle.

clark gable carole lombard horse

From January 1938:

Hollywood’s cut-ups and the most mysterious people, when they want to be, are putting up a swell “whodunnit” all of their own. Naturally, I’m speaking of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. One day, a horse named “Clarcarol” appeared from nowhere on the listings. It only took about half a guess to find out who owned this animal. As yet, the proud hope of Lombard-Gable Inc., hasn’t had a real tryout, but if it has half the spirit of its co-owners, who somehow can’t talk about “Clarcarol,” the little beastie is sure to go places. Of course, Clark is no newcomer to the game, for he had “Beverly Hills.” After dismal attempts to get the horse to win or even place once in a while, Clark decided to turn her into an actress. But before he had time to put her into the picture, “Saratoga,” she was with foal and had to retire. 

clark gable carole lombard

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were married 76 years ago today, on March 29, 1939. After three years of will-they-or-won’t-they, America’s favorite couple had made it official. I usually post this on their anniversary, but instead of me telling the tale of their wedding day, it’s best coming from Clark Gable himself, don’t you think?

“It has been written since then that Carole and I had that wedding day planned out for months in advance, but that’s not true. It happened this way. On the afternoon of March 28, I was finished with my scenes [in Gone with the Wind] about three in the afternoon. While I was taking off my make-up, the assistant director came over and said I didn’t need to work the next day. I called Carole at once and with the aid of a close friend, we headed put that night to Kingman, Arizona. We took Otto along, not only to untangle any difficulties we might get into, but because he had a new car without license plates which meant we wouldn’t be spotted.

We were married at three-thirty that afternoon and left at five-thirty, getting home the next morning at three. Carole’s mother was there, all excited, which kept us up till five. Finally we got to sleep, only to be awakened at nine to discover forty cameramen, three newsreel men and twenty reporters waiting out in the front yard to interview us. Under the circumstances, David [Selznick] gave me another day off.”

This famous pair was wed without much fanfare, without pretense, him in a simple suit and patterned tie, her in a skirt suit and polka dot blouse. And no newlyweds ever looked happier.

clark gable carole lombard

In celebration, here’s what people had to say about this gloriously happy pair:

“Carole Lombard, the frosty-faced trigger-tongued court jester in the Cinema Kingdom of Graustark, had to keep her mouth shut for two weeks in 1925 because of an accident. Her injury didn’t hurt her much, but the imposition of silence nearly killed her and she’s been trying to make up for lost time ever since.

She talks so fast, so much and so cleverly that Clark Gable, her husband and by legal rights the master of the manor, scarcely can slip a word in sideways even if he wants to. And he usually doesn’t try, for he likes to listen to and laugh with his wife, the firecracker girl who talks a man’s language, including a few oaths, on occasion.

It’s a winning marital combination—two happy people who do just as they please but never bruise anybody or anything. It’s been a long haul with the Gables, a mighty rough road and a high grade, but now they have what they want—fame and each other.” ~journalist James Street

“Clark and Carole were down-to-earth people…They didn’t act like movie stars. I loved being with them.” ~aviator Paul Mantz, technical adviser on Test Pilot

“If a sense of humor, not to mention practical jokes, is a sign of a good marriage, the union of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard is as stable as that of King George and Queen Elizabeth. As far as the practical joking goes, Mr. and Mrs. Gable follow the pattern of the typical American marriage. That is, Carole is usually the ribber, Clark is the ribbee.” ~journalist Henry Pringle

“Carole was one of teh smartest women I knew. She knew what she wanted and knew how to handle it. When she made up her mind she wanted Clark Gable and nobody else, wanted him one thousand percent. She didn’t want to take him and mold him like all the other gals had done (they made a great mistake, you know). She wanted to be his wife. She was a boudoir girl, but for him she just ran outdoors. She did everything with him he wanted to do all his life. They played. The only playmate he’d ever had in his life was Carole. I say, he was still a little boy from Cadiz, Ohio when Carole got him. You know, they say you can’t take the country out of the boy…and Clark was a hick kid at heart. He became very sophisticated later on, Carole did everything did for Clark.” ~Howard Strickling

clark gable carole lombard

“If they are not happy, then they are better performers at home than on the screen. In Hollywood, where gossiping is a profession and scandal-mongering is a craft, the Gables have been spared the darts that usually are hurled at the folks who live in the goldfish bowls.” ~journalist James Street

“Carole still can surprise me. But Clark always seems to anticipate what she’s going to do. She stood by while my baby was being born, completely adequate except that she turned pretty white. And when I asked Clark if this hadn’t amazed him—as it had me—he shook his head and grinned. It was the same when the floods came. While Clark was throwing chains and blankets into the station wagon, Carole was loading it with food and thermos jugs of milk and coffee. When he started off to pull out neighbors who were in trouble, there she was sitting up beside him. And he was grinning again—the same way.” ~Fieldsie Lang

“Thanks to Carole, life became highly entertaining to Gable. He never knew, from day to day, what new thing would appear. And now that they are married, he still doesn’t know. What’s more, marriage hasn’t changed her. Her closet is still stocked with overalls, slacks, gingham garden dresses and hunting suits. She wanted Gable, so she worked hard at getting him. But it was always honest work. She never posed as anything she wasn’t—and she was completely natural. The result is a perfect marriage.” ~journalist Eleanor Harris

clark gable carole lombard

“Clark’s first anniversary gift to his bride, or one of many gifts, was a beautiful gown which he had Adrian design especially for her. Although the material was rich and sheer and shimmering, the design was all done in newspaper headlines…such headlines as: “PARSONS PANS LOMBARD! LOMBARD FLOPS AGAIN! LOMBARD LIMITED—AND HOW! CRITICS CAUTERIZE CAROLE!” et cetera. But she got back at Pappy for this one, did Mammy…for when her old pal, Fieldsie, now Mrs. Walter Lang, gave a swank anniversary party for the Gableses, Mrs. G. wore the gown to the party!” ~journalist Gladys Hall

clark gable carole lombard

“To be with Clark and Carole was like spending the day in the sun.” ~Andy Devine


clark gable carole lombard ranch house

From September 1941:

The beautiful ranch home of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard is for sale. The asking price is to be $130,000. The reason? The Gables have bought a ranch in Ventura county. They plan to build there and raise about 1200 head of cattle. They’d  like to make only one picture a year, preferably both at the same time. During that period they’d rent an apartment in Beverly Hills. And once upon a time Carole was known as a party girl!


The ranch was on and off the market in 1941. After Carole’s death, Clark put it back up for sale, but could never bring himself to sell it. It was the last home for both of them.

clark gable carole lombard

From April 1940:

1940 is going to be a great year for husband wife teams. Joan Blondell and Dick Powell start things going in April when they co-star in “I Want a Divorce” for Paramount. Then Metro will follow with a picture co-starring Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, and another with Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck.


Shame that never happened!