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!

carole lombard

Carole Lombard Gable died 73 years ago today, at the young age of 33. Her sudden death in a plane crash shocked the nation, stunned Hollywood and devastated her husband.

This article that was published a few months after Carole’s death,  appears in the Article Archive, What the Loss of Carole Lombard Means to Clark Gable:


Gable was working on that fateful afternoon of January 16, 1942. He felt wonderful about it. He’d had five months lay-off since the production of “Honky Tonk,” the longest vacation he’d experienced since his first real click in 1931. It was swell to be back and he liked the new picture. It was called “Somewhere I’ll Find You.”

Gable had also, that afternoon, finished up his sixth day of separation from Carole Lombard, the longest time they two had parted since that flashing night in 1936 when they’d met at the white Mayfair call and had fallen hilariously in love. Now it was keen to be getting Carole back again. He had not known, until they went through that Monday-to-Friday stretch, how intensely he could miss her.

He was mighty proud of that vivid wife of his. She had been over in her hometown of Indianapolis, selling defense bonds for what she, typically, called “the best damned land there is.” And had she sold them! She’d hit the town in a blaze of glamour and nicked it for some $2,017,513 worth of patriotism.

Ever since the war began, he and Carole had been restless. Carole was really the family thinker. He was the natural doer and he’d had some lousy moments since the studio had told him that he simply could not enlist. He couldn’t talk about it generally. It looked like publicity stuff to let it be known how wild he was to get into service, so he had told the studio to shut up about it. They had had to do a lot of talking to dissuade him from joining up. Even when they had wished Lowell Mellett, out from Washington, on him and Mellett had said that Gable’s real job was to provide entertainment, to keep up morale by his comedy and his dame appeal, plus paying his gigantic taxes, he’d been only half-persuaded. Now Carole had scooped him on the bond-selling, but she’d also shown him the way he, too, could work for the government.

A publicity man stuck his head in at the Gable dressing room door.

“Ready to go to the airport?” he asked.

“And how!” Gable said. “Drive over with me, will you?”

The publicity man’s name was Larry Barbier and like everyone else at MGM, straight from the lowliest grip to Louis B. Mayer, there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t delight in doing for Gable. So, of course, he went to the airport and, on arriving there, he suggested the star stay in his car until he, Barbier, found out just when the plane was to arrive.

Thus it was that Larry was the first person at MGM to sense the tragedy that had happened against the wild sides of Table Mountain in Nevada.

Not that the airport officials told the truth. They themselves didn’t know it then, but they were evasive about where the plane was, when it was due to come in. Larry knew something was wrong, so, stalling for time, he went outside again to Gable in the car.

“Plane had to make an unexpected stop in Las Vegas,” he said. “Looks like they’ll be at least an hour and half late. Why don’t you go out to the ranch and the moment I get any definite news about its arrival I’ll call you and you can hop right over.”

“Fine,” said Gable. “I’ll go home and work up a few more gags.”

That was already an old family custom with Clark and Carole. Whenever they were separated for even a day, they gave each other presents, strictly goofy ones, strictly for laughs, like the ham she had originally sent him when he was courting her, or the cast-iron, life-sized statue of himself he had sent her. Now he had every nook of the ranch house loaded with such nonsense gifts and he could fairly hear the hoots of robust laughter that she would yip forth at sight of them.

It was an hour later that Larry phoned him and told him to come over to the airport quick. Larry didn’t add that meantime he’d engaged a transport plane to fly to Nevada and that he’d rounded up Eddie Mannix, the vice-president of Metro, and Don McIlwaine, a Metro publicity man who just happened to be dining at the airport and that Howard Strickling, the MGM publicity head and one of Gable’s closest friends, was speeding toward the airport, too.

The most popular man in the movie world got gaily into his car and turned on his radio to a record station to listen to some nice sloppy, sentimental tunes, right in key with his mood. Carole, who didn’t go in for that sentimental slush, who in contrast to his fans and other women he had known didn’t visibly adore him but who called him “Pappy” or “Mr. G”, Carole would kid the pants off him about that. But he didn’t care. He drove up to the airport in a welter of sweet swing. As he drew in smartly to the curb the voice of an announcer cut sharply in. “We interrupt this broadcast to bring you an important news announcement,” the voice said. “The transport plane bearing Carole Lombard and twenty-one others has been found. They are all believed dead.”

It was then that Gable paid one of the prices of fame, the inability to get even the most horrible news quietly and privately. He walked into the crowded airport that was sinisterly quiet. Hundreds of eyes hung on his haggard face, watched his every move. But he was unaware of them. He aged in that instant, aged incredibly, but all he said was, “Where’s the plane? When do we take off?”

Out on the runway, an agitated official was bustling about. Wartime regulations made a thousand new details necessary. “Gable must sign for the plane. Gable must sign for it,” the official kept insisting. Typically, he had never heard of Mannix, the million-dollar executive. Mannix tore the sheet from his hands and scrawled a signature. “This will be good for the price of the ship,” he said. He pushed Gable into the cabin of the plane and got in after him.

The plane taxied down the field, rose swiftly, while on the ground flags began fluttering frantically. Those were for Strickling who had just rushed through the gate, so the ship came down again and picked him up and then soared off again, that planeload of men and one woman, Mrs. Jilda Winkler, the wife of Otto Winkler, who was not only Gable’s press agent but a very dear friend.

It was not until the moment when the men sought to comfort the sobbing Jilda that they realized Gable’s double loss. Otto had been Clark’s pal. He had always been with him in everything. It was Otto who had been with Carole and Clark when they eloped in Kingman, Arizona, in March, 1939. Otto was Clark’s “front man”, his “other brain,” the one person who could most have helped him now.

But Otto was gone, too. He had been with Carole because Clark had sent him along on the Indianapolis trip to take care of her and protect her. Now Clark moved over to Jill and sat close to her, letting her sob her grief out against him. But he said nothing. The MGM crew in the background stayed silent. They knew that characteristic in him. Whenever anything bothers him, he becomes completely mute, and this was the most fearful thing he had ever had to face.

Two hours later they were in Las Vegas. Gable spoke then. “How do we get up to that mountain?”

They tried to dissuade him. They told him how the cactus-studded slopes of Table Mountain, strewn with boulders, sheer ridges and snowdrifts, was an almost impossible climb even for experienced Indian guides and hardened trackers. They told him how one tracker had already come back, the shoes torn from his feet by the rough wilderness. For an hour or so, while they told him there was still some hope, they persuaded him to wait in the Rancho Vegas for news.

Rancho Vegas is one of the gayest hotels on earth, a glittering, gambling casino sprawled in defiant luxury against the sterile desert. It’s like the setting of many a Gable film, of “Honky Tonk” particularly, but now it was chosen because of its nearness to the scene of the tragedy. They managed to hold Gable down there for nearly an hour, but then he revolted. “If those Indians can go on horseback and on foot, I can go on horseback and on foot,” he said and he went out and joined them.

It wasn’t until then that the MGM crowd, who all worshipped him, realized the triple loss Clark has suffered, the loss of the only mother he had ever known, his mother-in-law, Mrs. Elizabeth Peters, who had also been with Carole.

They did not abandon hope even when Friday night was gone and the cold, clear dawn of Saturday fell bright upon the desert. They toiled on through that impossible wilderness and the hours waxed and it was noon and still they climbed up and up and their hope flamed above their heartsick certainty. They went on until they began to see pitiful bits of wreckage of the plane scattered about them and then a merciful official stopped them. Just a little farther on, he said, were the bodies of fifteen brave young pilots who were en route West for war duty, and Otto Winkler, and Mrs. Elizabeth Peters and the ship’s pilots, and the stewardess and the gay young wife of an Army officer who had been speeding to his side, and Carole. You see, being wartime, you either had to be in the service or have an awful lot of drag to get on that plane. Somewhere, ahead, they were all lying, mingled in death, mingled in heroism, but the dearly beloved features that each of them had possessed were lost now to all save memory.

It was only then that Gable could be made to turn back. And then it was that his devoted friends knew the absolute devastation of his loss. For of course, being as devoted to him as they are, they all knew the story that up until now could not be told.

This was that, behind all their laughter, all their glorious love and warm compatibility, behind all their fame and wealth and the trips they had together and the sports they shared, Clark and Carole had one tragedy and one fear. They wanted children and they were denied them and they both worried about Carole’s increasingly frail health.

People told them to adopt a child, but they shook off that suggestion impatiently. They wanted their own. They couldn’t help knowing what a beautiful, amazing pair they were and they wanted their own youngsters to carry on those super-luxurious, super-sharp, super-glamorous characteristics. For this reason Carole went to doctor after doctor, tagged along when Clark had to go to Johns Hopkins for an operation for his shoulder and herself went under observation.

The sadness that many a queen of old experienced hung over the bright spirit of this golden queen of a modern world. With her whole passionate soul, Carole hoped for the maternity she could not know. Perhaps that was why Carole always laughed so much, laughed to hide this deep sorrow of hers. Perhaps it was why, in the last few years, she had sought for deeper meanings in her films, even essayed tragedy in “Vigil in the Night” and “They Knew What They Wanted.” The last couple of years she had taken the most faithful care of her health, but it had not improved. Always precarious, it was made more delicate by the continual recurrence of one of those persistent fevers travelers frequently pick up in Mexico and which Carole had contracted when down there on a hunting trip with Clark.

Motherhood was the only thing she had ever wanted in her thrill-packed thirty-two years that was denied her. She got her way about everything else. She even got about returning to Hollywood by plane.

Otto Winkler tried to talk her out of it, begging her to go by train. She finally tossed a coin with him and Otto lost. Her mother tried to talk her out of it. Otto had offered good sound reasons against flying in winter; her mother had admitted she was merely superstitious. She had good reason to be, for on Monday, the day they had left Hollywood, she and Carole had decided to call upon a fortuneteller they often consulted, just for the fun of it.

The psychic read Mrs. Peters’ hand, then read Carole’s. She shook her head. “Keep out of planes in 1942,” she ordered. “There is danger in them for you.”

On January 15 in Indianapolis, eager to get home, Carole never thought of that remark.

The memory of it, however, haunts Gable. When, finally, Saturday and Sunday he had to accept his heart’s devastation, he shut himself up alone in his hotel bungalow. Spencer Tracy drove out the three hundred miles from Hollywood to try to comfort him. A doctor stood by wanting to prescribe sleeping tablets. The entire MGM group stayed close, wanting desperately to do anything from working miracles merely to getting meals for him. But Gable stayed alone, appearing only once in a long while, on the bungalow porch, striding grimly back and forth. To all the solicitous attentions, he had only one answer. “I don’t want to go back to an empty house in Encino. If I had gone with Carole on this trip all this might have been avoided.”

Even when the broken bodies were finally brought down from the mountain, he could hardly be persuaded to leave. It was not until the following Wednesday at the burial service for his wife and his mother-by-marriage and his dear friend that he finally seemed able to gain some strength and courage to go on with life from the very heroism of Carole’s death.

It was only then that he comprehended the shrine in the world’s memory that she will forever occupy, this laughing tomboy, this Sennett bathing beauty who rose to make the highest salary any girl star ever earned, who married and divorced Bill Powell and then married the most sought-after man on earth, this girl who, through death, became the first heroine of the Second World War. She was all flame and passion and generosity, this Lombard girl, and she died as she had lived, gallantly, heroically, doing her duty by her country.

Meanwhile the Encino house is up for sale. Jessie, the cook whom Carole had had for years, Miss Garceau, the secretary, are devastated. The little gag presents have all been destroyed and even the very horses in their stalls and the hand-groomed cows and the cackling chickens seem to sense that desolation has enveloped them.

Shooting on “Somewhere I’ll Find You” has been suspended indefinitely.

At MGM and in Hollywood you will find those who say there will be no tying Clark down to acting now, that he will insist upon going into direct war service. In Hollywood they are talking about “The Carole Lombard Memorial Bond Drive” and some argue that Gable will go on tour, selling bonds in her name.

But the other half of Hollywood, those who know Clark best, argue that he will do both, war work and his own work, and I, personally, side with them.

Clark has long been very aware of his duty to his public and in this loss he will be doubly conscious of the loss in millions of homes today. He will be conscious that that one plane, which destroyed his heart’s security and rent asunder twenty-one other families, is only one small incident in days that are darkened with the memory of Pearl Harbor, and Manila, and the siege of Singapore and the blood on the snows of Russia.

Clark Gable has in him the power to make people forget these things for a little while. That is his responsibility—and his cure.

He will, I am convinced, go on with it after a little while, go on with his handsome head held high and with Carole’s beautiful, heroic image locked within his heart. And may God bless him and keep him while he walks this lonely road.

clark gable carole lombard

carole lombard christmas


75 years ago, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were celebrating their very first Christmas as a married couple. To commemorate the occasion, Carole gifted Clark with a silver cup:


clark gable carole lombard christmas


clark gable carole lombard christmas

The item was recently auctioned, with an estimate of $400-$600 and ended up going for $3,250!

The auction listing stated: Silver loving-cup trophy attributed as a 1939 Christmas gift from Carole Lombard to Clark Gable. (Dec. 25, 1939) Silver “loving-cup” style trophy, 10 x 11 in. (on later-added octagon scallop base for lamp conversion) engraved “Carole to Clark” 12-25-1939” and attributed by recent owner Billie Nelson Tyrrell of the Antique Doll Emporium as a Christmas 1939 gift from Carole Lombard to her husband of nine months, Clark Gable. Coincidentally, the Los Angeles premiere of Gone With the Wind was just three days later, on Dec. 28, 1939, and this may have some connection to the timing of this gift. Lamp-conversion interior workings have been removed, leaving original loving cup seated atop the 3 in. high by 9 in. diameter added pedestal base. Heavily tarnished throughout exterior and interior surfaces, though free of noticeable dents or other rough treatment; very good condition.

So I guess it was a silver cup lamp? Wonder where it had been hiding all these years? Well I hope it ended up with a good Clark and Carole fan, since I wasn’t able to win it!


christmas carole lombard christmas clark gable

A very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

clark gable carole lombard gone with the wind

This week, here is a repost of a post I did in 2010 detailing the Los Angeles premiere of Gone with the Wind, which took place December 29, 1939. Carole Lombard, in a gold gown, was the belle of the ball on Clark Gable’s arm! See who else attended and what the wore…