Clark Gable, the legendary actor who has been called “The King of Hollywood,” was born in Cadiz, Ohio, a small town in eastern Ohio’s Harrison County, on February 1, 1901. His father, William Henry “Will” Gable was an oil well driller who later attempted farming. Gable’s mother died when he was ten months old, and his father later remarried a woman named Jennie Dunlap and relocated to the nearby town of Hopedale, where Clark received most of his education. The boy’s stepmother gave him music lessons and encouraged him to dress and speak well. Gable enjoyed hunting, fishing, and working on cars with his father, but also showed an interest in language and enjoyed reciting Shakespeare’s sonnets. During his later teenage years his parents moved to Ravenna, Ohio, where his father purchased a farm. Clark began working in one of Akron’s tire factories, but felt the call of the stage. He joined a small theater company and worked his way westward. A long period of toiling in silent films and on the stage followed, but by the early 1930s Gable was on his way.
Gable’s impact on popular culture has been enormous. In addition to his iconic role in Gone With The Wind and other notable screen performances, he is also credited with inspiring a trait of Bug Bunny’s when he talked rapidly to Claudette Colbert and chomped on carrots in a scene from the legendary 1934 classic It Happened One Night. He was married five times, most famously to actress and Fort Wayne, Indiana native Carole Lombard, who died in a plane crash in 1942, and Gable later served in the Army Air Corps in World War II, serving as both director of an Army recruiting film on aerial gunners and manning the guns himself on several occasions during bombing missions. He received the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and several other decorations. He ended his service as a major.
The Clark Gable Foundation in Cadiz, Ohio maintains a reconstructed version of his first home and works to maintain interest in the town’s famous son. I hope to visit there before long and share details here on Buckeyemuse. I also plan on learning more about his time here in Ohio and sharing those with readers. Thank you to all who support this blog, especially those folks who follow it. I appreciate your support and comments.
Here’s a link to the The Clark Gable Foundation site:
Clark Gable died on November 16, 1960, shortly after suffering a heart attack. He was only fifty-nine years old.
Wikipedia entry on Clark Gable
The Clark Gable Foundation website