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Facts About Clark Gable We Just Learned That Made Us Say 'Really?'

Updated May 24, 2021 4.9k votes 783 voters 27.6k views11 items

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William Clark Gable was oft referred to as the 'King of Hollywood.' His charisma, good looks, and superb acting skills quickly allowed him to rise to fame and become an international film star. From the 1930s to the 1960s, Gable was a sought-after actor who worked alongside some of the greatest actors and actresses of this time. During his expansive 37-year long career, he achieved many great feats. He starred in more than 60 motion pictures and even won an Academy Award. Besides his impressive career, he influenced many lives, and because of this, there are many facts about Gable that many don’t know. This list will look at a few Gable facts to shine a light on this enigmatic actor’s life.

  • Photo: Gone with the Wind / Loew's Inc.

    He Was Largely Responsible For Desegregating The Set Of ‘Gone with the Wind’

    Gable was known for his good looks, charming personality, and brilliant acting skills, but many might not know that he was also strongly against segregation in Hollywood. When Gable was filming the classic movie Gone with the Wind he was unaware that segregation was occurring on the very set he was working on. The movie set had bathrooms for both Black and white people.

    When a young extra named Lennie Bluett saw this disturbing act, he sought out and alerted Gable to the injustice transpiring. Gable took charge and immediately sought to right the wrong. He phoned the director of the movie and threatened to give up Rhett butler’s role unless the bathrooms were integrated. His call worked, and shortly after, the set was completely integrated.

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  • Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    He Tried To Scale A Mountain To Recover His Wife’s Body

    Gable was unashamedly madly in love with his wife Carole Lombard, so it’s unsurprising that he took her death incredibly hard. He was enjoying a vacation after filming the movie Honky Tonk and was eagerly awaiting his wife’s return. Lombard had left on a war bonds tour to raise money for WWII. According to reports, Gable had gone to the airport waiting to fetch Lombard when he was told the flight had not yet arrived as it had to make an unexpected stop. He returned to his house and awaited confirmation that her flight had arrived. Shortly after he was told to quickly make his way to the airport, he turned on the radio and learned that his beloved wife had died.

    Upon arriving at the airport, he was devastated but retained hope that she would be found alive. When it became clear no one had survived, Gable wanted to know how they would retrieve his wife’s body which remained with the crashed aircraft on the mountain. The answers he received were unsatisfactory, and he pled his case to try and scale the mountain himself to retrieve his wife. However, he was told that he could not climb the mountain because of the incredibly rough terrain, and professional personnel could get his wife’s body for him. It was her death that ultimately led to him joining the war efforts.

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  • Photo: acme News Photos / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    He Almost Boycotted The 'Gone with the Wind' Movie Premiere

    Gable was against segregation and proved how much of an advocate he was for equal rights when he threatened to boycott his film Gone with the Wind. The premiere was held at a whites-only theater in Atlanta despite numerous people wanting the premiere to include all cast members, no matter the color of their skin.

    When Gable learned of this, he was furious and threatened to boycott the premiere, but even his threats couldn’t change the mindset of those in charge. Despite this, he was still adamantly refusing to go until his co-star Hattie McDaniel convinced him to attend.

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  • Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    His Discharge Papers After WWII Were Signed By The Future President Ronald Reagan

    Gable was on active duty during WWII for two years, where he flew five combat missions. These missions earned him the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1944 Gable was promoted to Major in the military and was eagerly awaiting his next set of orders. After a while, he realized new orders were unlikely to come, and he requested to be relieved from active duty. According to military records, Gables' discharge papers were signed by Captain Ronald Reagan before he became president of the United States.

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