Creator / Clark Gable

"I'm no actor and I never have been. What people see on the screen is me."

William Clark Gable (February 1, 1901 November 16, 1960) was an actor in The Golden Age of Hollywood. His three most famous roles are Peter Warne in It Happened One Night, Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty and Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind; all three earned him Academy Award nominations, and he won for It Happened One Night. He was named the seventh greatest actor in American history in a poll by the American Film Institute.

At one point he was Hollywood's top male box-office draw, second overall only to Shirley Temple. He was nicknamed "The King of Hollywood". Joe Shuster named Superman's alter-ego after Gable and fellow leading man Kent Taylor.

According to rumor, he's had another lasting imprint on pop culture: Bugs Bunny. There's a scene in It Happened One Night where his character is talking while chewing on a carrot. The Looney Tunes creators, being fans of the film, affectionately parodied this, and it became Bugs's famous "What's up, Doc?"

Clark Gable films on this wiki include:

Clark Gable tropes:

  • Academy Award: Gable won the Oscar for Best Actor for It Happened One Night in 1934, and was nominated twice more in the same category, for 1935's Mutiny on the Bounty and 1939's Gone with the Wind
  • Actor Allusion:invoked In It Happened One Night Peter gets referred to as "the king", which was Clark's nickname in real life.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: invokedIt Happened One Night is mainly remembered for Clark's shocking Shirtless Scene at the time - where he strips off and isn't wearing an undershirt. Urban legends claim that sales for undershirts dropped after the film came out.
  • Creator Backlash:invoked Subverted with his last film The Misfits. Although he said working with Marilyn Monroe was stressful, he called it the best film he'd ever made.
    "It's the only time I've been able to act."
  • Creator Breakdown:invoked
    • Famously after Carole Lombard, his wife, died in a plane crash, which led to him joining the army for three years.
    • He was so devastated by the failure of Adventure that he didn't make another film for a year.
  • Death by Irony: His words after filming with Marilyn Monroe in The Misfits were, "I'm glad the picture's over. She damn near gave me a heart attack." Coincidentally he died of a heart attack later, which Monroe blamed herself for.
  • Fair for Its Day: Doubles as Values Dissonance, there are stories of Gable floating around that paint a pretty negative portrait by today's standards:
    • In 1935, Gable and Loretta Young had an affair on the set of Call of the Wild, resulting in a child born in the November of that year. In 2015, Linda Lewis, Loretta Young's daughter-in-law, claimed that Young told Lewis on her deathbed that it was not an affair, but that Gable had raped Young.
    • George Cukor's firing from Gone with the Wind early in production was possibly at the request of Gable, who disapproved of Cukor's homosexuality.
    • From the mid-1940s, Gable was a member of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, an anti-Communist watchdog organization that helped to facilitate, and participated in, the McCarthyist rhetoric that resulted in The Hollywood Blacklist
  • Heteronormative Crusader: Allegedly, George Cukor was kicked off of Gone with the Wind mid-production because Gable disapproved of his homosexuality. Around thirty minutes of Cukor-shot footage survives in the final film.
  • Jossed:invoked He repeatedly denied the newspaper rumours that he and Vivien Leigh weren't getting along on the set of Gone with the Wind. They found the rumours so funny that they would frequently greet each other by saying "How are you not getting on today?"
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance:invoked Mutiny on the Bounty was his favourite role, in contrast to some of the more famous ones.
  • Money, Dear Boy:invoked He played Rhett mainly because the money would allow him to divorce his wife and marry Carole Lombard.
  • Old Shame:invoked He never looked too fondly on Gone with the Wind, calling it "a woman's picture."
  • Opposites Attract: Politically, Gable was a conservative Republican who kept his politics private, while his wife Carole Lombard was an outspoken liberal Democrat who convinced Gable to publicly support Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal policies.
  • The Red Stapler:invokedAfter It Happened One Night it reportedly became cool to not wear an undershirt. Sales declined over the years, and legend has it that manufacturers tried to sue Columbia over it.
  • The Remake: Red Dust was remade as Mogambo with Ava Gardner in the Jean Harlow role, and Grace Kelly in the Mary Astor role. Clark, however, reprised his original role.
  • Romance on the Set:invoked
    • He had an affair with Loretta Young while filming Call Of The Wild. This affair produced a child Judy Lewis, who Loretta claimed was adopted to prevent the scandal from ruining her career.
    • He also had a brief fling with Joan Crawford while they filmed Dance, Fools, Dance.
  • Star-Making Role: invokedThe one-two punch of A Free Soul and Red Dust turned him into a star.
  • Those Two Actors: invokedHe did six films with Jean Harlow.
  • Throw It In!: invokedHis famous Shirtless Scene came about in It Happened One Night because he was having trouble keeping the flow of the scene going while taking off his undershirt. So he just went without.
  • Typecasting:invoked
    • The lovable rogue was his thing.
    • He also played a newspaper reporter in nine different films.
  • What Could Have Been:invoked
    • He nearly played the title role in Tarzan and the Ape Man in 1932. But because he was unknown, Johnny Weissmueller was given the role instead.
    • MGM wanted very much to cast him alongside Angela Lansbury in a drama called 'Angel's Flight'. Clark disliked the story and the film was cancelled.