Clark Gable

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Clark Gable
William Clark Gable
BirthplaceCadiz, Ohio, U.S.

Gable, Clark,

1901–60, American film actor, b. Cadiz, Ohio. He began his career in films in 1930 and soon after became a star. He won an Academy Award in 1934 for his brilliant comic performance in It Happened One Night. His best-remembered role was that of Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind (1940). For many years a leading box-office attraction, Gable was known to Hollywood as "the King" and was considered a symbol of the rugged and raffish American male. He made more than 65 films, the last of which was The Misfits (1960).
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Gable, (William) Clark

(1901–60) movie actor; born in Cadiz, Ohio. Leaving school at age 14, he worked at various jobs, from oilfield handyman to telephone repairman. In 1918 he was drawn to the stage and for several years he acted in productions from New York City to Oregon. In 1924 he got into Hollywood movies as an extra, then enjoyed a hit on Broadway in Machinal (1928); he returned to launch his movie career in 1931 when he became a hit in The Painted Desert and made 11 other movies that year. Although his large ears had made some people wonder if he would ever be a romantic lead, he combined his rugged masculinity with a casual charm that allowed him to play both "bad guys" and heroes and after he won an Academy Award for It Happened One Night (1934), he became "King of Hollywood" and everybody's choice for Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind (1939). After his third wife, Carole Lombard, died in a plane crash in 1942, he joined the air force and flew bombing missions. On returning to Hollywood, he never quite got his career back on track, although he remained popular with older fans. He died shortly after The Misfits (1961) was finished.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.