Great Couples: Carole Lombard & Clark Gable

When you do a google search for Clark Gable right now the first lady that pops up in the “People also search for” results is Vivianne Leigh, Gable costar in Gone With The Wind. That second lady is probably the most important woman of his career as well as his life. Together Carole Lombard and Clark Gable were the Fairbanks & Pickford of the 1930’s. Carole & Clark first met on the set of the 1932 film No Man of Her Own. Carole was already an established star of the silver screen. Lombard began her career at the age of 12 and at the age of 15 she screen tested for Charlie Chaplin in The Gold Rush, sadly she didn’t the role. One could say that her career staggered in  the beginning. She mostly had bit-parts in her early career but in 1925 she got her first leading role, the film was a success but studio execs could not get over the scar on Lombard’s cheek from a car accident. 

Concerned with the scar, Carole had a plastic surgeon deminish the scar but Lombard would use make up and lighting to draw attention away from the scar. From 1927 Lombard’s star grew brighter and brighter. In 1931 she paired with William Powell and their onscreen chemistry was undeniable. After filming their first film together, Man of the World, the duo began dating and would marry that same year. Lombard’s star shot extremely high, placing here close to the top. Sadly for their marriage, they both pointed out later, they were great friends but horrible spouses, they would divorce 2 years later. 

After being friends for 4 years, Gable and Lombard finally fell in love and became the new royal couple of Hollywood.   Hollywood and the studio soaked up every moment of the couples over the next 6 years. While Clark’s career sky rocketed, the studio’s were becoming fickle with Lombard’s mission to move away from her comedic talent and towards becoming a dramatic star. By 1938 Lombard saw her career slow and opted to focus her energy on her relationship with Gable. In 1939 the couple finally wed and Lombard realized her talent truly lied with her comedic talent. Sadly the brea love affair between the couple was cut short in with Lombard’s tragic death in a plane crash in 1942. Lombard was in her hometown state selling war bonds with her mother. The mother and daughter boarded a plane back to the west coast and after refueling in Las Vegas, the plan crashed shortly after take-off. Many of Gable’s friends said that Gable never recovered from his wife death and mourned her for the rest of his life. Their relationship was legendary and while it ended at a young age, history has shown it to be iconic.

Lombard & Gable at a party at their 20 acre ranch in Encino, CA

Lombard & Gable at a party at their 20 acre ranch in Encino, CA