Clark Gable’s mother died when he was seven months old. At 16 he quit high school, went to work in an Akron (Ohio) tire factory and decided to become an actor after seeing the play “The Bird of Paradise”. He toured in stock companies, worked oil fields and sold ties. In 1924 he reached Hollywood with the help of Portland, Oregon, theatre manager Josephine Dillon, who coached and later married him (she was 17 years his senior). After playing a few bit parts he returned to the stage, becoming lifelong friends with Lionel Barrymore. After several failed screen tests (for Barrymore and Darryl F. Zanuck), Gable was signed in 1930 by MGM’s Irving Thalberg. Joan Crawford asked for him as co-star in Dance, Fools, Dance (1931) and the public loved him manhandling Norma Shearer in A Free Soul (1931) the same year. His unshaven lovemaking with bra-less Jean Harlow in Red Dust (1932) made him MGM’s most important star. At one point he refused an assignment and the studio punished him by loaning him out to (at the time) low-rent Columbia Pictures, which put him in Frank Capra‘s It Happened One Night (1934), which won him an Oscar. He returned to far more substantial roles at MGM, such as Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) and Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind (1939). When his third wife Carole Lombard died in a plane crash returning from a War Bond drive, a grief-stricken Gable joined the US Army Air Force and was off the screen for three years, flying combat missions in Europe. When he returned the studio regarded his salary as excessive and did not renew his contract. He freelanced, but his films didn’t do well at the box office. He announced during filming of The Misfits (1961) that, for the first time, he was to become a father. Two months later he died of a heart attack. He was laid to rest beside Carole Lombard at Forest Lawn Cemetery.