Jackson III, G.M. con Clark Gable - An Interpretation of His Last Year
Clark Gable --Mention his name and a flurry of images comes to mind. He was a motion picture actor with leading roles from 1931 to, almost literally, the day he died.But, what of the living, breathing man behind the image? After establishing a background of his personal history, this view of Gable's life will begin on November 16, 1959 with the birth of a grandchild he would never acknowledge, as it centers on his last 365 days (November 16, 1959 - November 16, 1960). But, in evaluating anyone's last year, one has to go beyond a list of events in chronological order and bring in his interaction with the others in his life and the experiences he drew upon and those which impacted him.That grandchild mentioned previously, Maria Tinney, was the indirect result of a night of passion Gable enjoyed with his co-star Loretta Young while they filmed CALL OF THE WILD in 1935. They conceived a child she would name Judith during a train ride from the locale of their exterior scenes to the studio for their interior sequences. He would never acknowledge the child, known today as Judith Young.and would die a year to the day after Judith Young gave birth to Maria Tinney, his illegitimate granddaughter. Gable had five wives; three of whom, he divorced: his first, Josephine Dillon; his second, Maria Langham and his fourth, Sylvia Ashley. His third marriage, in what historians agree was his happiest was with actress Carole Lombard, who died in a plane crash. His fifth wife, Kathleen Williams, left a memoir which adds details on his last year.(He married Carole Lombard during the filming of GONE WITH THE WIND, GWTW to film aficionados, the movie that gave him his signature role of Rhett Butler.)Those experiences he drew upon include the psychic warnings concerning the fatal flight which Carole Lombard ignored. As Gable learned after the fact, Lombard's mother, a numerologist, had readings indicating the grave danger for that flight. Had Carole Lombard heeded her mother's warnings, she would have avoided the loss that biographers believe Clark Gable felt for the rest of his life.Montgomery Clift and Marilyn Monroe shared the last five months of that year with him as all three worked on a film called THE MISFITS. His temperamental co-stars needed his emotional support to keep them focused on the production.The filming of THE MISFITS would overshadow that last period of Gable's life.This work is the first in a series of biographies that will focus on the last year of a notable person's life. While we tend to know the day of our birth, how many know the day of their last breath? Their lives, with important events and details, will be described in narrative form. Events will be related for their dramatic impact and arranged in dramatic revelation to underscore the significance of each subject's life.(e.g. in Gable's case, I refer to his fifth wife's pregnancy once, when he is in the hospital after his heart attack, for the poignancy of neither son nor father ever seeing each other while Gable lived.)While, as I said, GWTW gave him the role of Rhett Butler, I have de-emphasized coverage of GONE WITH THE WIND to highlight aspects of his life which a Gable admirer might find a surprising discovery.