Clark Gable was born in 1901 in Ohio. His movie career got off to a slow start but when MGM put him alongside stars such as Garbo and Crawford it soon took off and he became one of Hollywood's most sought after actors.
Carole Lombard, born in Indiana in 1908, became a huge box office star and the most highly paid actress in Hollywood after she turned her talents to comedy.
She and Gable met in 1932 when they starred together in No Man of Her Own. At that time they were both married to other partners and it wasn't until 1936 that their romance began. The media loved them, and followed them from premiere to party to awards gala. Papers were full of speculation about the turns their romance would take. They married in 1949 after his divorce became final. They eloped to Kingman, Arizona, selecting a date when the press would be otherwise occupied. When they arrived in town they went directly to get their license and to the church for a private ceremony.
They bought a ranch in Encino and settled into a new life. They changed their style of living from the glamorous one to a life centred around ranching, hunting and a home life. They stocked the ranch with livestock and did most of the remodelling work both inside and out themselves. They referred to each other by their pet names of Ma and Pa. Carole said "I'll work a few more years, and then I want a family. I’ll let Pa be the star, and I’ll stay home, darn the socks and look after the kids.”
Clark described Carole once "You can trust that little screwball with your life or your hopes or your weaknesses, and she wouldn't even know how to think about letting you down."
Carole pulled back on her career a little, hoping for the start of a family but after two miscarriages and trips to fertility clinics, it sadly wasn't going to happen.
Also sadly, they only had a few years together. In 1942 Carole was doing a tour along with her mother to raise money for the war effort with Victory Bonds. Flying home, the plane Carole was in crashed into a mountain. All 22 people on board were killed.
Gable went into a tailspin after the death of his wife. Elaine Barrymore , wife of John Barrymore, one of Clark's closest friends said “Clark adored her. She was the light in his eyes.. To have her taken from him was like someone ripped out his soul. I saw him periodically for years afterward. The light in his eyes was gone. Even when he smiled. That light never returned.”
He went on to act in many more films and married twice more but as Esther Williams said "He was never the same He had been devastated by Carole's death."
He joined the Air Force and flew on bombing missions over Germany in the war before returning to work in Hollywood.
His final movie was The Misfits with Marilyn Monroe. Two days after they completed filming, Clark Gable suffered a heart attack. He died November 16, 1960.
He is buried beside Carole in the mausoleum he had arranged at the time of her death.