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Clark Gable walked off set of Gone With the Wind for racism

Updated: Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 12:14 [IST]

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New York (ANI): Late American actor Clark Gable almost walked off the set of Gone With the Wind because of racism, reveals an upcoming book. The biography 'Victor Fleming', based on the life of the director of the beloved Hollywood epic, describes how the movie almost lost its Rhett Butler.

Author Michael Sragow writes about how a group of black extras, who were upset at studio bathrooms with "White" and "Colored" signs, approached Gable. "I'll be goddamned," the New York Post quoted Sragow as having written about what the jolted star told them.

"He got on the phone to Fleming, who called the prop master and told him, 'If you don't get those signs down, you won't get your Rhett Butler'. The signs came down immediately," Sragow wrote.

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The book was scheduled for release in December, 2008.

Clark Gable's Birth

Clark Gable was born in Cadiz, Ohio and he was was named William after his father William Henry Will Gable, an oil-well driller. But even in childhood he was almost always called Clark. He was mistakenly listed as a female on his birth certificate.

Gable Lost His Mother When He Was Young

When he was six months old, his mother Adeline Hershelman had him baptized as a Catholic. She died from a brain tumour when he was ten months old.

His Father's Objection In Raising Him As A Catholic

His father refused to raise him as a Catholic due to his enmity with his mother's side of the family. But the dispute was resolved later by his father's family.

Gable Loved Shakespeare's sonnets

His father wanted him to do manly things, like hunting and hard physical work, but Gable loved language and he used to recite Shakespeare's sonnets. Seeing his interest, his dad bought a seventy-two volume set of The World's Greatest Literature to improve his education.

Clark Gable's First Job

When Gable was in high school, his father had financial difficulties. Gable took upto work in Akron's BF Goodrich tire factory to help his father. At seventeen, Gable was inspired to be an actor after seeing the play The Bird of Paradise, but he was not able to make a real start until he turned 21 and inherited some money. By then, his stepmother Jennie had died and his father moved to Tulsa to go back to the oil business.

Turning Point In Clark's Life

He toured in stock companies as well as working the oil fields and as a horse manager. Gable found work with several second-class theater companies and thus made his way across the Midwest to Portland, Oregon, where he then took work as a necktie salesman in the Meier & Frank department store. While there, he met Laura Hope Crews, a stage and film actress, who encouraged him to return to the stage and into another theater company. Many years later, Crews would play "Aunt Pittypat" in Gable's most famous film, Gone With the Wind (1939).

Clark Gable's Acting Coach

His acting coach was a theater manager in Portland named Josephine Dillon, who was 17 years his senior. She paid to have his teeth repaired and his hair styled. She guided him in building up his chronically undernourished body, and taught him better body control and posture.

Josephine Dillon's Training

Josephine Dillon spent considerable time training his naturally high-pitched voice, which Gable slowly managed to lower, and to gain better resonance and tone. As his speech habits improved, Gable's facial expressions became more natural and convincing. After the long period of rigorous training, Dillon eventually considered him ready to attempt a film career.

Beginning Of Clark Gable's Acting Career

Starting as a stage actor, Gable appeared as an extra in silent films between 1924 and 1930, and progressed to supporting roles with a few films for MGM in 1931. The next year he landed his first leading Hollywood role and became a leading man in more than 60 movies over the next three decades.

Gone With The Wind

Clark Gable came to limelight with the epic Gone with the Wind (1939), which earned him his third nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor, he was also nominated for Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), and he won for It Happened One Night (1934). His other notable films include Manhattan Melodrama (1934) and The Misfits (1961).

Gable-Joan Crawford Chemistry

Gable appeared opposite some of the most popular actresses of the time. Joan Crawford was his favorite actress to work with and she was partnered with Gable in eight films.

Gable With Other Actresses

Clark Gable worked with Myrna Loy for seven times and paired with Jean Harlow in six productions. He also starred with Lana Turner in four features and with Norma Shearer and Ava Gardner in three each.

Gable And Marilyn Monroe

Gable had teamed up with actress Marilyn Monroe in his final film The Misfits (1961). This was also the last screen appearance of the actress.

Story first published:  Tuesday, September 30, 2008, 12:31 [IST]
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