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Warren G. Harris - Clark Gable

Warren G. Harris - Clark Gable

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Clark Gable was the archetypal male star of Hollywood's heyday - he gambled, he drank and he womanised on an heroic scale. No wonder that when Spencer Tracy, only half in jest, starting calling him "The King", the tag caught on.;Born in 1901, the son of an unsuccessful Ohio oil prospector, Gable was a country boy who got bitten by the acting bug at the age of 17. But he might never have got further than playing bit-parts in small-time touring companies had it not been for the help provided by two older women, who also became the first and second Mrs Gable. The first of these, Josephine Dillon, was a professional drama teacher and she made it her mission to transform Gable into an accomplished stage actor, but it was the second, a wealthy Houston widow, Ria Langham, who finally contrived to get him, first, to Broadway and then to Hollywood - and the rest is history. Quickly taken on to the MGM payroll he was soon playing leading roles opposite some of the studio's major stars such as Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Garbo herself.;Crawford was the first, but by no means the last, of Gable's leading ladies to keep up her role off screen - their affair would continue, on and off, for several years. But it was another star, Carol Lombard, who for the first, and perhaps for the last time, won his true and enduring love. Her tragic death in a wartime plane crash shortly after their marriage dealt him a blow from which he never fully recovered - though there would be two more marriages and numerous affairs.;Warren Harris's lively biography not only reveals details of his private life such as his two illegitimate children and a clandestine fourth marriage - it also describes an incredibly long, varied and successful professional life that included a best actor Oscar (for "It Happened One Night") and cinematic immortality as Rhett Butler in "Gone with the Wind" and "The Misfits", the last, sad installment in Marilyn Monroe's screen career.

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