William Clark Gable (February 1, 1901 - November 16, 1960) was an American actor. He was born in Cadiz, Ohio. When he was seven months old his mother died. At the age of 16 he left high school and started to work in a factory. After seeing a play which impressed him, he took the decision to become actor. He started to tour with several second class theater companies, and worked also as salesman and in the industry.
In 1924 he went to Hollywood, with the financial aid of a theater manager, Josephine Dillon, more than 10 years older than him, who became his manager and his first wife. He acted in small roles and returned to the theater, until in 1930 he signed finally a contract with MGM. In the following years he acted in several pictures which made him soon become a megastar, earning the title of "King of Hollywood".
Gable won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his 1934 performance in the film It Happened One Night. He is however best-known for his performance as "Rhett Butler" in the 1939 classic Gone With the Wind, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Actor nomination. A few years before he had also earned an Academy Award for Best Actor nomination for his role as "Fletcher Christian" in 1935's Mutiny on the Bounty. In addition, Gable was one of the few actors to appear in three films that have won an Academy Award for Best Picture.
Gable's marriage in 1939 to third wife, actress Carole Lombard, was reportedly the happiest episode in his personal life, and ended with her death in a plane crash in 1942. He was deeply grieved and joined the Army's Air Corps. His first movie after returning from service in WWII was the 1945 production of Adventure. It was not really successful, and MGM did not renew his contract in view of his high salary. During the next ten years he made mostly mediocre films.
His second wife had been Texas socialite Marie Franklin, and his fourth was British Sylvia Lady Stanley, the widow of Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. His fifth wife was Kathleen Williams, a thrice-married former fashion model and stock actress from the town of North East, Pennsylvania. She was the mother of Gable's posthumous son and only legitimate child, born in 1961.
Gable's last film was The Misfits, which also featured Marilyn Monroe in her last screen performance. He died in 1960 of a massive heart attack in Los Angeles, at the age of 59. He was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, in Glendale, California beside his beloved wife Carole Lombard.