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Clark Gable – Marilyn’s penultimate co-star

February 16, 2010

Marilyn Monroe’s penultimate movie – and her last completed film – The Misfits, was also the last of leading man, Clark Gable. Gable, playing the old cowboy to Marilyn’s divorcee, was just 59 when he died of a heart attack ten days after filming was complete. Many blamed Monroe for his death; her tardiness, and non-show on set putting The Misfits back and over budget.

All sorts of rumours abound, not least because Gable was as much Hollywood royalty as Marilyn. Later this month sees the paperback release of David Bret’s powerful biography, Clark Gable Tormented Star which reveals much we don’t know about the star of Gone With The Wind and husband and lover of many a bombshell!

Gable was perceived as the archetypal Hollywood superman, the kind of man who women lusted after and their husbands envied. However, as David Bret reveals , in the early days of his career, with his squinty teeth and fondness for men as well as woman, he was anything but the wholesome figure he appeared.

Gable was adopted by the ‘Sewing Circle’ the group that included Jean Harlow and, ironically, Carole Lombard, who was the great love of Gable’s  life.

Bret also reveals much about early publicity stunts – they are certainly nothing new  – Gable’s wartime heroics’, which saw him promoted through the ranks from Private to Major in less than a year, were no more than an elaborate one, and like an earlier paternity suit, an exercise dreamed up by studio chief, Louis B. Mayer to promote and protect Gable’s image.

Bret touches on Gable’s own dalliances with homosexuality, and then focuses on more familiar territory – his great movies, and his affairs with Joan Crawford, Ava Gardner and others.

Drawing on a wealth of unpublished material, Bret pulls no punches in this star-studded story of Gable’s life which is certainly a better read than any of the pulp produced about today’s ‘stars’!

David Bret is one of Britain’s leading showbusiness biographers. His many highly successful books include works on Edith Piaf, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow, Errol Flynn and the soon to be published Mario Lanza.

*Clark Gable: Tormented Star, by David Bret is released on paperback from Feb 25, RRP £8.99, www.jrbooks.com

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