CLARK GABLE – Skeletons in the closet.


A lady named Franz Dorfler was responsible for getting Clark Gable his first acting job, but he soon ditched her for acting teacher Josephine Dillon. Jo was 41, plain and matronly, but she took the 23 year-old aspiring young actor to Hollywood, and in 1924 they married. It was Jo who changed his first name from William to Clark.

Dear Mr. Gable – Josephine Dillon

Josephine Dillon

In 1925, when Clark was a struggling young actor trying to gain a toehold in the industry, he participated in a brief sexual relationship with Hollywood star and notorious gay William Haines. Several people witnessed them together at the studio, and also at a party at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel where they engaged in a variety of sexual acts. It was all part of Gable’s relentless determination to make it as a famous movie star. Even his future lover Joan Crawford readily admitted that he and Haines had sex. Clark told her so years later, but she was also a close friend of Haines as well, so she already knew. Everyone did. It was simply a means to an end, nothing more. He was certainly not homosexual. Nor was he bisexual. On the contrary, in fact. He adored women of any age or type.

William Haines - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

William Haines

In 1926 he began an affair with another woman who was 20 years his senior. Her name was Pauline Frederick and she was an attractive nymphomaniac. She was also rich. Through her he got jobs, but she also bought him a car and paid to get his teeth fixed. Then, as he would do with all his mentors, he dumped her once she had outlived her usefulness.

Dear Mr. Gable – Maria “Ria” Franklin

Clark & Ria Langham

In 1928, along came 45 year-old Ria Langham. She was prettier than his wife and richer, so Clark hooked up with her for a couple of years. Before long he was cheating on both of them with another nymphomaniac, actress Joan Crawford. And all the while he was bedding every other woman he could lay his hands on. He and Ria were seen dating so often that most people assumed they were married to one another. Even LB Mayer assumed as much, but once he found out about Jo, Clark’s MGM boss ordered him to do three things immediately – divorce Jo, marry Ria, and lay off Joan. He publicly complied with the first two, but secretly ignored the third. He and Joan continued to meet secretly for years.

Joan Crawford Posters -

Gable, Crawford & Mayer

Meanwhile, his adoring public had no idea Gable was married to Jo, living with Ria and sleeping with Joan (and all the others). Nor did they know that Joan was pregnant with his child. It had to be Clark’s because she and husband Douglas Fairbanks Jnr were estranged, and had been for some time. An abortion was arranged, and the public were advised that Joan had taken a fall and lost Doug’s baby. According to the studio, the ‘happily married couple were devastated’.

Joan Crawford on Pinterest | Carole Lombard, Jean Harlow and ...

Mr & Mrs Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Mayer had been receiving regular reports of Gable and Crawford spending most afternoons in her mobile dressing room on the MGM lot, the same one that Fairbanks had given her as a present. In fact, cuckolded Doug was still paying the thing off. The papers were starting to post ‘blind items’ about the romance as well, so Mayer ordered Doug and Joan to take an ‘extended European vacation’, a second honeymoon, so to speak.

His little dalliance with Haines aside, Gable was an unabashed womanizer who would sleep with any woman if the opportunity arose. A director friend said of him: ‘He would screw anything. She didn’t have to be pretty or clean’. Within a month of signing with MGM he had impregnated writer Adela Rogers St. John. She was sent on an ‘extended vacation’ to have his baby, not that he would ever own up to it being his.

HOLLYWOOD PUBLICITY & GOSSIP on Pinterest | Hollywood, Lana Turner ...

In 1932 he was put into a film, Polly of the Circus, with William Randolph Hearst’s mistress Marion Davies. Hearst was by then 65 years old and his relationship with Marion had become sexless, so she was soon involved with her leading man. Hearst and MGM fixer Howard Strickling knew Clark and Marion were sleeping together. They quickly and quietly offered him a pay rise from $650 a week to $2,000 a week, but only if he would stop seeing Marion. Exit Marion.

Film in American Popular Culture

Marion Davies

In 1933, Gable ran down a woman with his car while he was driving drunk. She was on a crosswalk and died at the scene. MGM fixers moved quickly, paying off police and the District Attorney, as well as slipping the dead girl’s family $125,000 to keep quiet. Then, the studio got an un-named mid-level employee to take the rap for their superstar. Offered a job for life with MGM, plus a cash settlement, the man said he was driving the vehicle and copped 10 months at an honor farm. His name has since been quietly expunged from the record, although there is a school of thought that believe he was a ‘nobody’ part-time director at the time – named John Huston.

1934 saw yet another Gable ‘issue’, when he put gorgeous Loretta Young in the family way during the time they made The Call of the Wild. Until his dying day he refused to acknowledge her little girl as his own. Neither did Loretta for that matter. She pretended the girl was adopted out of the goodness of her heart. Gable simply had nothing to do with the child – ever.

Loretta Young | Official & Authorized Loretta Young Web Site

Loretta Young

When Gable met Carole Lombard, whom he would eventually marry, her ‘best girlfriend’ was none other than Billy Haines. She treated him like a big sister, confiding in him regularly. On one occasion she stripped completely naked in front of him in her trailer, saying, ‘I wouldn’t do this if I thought you’d get aroused, Billy’. Gable soon terminated their friendship when she became his wife. After all, Billy was a constant reminder that the ‘King’ had a ‘one-off’ homosexual encounter with him way back when.

Lombard, Carole on Pinterest | Carole Lombard, Clark Gable and ...

Carole Lombard

In 1949 Clark married Sylvia Ashley, after his marriage proposal was turned down in 1948 by Nancy Davis, who later married Ronald Reagan and became America’s First Lady. Sylvia was an English model and actress formerly married to Douglas Fairbanks Senior. She was 45 when she wed Gable. The union lasted just two and a half years.

His final wife was Kay Williams, a 49 year-old actress who was still wed to him when he suffered his life ending coronary in 1960. They had one child, born after Gable’s death. The story that it was Marilyn Monroe’s behavior during the shooting of his last film The Misfits that brought on his fatal heart attack is totally untrue. He was already very ill and was actually changing a tire on a jeep when he collapsed.

Clark Gable and Carol Lombard on Pinterest | Clark Gable, Carole ...

and with Kay Williams


  1. This information about Gable is a lot of speculation, in my opinion. The source for the Haines story? It’s treated as fact but there is none except in revisionist biographies or fiction pretending to be fact written by authors like Darwin Porter or Scotty Bowers. And, I have to say, labeling women as “nymphomaniacs” is outrageous and sexist. What did Mr. Gable ever do to you to deserve such a mean spirited biographical essay?

    • Thankyou for your note. If you wish to accept the studio’s and biographers’ portrayal of movie stars, you are free to do so, of course. I prefer to reach my conclusions after perusal of assessments from ALL sources, some of which I reject out of hand, others I accept in whole or in part. My assessments are neither ‘mean-spirited’ nor fawning. As for labelling some women as ‘nymphomaniacs’, madam, the fact is that some ARE! That is no more ‘outrageous’ than describing President Trump as an ‘egomaniac’. If the cap fits wear it. Please, DO NOT spout political correctness at me! The term is greatly over-rated.

    • Kathi L. is just someone that can’t believe something because it’s not what she wants to hear. As far as “He was certainly not homosexual. Nor was he bisexual. On the contrary, in fact. He adored women of any age or type.” how would one define homosexuality or bisexuality? Again someone that just doesn’t want to hear something.

  2. My source for Bacall and Gable’s initial meeting is her book. She
    describes Slim H., “selling” her on Gable, who returned from service.
    The anecdote about the tie may have occurred at same time.
    Can’t be certain if I read about it in her book[which I borrowed and returned], or somewhere else.

  3. I think I finally got your comment about sycophants, especially
    after what you said about Carole Lombard. Maybe Gable figured that
    Bacall was a “no go”, knew about Bogie, or just wasn’t interested.

    • I must have expressed myself unclearly. Many famous people, especially in the entertainment field, are surrounded by ‘yes men’ who agree with everything they say. That is what I meant by ‘sycophants’. Consequently, they are often attracted to men and women who are entirely open with them, even critical of them. I believe Gable felt that way about Lombard. As far as I know Gable and Bacall had no relationship whatsoever. I do not even know if they ever even met. Quite possibly they did not. I recall reading that Henry Fonda had never met Katharine Hepburn until they made ‘On Golden Pond’ together, even though they had both been icons in Hollywood for 50 years or so.

  4. Two anecdotes having nothing to do w/ what you’ve posted,
    but interesting.

    In effort to “cure” Bacall of Bogart, Slim Hawks arranged social event between Gable and Bacall, at Hawks home, which may have
    included others. Betty was not interested; Gable took her home,
    kissed her goodnight, period.
    This next involves gathering at Hawks home. Bacall expressed concern
    w/ how she would get home. Hawks told her to ask a man to take her,
    but she didn’t know how to do that; was told,’Try insulting him.’
    When she saw Hawks, she said, ‘It worked’, and she said she asked
    man where he got his tie. When asked,’Why do you ask?’ She replied,
    ‘So I can tell people not to go to that store.’
    The man was Clark Gable! [It’s possible both incidents occurred at
    same time.]

    [Note, Unless I’m sure of exact quotes, I use single quotation mark


    • Interesting. People in positions of power or fame get fed up with sycophants (or so I have read), so they are often impressed by someone who chooses to NOT fawn over them. The old saying, ‘Nobody likes a kiss-ass’ is a true one. I think Lombard used a similar approach. She often ridiculed his ‘great lover’ image in public, yet he adored her.

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