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Gable & Lombard: A Biography

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Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were united by Hollywood, and destroyed by tragedy. Carole Lombard’s mother didn’t want to get on the plane. The stars were all wrong, she said, and her astrologer had warned her not to fly. But Carole Lombard was in a hurry. She’d spent the week on a whirlwind tour of the country, selling war bonds for the United States government, and she c Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were united by Hollywood, and destroyed by tragedy. Carole Lombard’s mother didn’t want to get on the plane. The stars were all wrong, she said, and her astrologer had warned her not to fly. But Carole Lombard was in a hurry. She’d spent the week on a whirlwind tour of the country, selling war bonds for the United States government, and she couldn’t bear another moment away from her husband, Clark Gable, Hollywood’s most dashing leading man. She flipped a coin—heads for the train, tails for the plane. Carole won. They flew. Her plane crashed into a mountainside shortly after it left Las Vegas, killing all aboard. This intimate biography by Warren G. Harris tells the story of Gable and Lombard, whose romance shocked the movie industry, and whose tragedy would change Hollywood forever.


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Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were united by Hollywood, and destroyed by tragedy. Carole Lombard’s mother didn’t want to get on the plane. The stars were all wrong, she said, and her astrologer had warned her not to fly. But Carole Lombard was in a hurry. She’d spent the week on a whirlwind tour of the country, selling war bonds for the United States government, and she c Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were united by Hollywood, and destroyed by tragedy. Carole Lombard’s mother didn’t want to get on the plane. The stars were all wrong, she said, and her astrologer had warned her not to fly. But Carole Lombard was in a hurry. She’d spent the week on a whirlwind tour of the country, selling war bonds for the United States government, and she couldn’t bear another moment away from her husband, Clark Gable, Hollywood’s most dashing leading man. She flipped a coin—heads for the train, tails for the plane. Carole won. They flew. Her plane crashed into a mountainside shortly after it left Las Vegas, killing all aboard. This intimate biography by Warren G. Harris tells the story of Gable and Lombard, whose romance shocked the movie industry, and whose tragedy would change Hollywood forever.

30 review for Gable & Lombard: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Graceann

    When I'm reading a biography/history, there are a few rules that, if they are broken, immediately make it fail the "smell test" for me. 1. No conversations that couldn't possibly have been heard. In Gable & Lombard, Warren Harris somehow is able to tell us what Carole Lombard said as her plane was taking off for the final time. Since the plane crashed a few minutes later and there were no survivors. I'd love to know what form of telepathy made this possible. Ditto the private conversations that When I'm reading a biography/history, there are a few rules that, if they are broken, immediately make it fail the "smell test" for me. 1. No conversations that couldn't possibly have been heard. In Gable & Lombard, Warren Harris somehow is able to tell us what Carole Lombard said as her plane was taking off for the final time. Since the plane crashed a few minutes later and there were no survivors. I'd love to know what form of telepathy made this possible. Ditto the private conversations that she and Gable had. 2. Get the basic facts right. There is a touching scene at the end of the book where Gable's body is "lowered into the ground" while folks stand around teary-eyed. Except that he's in a crypt. The next part of the statement, that he's next to Carole, is true, but you'd have to double-check to make sure that the author got that right, since the first part is wrong. Also, England declared war on Germany in September 1939, not October. It was in all the papers, and when a fact so easily retrieved is incorrect, you have to worry about the rest of the facts as they are presented. 3. Gossip isn't fact. Yes, let's please trot out the "Clara Bow slept with the whole USC Football Team" trope again. It's boring, it's unproven and it's not written here as a rumor, but as incontrovertible truth. Yawn. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard adored each other. That much is attested to by those who knew them. Gable was never the same after Lombard's death, and that's painfully apparent just from looking at any photo of him taken after January 15, 1942. There's plenty of story in their courtship, marriage and in the aftermath of that tragic crash to make a cracking book. If the basic rules of authorship aren't followed, however, it's enough to put anything that might actually be factual in doubt. That's a deep shame, because this story is worth telling well.

  2. 5 out of 5

    JacQuelyne

    ENJOYABLE READ I have been a movie fan since I was about 7 years old when I first saw the Wizard of Oz with my Mom at the Balaban & Katz theatre, The Chicago, with great seats and popcorn. In our home, my brother, parents, and I watched movies on Saturday evenings (always with big bowls cof popcorn and pistachio nuts), and early Sunday mornings when there was both the wonderful Flash Gordon series and the Shirley Temple movies (a favorite of my Dad's). As I became older, I spent my allowance and ENJOYABLE READ I have been a movie fan since I was about 7 years old when I first saw the Wizard of Oz with my Mom at the Balaban & Katz theatre, The Chicago, with great seats and popcorn. In our home, my brother, parents, and I watched movies on Saturday evenings (always with big bowls cof popcorn and pistachio nuts), and early Sunday mornings when there was both the wonderful Flash Gordon series and the Shirley Temple movies (a favorite of my Dad's). As I became older, I spent my allowance and babysitting monies on movie magazines, which were only 25 cents at that time. And as a teenager, it was off to Kroch's and Brentano's (when we had independent booksellers) to find paperback bios of my favorite stars. Five dollars got you a lot of wonderful books. After seeing Gone with the Wind, I became a big fan of the dashing Clarke Gable and the beautiful Vivien Leigh. However, I had never been able to find a book about Gable and Lombard. So when I discovered this book, I thought I would give it a go. Warren G. Harris's biography of these two terrific actors, who were lucky enough to find their soul mates, is a well written, well-documented, enjoyable, and captivating biography. It took me about five to six hours to read (with bathroom breaks and glasses of water) to read this bio. You get another side to these personalities besides their movie careers. Most of all it describes the most important part of all our lives --- love, friendship and companionship. Gable and Lombard were lucky to have found people to love and share their lives, no matter the cost. They were blessed for whatever time they were given to be together. I think you will enjoy this lovely story.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Helen Robare

    I liked this book. But first let's get to the one thing that bugged me, okay? The author keeps referring to Clark Gable and Carole Lombard by their last name. Granted there are times when the last names of famous people are necessary but there are also times when the first names or "he/she" would work better. Now, with that out of the way...this book flowed along and gave a lot of information about (not only) the individuals as a couple but the individuals themselves. For instance, I was not awa I liked this book. But first let's get to the one thing that bugged me, okay? The author keeps referring to Clark Gable and Carole Lombard by their last name. Granted there are times when the last names of famous people are necessary but there are also times when the first names or "he/she" would work better. Now, with that out of the way...this book flowed along and gave a lot of information about (not only) the individuals as a couple but the individuals themselves. For instance, I was not aware that Gable was married so many times. I only knew about 3 of his marriages! And I knew little or nothing about Carole Lombard other than that she died in a plane crash while out selling war bonds. I also liked the fact that the author did not get bogged down with details but gave just enough to give the information needed. I also liked how other Hollywood stars made appearances as necessary. Because of this book, I may buy the author's other books on Classic Hollywood actors/esses.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    Another great read by Warren G. Harris! I love the dynamic of the Gable and Lombard team. If you've read their biographies separately, this may seem redundant but a review of their history is necessary to understand how they came to be made for each other. One of my favorite biographies! Another great read by Warren G. Harris! I love the dynamic of the Gable and Lombard team. If you've read their biographies separately, this may seem redundant but a review of their history is necessary to understand how they came to be made for each other. One of my favorite biographies!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tonya Johnson

    Wonderful love story Clark Gable and Carole Lombard were the epitome of love, friendship and loyalty. It seemed like the traditional boy meets, loses and get girl story.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    Engaging fictionalized biography of Clark and Carole. There are conversations in here that could never have been overheard (her last words as they flew off in the final minutes), and some straight up lies (Clara Bow and the football team, for example). There's also a lot of 70s era crap about women and their faces and figures. But it was pretty blunt about how many women paid for Clark Gable's teeth (which were pretty bad and decayed), and how bad he was in bed. And Carole's tricks for keeping u Engaging fictionalized biography of Clark and Carole. There are conversations in here that could never have been overheard (her last words as they flew off in the final minutes), and some straight up lies (Clara Bow and the football team, for example). There's also a lot of 70s era crap about women and their faces and figures. But it was pretty blunt about how many women paid for Clark Gable's teeth (which were pretty bad and decayed), and how bad he was in bed. And Carole's tricks for keeping unwanted men at bay were apparently not limited to swearing like a sailor, but also involved strap-on rubber dildos, which is pretty fabulous if true. (I don't fully trust anything in here, but it does seem in character.) I'm still not a fan of Gable's after hearing Loretta Young's story, but I do still have sympathy for his loss. I think Carole was a generally wonderful, fun, fascinating person.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bob Crawford

    I grew up in Southern California where I occasionally ran into minor celebrities, but truth be told, I had little interest in them. My heroes were pilots, astronauts and athletes. Then a few years ago while doing family research on Ancestry.com I discovered a photo of my Mom’s third cousin who had married Carole Lombard’s brother. Clark Gable and Lombard stood up for the couple at the wedding. In the photo, Gable looks slightly uncomfortable, while Lombard is teasing her brother with a pair of ha I grew up in Southern California where I occasionally ran into minor celebrities, but truth be told, I had little interest in them. My heroes were pilots, astronauts and athletes. Then a few years ago while doing family research on Ancestry.com I discovered a photo of my Mom’s third cousin who had married Carole Lombard’s brother. Clark Gable and Lombard stood up for the couple at the wedding. In the photo, Gable looks slightly uncomfortable, while Lombard is teasing her brother with a pair of handcuffs - living up to her reputation as a kooky prankster. Reading this book, and another one about the air crash that killed her, reminded me that these people were more than the portraits painted by Hollywood press agents. They were real, caring, flawed human beings, as are we all. In this era of swooning worship of anybody with a website or YouTube channel, that is a useful lesson.

  8. 5 out of 5

    William

    A bit choppy at times but never uninteresting. Harris does a good job re-creating the people and events of the narrative. The tidbits he tells of private lives are sometimes so "private" that I believe he should have cited his sources closely instead of just providing a general "acknowledgements." A bit choppy at times but never uninteresting. Harris does a good job re-creating the people and events of the narrative. The tidbits he tells of private lives are sometimes so "private" that I believe he should have cited his sources closely instead of just providing a general "acknowledgements."

  9. 4 out of 5

    amy

    I read this book back in the 70's at my grandma's house--before I even knew anything about their films etc... tragic. I read this book back in the 70's at my grandma's house--before I even knew anything about their films etc... tragic.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anna Imhof

    Previously, I had read the author's biography on Clark Gable, and although I wasn't too impressed by it, I decided to read this one as well, simply because I was hoping to find out more about the relationship between Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, both of whom I adore. But it turns out that reading his book on Gable would have been enough, as I didn't learn anything new. The issues I had with the Gable book repeated themselves here: Mr. Harris often shares information that I wonder how he acqui Previously, I had read the author's biography on Clark Gable, and although I wasn't too impressed by it, I decided to read this one as well, simply because I was hoping to find out more about the relationship between Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, both of whom I adore. But it turns out that reading his book on Gable would have been enough, as I didn't learn anything new. The issues I had with the Gable book repeated themselves here: Mr. Harris often shares information that I wonder how he acquired, for example intimate conversations between Gable and Lombard when no one else was around, stuff he couldn't possibly know unless he leads a double life as a fly on the wall. The second major issue I had with the book was that after Lombard's death, he's telling the remainder of Gable's life story as if it was one continuous search for another Carole Lombard, and tries to convince us that any involvement he had with other women were solely because they resembled Carole Lombard or had similar personality traits. According to the author, Gable married Sylvia Ashley because she was so much like Carole, when the opposite is true. Sylvia Ashley was an uppity, high-maintenance society woman, the polar opposite of Carole Lombard. When that marriage predictably didn't last more than a few months, the author seriously tries to convince us that it fell apart because Gable realized she wasn't Carole Lombard. His final marriage to a woman named Kay Williams was, by all accounts, a very happy union, and again the author tries to pin its success on the fact that Kay "modeled herself after Carole", swearing like a sailor, dressing like her etc etc. While it's obvious that Gable mourned Lombard's death for a long time and this loss left a huge hole in his heart, I just don't believe that his motivation for getting involved with someone else was based on how much they reminded him of Lombard. I think that's highly unfair to the other women in his life (and to Gable, too). The author seems so obsessed with this theory of Gable "living the rest of his life with Carole's ghost", that he goes as far as saying that even his work was haunted by her, saying for example that it couldn't have been a coincidence that in his final film, "The Misfits", he was starring alongside Marilyn Monroe, "whose resemblance to Carole Lombard was striking". Uh, what? Marilyn Monroe and Carole Lombard looked nothing like each other, I mean unless you consider having blonde hair to be a striking resemblance. I don't know if the author thought it would make their love story more romantic if he portrayed Gable as this sad person on a desperate search for another Lombard. To me, their love story is romantic enough as it was. It's clear that they loved each other deeply, and that is good enough.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Don LaFountaine

    This was an engaging book about Carole Lombard, Clark Gable, and his ability to deal with her untimely death in a plane crash. Clark Gable was the leading man of the 1930's, culminating in his portrayal of Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. Carole Lombard was the Queen of screwball comedies of the 30's, one who’s on screen screwball persona showed her natural tomboyish behavior and love of life. Though she was married previously to actor William Powell, she starred with him in My Man Godfrey, wh This was an engaging book about Carole Lombard, Clark Gable, and his ability to deal with her untimely death in a plane crash. Clark Gable was the leading man of the 1930's, culminating in his portrayal of Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. Carole Lombard was the Queen of screwball comedies of the 30's, one who’s on screen screwball persona showed her natural tomboyish behavior and love of life. Though she was married previously to actor William Powell, she starred with him in My Man Godfrey, where she not only gave her arguably finest performance as an actress, but was also recognized as a wonderful actress when she was nominated for best actress. If the reader removes the famous actor and actress from their thoughts, and just thinks of the main characters as being a man and a woman, this book becomes essentially a love story. The love between them was quite real, and the death of this young woman was felt not only by her husband, but also by a nation that was beginning its long journey into the tragedy and terror of World War II. I would recommend this book to readers who like romance books, as this is basically what it is. I would also include fans of old Hollywood and people who enjoy American history.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn O'Friel

    I have no words, just a broken hearted emoji 💔 But I will leave you with a few good quotes; "I like it when the going is tough. If you wait for everything to be just right in your life, you'll never get any happiness. You have to fight for it and get it anyway. The minute you start fighting for anything, you've won. The end doesn't matter. We're so dumb we maybe don't even know what the end is. There's got to be something after this —after this life —where you can use all you've learned here, or n I have no words, just a broken hearted emoji 💔 But I will leave you with a few good quotes; "I like it when the going is tough. If you wait for everything to be just right in your life, you'll never get any happiness. You have to fight for it and get it anyway. The minute you start fighting for anything, you've won. The end doesn't matter. We're so dumb we maybe don't even know what the end is. There's got to be something after this —after this life —where you can use all you've learned here, or nothing makes any sense ... The only time you're a cinch to lose is when you won't fight for what you believe in." - Carole Lombard "I don't want to sell bonds, I don't want to make speeches, I don't want to entertain. I just want to be sent where the going is tough." - Clark Gable (after Lombard's death and before he enlisted into service to respect her wishes) Also Good Reads has it wrong there are 180 pages not 129.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Birdy

    Hollywood History Book Based on the careers and relationships around two of hey-day Hollywood's most romantic characters, this book had the potential to bring hours of laughter and tears to any reader. Instead, all events were treated as if this were a high school history text. The vast number of people who brought America through the Depression, WWII, and the new economy through entertainment unmatched since, were mentioned and documented, little more. This book describes. It should have been gho Hollywood History Book Based on the careers and relationships around two of hey-day Hollywood's most romantic characters, this book had the potential to bring hours of laughter and tears to any reader. Instead, all events were treated as if this were a high school history text. The vast number of people who brought America through the Depression, WWII, and the new economy through entertainment unmatched since, were mentioned and documented, little more. This book describes. It should have been ghostwritten by a greater author, one with heart and soul. Now I know the facts; I hope never to be drawn by the subject to read anything by Mr. Harris again.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Terri Gostola

    I found this biography to be detailed and well written. I learned a lot about both Lombard and Gable, who both led dramatic lives of their own, similar to fictional movies. I was caught up in reading this book and didn't want to put it down. I didn't not know anything about Gable's time spent in military service during World War II before reading this and that part of his life is a story all onto it's own and worth another movie. In the end I felt that I knew and loved Carole Lombard, and that I I found this biography to be detailed and well written. I learned a lot about both Lombard and Gable, who both led dramatic lives of their own, similar to fictional movies. I was caught up in reading this book and didn't want to put it down. I didn't not know anything about Gable's time spent in military service during World War II before reading this and that part of his life is a story all onto it's own and worth another movie. In the end I felt that I knew and loved Carole Lombard, and that I knew and felt very sad for Clark Gable when he suffered so much grief when he lost the love of his life.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hal

    A nicely done bio sketch of the great love match that was Clark Gable and Carol Lombard. Delving into the background on each and proceeding onto how they met and the tragic outcome and aftermath. It's hard to imagine a more suited pair than these two, primarily in light of their celebrity and how fragile that can be. The pain he suffered on her untimely death is quite sad. It also leaves us wondering how it would have been had they lived on together. A nicely done bio sketch of the great love match that was Clark Gable and Carol Lombard. Delving into the background on each and proceeding onto how they met and the tragic outcome and aftermath. It's hard to imagine a more suited pair than these two, primarily in light of their celebrity and how fragile that can be. The pain he suffered on her untimely death is quite sad. It also leaves us wondering how it would have been had they lived on together.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lloyd G. Kay

    Getting to know two great stars I love reading this book because I came to know Gable and Lombard as human beings not just stars and to realize what a strong loving relationship they had and how devastating it was when she died in an airplane crash I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in these two stars

  17. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Goddard

    Light, easy, entertaining read. Good summer beach reading. Not a huge amount of depth or insight and very respectful of both Gable and Lombard with no closet skeletons. Really well organized — opens with Lombard’s death, then goes back and covers each person’s childhood/early movie career, then returns to story of their life together.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mark Jaworski

    Fabulous history of two of Hollywood’s biggest stars, their romance, subsequent marriage and tragic ending. Great insight into the times they lived, their personalities, quirks and desires. You really get to know these two Midwestern folks thrust into the national consciousness but who at heart were just two people in love and who wanted nothing more to love and be loved by each other.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    All questions answered! Great read! What an awesome and honest tribute to the King and Queen of Hollywood. A beautiful, but very sad story of Hollywood royalty... in the making, to their heart wrenching endings. Thank you!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Pretty lightweight fare, but somewhat informative. (view spoiler)[Also, this was published before Loretta Young's revelation that Clark Gable may have sexually assaulted her, so it still mentions their "affair": https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/... (hide spoiler)] Pretty lightweight fare, but somewhat informative. (view spoiler)[Also, this was published before Loretta Young's revelation that Clark Gable may have sexually assaulted her, so it still mentions their "affair": https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/... (hide spoiler)]

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I love old Hollywood and when one thinks of it, Clark Gable is the king. I enjoyed the book. It was an easy read. It delved into the private lives of two incredible movie stars. During their lives they signified what glamour and Hollywood was all about.

  22. 5 out of 5

    alicia davis

    True love story The kind of story every woman wants to be hers. Powerfully intense. Great punctuation and vocabulary, easy to follow. I got lost in this book like a hot bubble bath and a great glass of wine.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Tregear

    Interesting read on the life and marriage of Gale and Lombard.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I enjoyed this book. it provided a lot of information about movies and stars in the 30's and 40's. I enjoyed this book. it provided a lot of information about movies and stars in the 30's and 40's.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Cividino

    Couldn’t put it down! Very well written, great flow and really informative. Nice to have perspectives from friends, co-workers, family, etc. What a life!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Deb Sheppard

    Great read!!!! Wonderful Book!!!!Kept my complete attention! Such an amazing story, things I never knew, changed my opinion of Clark Gable, sad really!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Shirley

    Such a love story.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joan Stanley

    I am sooooo sad this is over. Absolutely exhilarating reading experience! The Old Hollywood glamor, drama, and scandal is REAL in this one.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    Some facts, some benevolent fictions, a lot of heartbreak. A good bio overall.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Having read Lucy & Desi (published 2016) and The Other Marilyn (published 1985) by Warren G. Harris, it really was obvious how the writing content greatly morphed from clean writing to base, and quite unnecessary, language. While The Other Marilyn was void of crudeness, Gable & Lombard, and Lucy & Desi were rife with it. Having previously read Lucy & Desi: The Legendary Love Story of Television's Most Famous Couple (published 2016) and The Other Marilyn: A Biography Of Marilyn Miller (published 1 Having read Lucy & Desi (published 2016) and The Other Marilyn (published 1985) by Warren G. Harris, it really was obvious how the writing content greatly morphed from clean writing to base, and quite unnecessary, language. While The Other Marilyn was void of crudeness, Gable & Lombard, and Lucy & Desi were rife with it. Having previously read Lucy & Desi: The Legendary Love Story of Television's Most Famous Couple (published 2016) and The Other Marilyn: A Biography Of Marilyn Miller (published 1985) by Warren G Harris, it really was obvious how the writing content greatly morphed in a mere three decades from clean writing to base, and quite unnecessary, language. While The Other Marilyn: A Biography Of Marilyn Miller was void of crudeness, Gable & Lombard: A Biography and Lucy & Desi: The Legendary Love Story of Television's Most Famous Couple were, unfortunately, rife with it. I would have given this book a full five stars, however, I did not finish it – I abandoned it by the middle of the second chapter—particularly since the author put words in Lombard’s mouth, words that he could have not possibly been known if she spoke them or not. Specifically, he purports Lombard said this and that on the plane as she, her mother, and associates flew from the East Coast to the West Coast. There could not possibly be records of conversation, especially since there was total destruction at the plane crash site, and social media was not even a twinkle in anyone’s eye at the time for that to be floating on some cyber cloud in perpetuity. Also knocking down my rating and showing my disappointment is that the author fell into the abyss of passing along the actual vulgarities supposedly spewed by Gable and Lombard. That was so very unnecessary, but I am coming to see that that is the trend today – it seems to be so chic. 🗑 Though it fell short for me, I am sure other readers will find this book entertaining. There are no photographs, save for the book cover. 🟣

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