WITH THE NAME CLARK
William Clark Gable was one of the most popular screen idols in the history of the movies, a handsome and dashing he-man heartthrob who was seemingly born to play Rhett Butler. Nicknamed â€œThe King of Hollywoodâ€, he starred in dozens of movies, was nominated for (and won once, for It Happened One Night) Academy Awards, and was the subject of countless biographies. He died too young, at age 59, after the filming of The Misfits, but what a life he packed into those too few years! From an unremarkable childhood in Ohio, he made his way West to Portland, Oregon, where he married his first wife, a woman 17 years his senior, who paid for some cosmetic makeovers and voice lessons. Thus armed, the two went to Hollywood and Clark began landing bit parts. His big break came in the above-mentioned comedy, starring opposite Claudette Colbert. This was followed by Mutiny on the Bounty, which also garnered him an academy award nomination and the natural segue was set for Gone With the Wind. By this time, he was married for the third time, to star Carole Lombard, whose death in a plane crash in 1942 propelled him into the service on active duty as a gunner. Returning to Hollywood after the war, he found that his star was waning and styles were shifting toward younger men. He made some good and some not so good movies in the fifties, got married and divorced yet again, and then died in 1960 after finishing The Misfits. By this time he was in his fifth marriage, to Kay Spreckles, who bore him a son posthumously, John Clark Gable. In 1935 he had sired a daughter, Judy Lewis, with actress Loretta Young; the affair was kept under wraps and Ms. Young pretended to adopt her daughter, not telling her anything about her true origins until confronted by her when she was 31 years old. Clark Gable never publicly acknowledged her. So, perhaps this handsome, devil-may-care persona was a little less than sterling in character, what with the marriages, the extramarital affairs, the illegitimate child, the boozing, etc., etc. You know something? Sure, you do. We have to say it. Frankly, my dears, we donâ€™t give a damn.
William Clark was an American explorer who, along with Meriwether Lewis, led the dangerous and arduous Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1803/06, which opened up the Pacific Northwest for the United States. Prior to and after the expedition, William Clark served in the United States Army and in the militia; he was governor of the Missouri Territory and, for 16 years up to his death, served as Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Although never formally educated, William was a great reader and a writer of no little flair, as his logs from the expedition demonstrate. Married twice, he produced eight children, but of course, popular history is always looking for a little spice, so there were rumors of an involvement with Sacagawea along the exploration route. Sacagawea joined the expedition along with her French trapper husband, Toussaint Charbonneau, while pregnant with her first child, giving birth to him shortly thereafter. Her skill as an interpreter/guide and her obvious distraction as a new mother make the possibility of outside hanky-panky quite remote â€“ nonetheless, William Clark did formally become the boyâ€™s guardian in 1815, after Sacagaweaâ€™s death. But thatâ€™s another story.