Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Happy Birthday Carole Lombard (1908-1942)
The 5' 2" beauty was a comedy hit during the 30s and 40s. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana on October 6, 1908 under the name of Jane Alice Peters. Young Jane Alice loved the Friday night movie night with her family and would perform the night before's show in the morning. Her mother and her father divorced in October of 1914. Jane Alice, her two older brothers, and their mother, Elizabeth Knight Peters moved to Los Angeles. When she was 12 she had a small part in a silent film called a Perfect Crime. An executive in 1925 from FOX PICTURES asked her to do a screen test, which was a success, but the film, which was to be her first spy film, Marriage In Transit(1925), wasn't. Carole Lombard, the actress, was born. In early 1927 she was tested by the Mack Sennet Studio, who put her under contract, only this time it was a comedy, not a spy film. Lombard became the top comedienne at the studio as she molded herself into the comedy life. Paul Stei, a Pathe director, saw her in a Sennet comedy and immediately put her under contract for $150 a week. Several films later she took a side step when director, Cecil B. DeMille called for her and then changed his mind. When she left Pathe in 1930 at the age of 18 she returned to FOX. She soon signed with Paramount for $300 a week but after 6 years was earning the sum of $35,000 a week! In October 1930 she met William Powell and then eight months later they were married on the day of June 26, 1931. Carole age 23 and William age 39 were married for 23 months but divorced in 1933. They stayed friends and film partners. In 1937 in My Man Godfrey (1936) (with Powell) earned her an Academy Award Nomination.
There was a new person now, the crowned King of Hollywood" Clark Gable. They had made one movie together No Man Of Her Own (1932) in 1932. They were married, in March 1939, after Gable was separated from his wife Rhea Langham. They bought and lived in a 20 acre ranch in San Fernando Valley. They weren't Hollywood Socialites; they weren't glamorous; they wanted a simple life out of Hollywood's bright lights. They nick named each other Ma and Pa and were role modeled as the ideal marriage. Tragedy struck on a war bond tour that Carole and her mother were on. The plane they were traveling in (TWA Flight #3) crashed. Her last words, in her home state of Indiana, to all the people were just before boarding the plane, "Before I say goodbye to you all - come on - join me in a big cheer- V for victory!" All 22 passengers died in the crash.