Motivational Moustaches

Francis A. Gregory Library

Motivational Moustaches

Part V: Clark Gable, the King of Hollywood

Clark Gable on IMDB"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

Clark Gable's forthright line as Rhett Butler in 1939's Gone with the Wind is one of the most famous quotes of the silver screen. But before he became the leading man of Hollywood's Golden Age, Gable was born Feb. 1, 1901 in Cadiz, Ohio, into humble beginnings, working in a tire factory and even selling ties door-to-door.

Clark Gable only began acting in his 20s, but by his 30s became popularly known as the King of Hollywood, and rightfully so. A man so manly, charming and profound, Clark Gable was even the inspiration for half of Superman's alter ego, Clark Kent.

Starring in nearly 70 feature films, Clark Gable was an actor known for his ingenuity, a trait that earned him three Academy Award nominations, two Golden Globes nominations, a Laurel Award, a Golden Boot Award, as well as a Star on the Walk of Fame. In fact, he's an actor so durable and impressive, he played the lead in both the original film Red Dust (1932) and its remake Mogambo (1953) 20 years later.

Primarily known as an actor, he was also a devoted husband and serviceman, serving as Major in the 31st Bomb Unit during the United States Army Air Forces from 1942-1944, an act of patriotism that honored his late wife and world-famous actress, Carole Lombard, who was tragically killed in a plane crash before his voluntary enlistment.

Clark Gable earns a spot in our countdown of most motivational moustaches by not only being a rugged example of masculinity, but for being a gentle and giving soul. Upon winning his Oscar for Best Actor in It Happened One Night, Clark Gable gave the award to a boy who admired it, simply stating, "It's winning the statue that matters, not owning it."

Doris Day summed him up perfectly: "No actor I ever performed with had such public appeal. He was as masculine as any man I've ever known and as much a little boy as a grown man could be -- it was this combination that had such a devastating effect on women. But there was nothing of 'the King' about his personality. Just the opposite. Utter simplicity. Uncomplicated. A man who lived on a simple, down-to-earth scale."

In honor of motivational moustaches everywhere, join us in celebration of this brilliant man with a beautiful moustache in his 1935 Oscar-winning performance on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m. for the first installation in our Oscars Winners Film Series, featuring winner of all five major categories in the 1935 Academy Awards including Best Actor, Clark Gable. And when the movie is over, check out our collection of Clark Gable's films and biographies at DC Public Library.

More Motivational Moustaches: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four.