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Carole Lombard

Signed Autograph Card

Bold, florid fountain pen autograph in red ink on white paper.

CAROLE LOMBARD (1908-1942) was an Oscar-nominated American actress. She was particularly noted for her comedic roles in several classic films of the 1930s. She is listed as one of the American Film Institute's greatest stars of all time.

Lombard's most famous relationship came in 1936 when she became involved with actor Clark Gable. They had worked together previously in 1932's No Man of Her Own, but at the time Lombard was still happily married to William Powell and Gable already had more women than he was willing to deal with. They were indifferent to each other on the set and did not keep in touch. It was not until 1936, when Gable came to the Mayfair Ball that Lombard had planned, that their romance began to take off. It was said that Gable and Lombard danced all night before disappearing. The disappearance, however, did not go further than driving around the block a few times, Lombard infuriating Gable, and not speaking to each other for the remainder of the evening. The following morning, Lombard sent Gable peace doves and their relationship took off in earnest. They still had to be quiet about their romance as Gable was still married to Ria Langham and a divorce would cost him a fortune. It was not until a scandalous article called Hollywood's Unmarried Husbands and Wives was printed in a fan magazine cited the Gable/Lombard romance in public that censorship chief and head of the Hayes Code Will Hayes went to Louis B. Mayer and demand he do something about contract stars Gable and Robert Taylor, who had also been mentioned in the article due to his relationship with Barbara Stanwyck. They were given a choice: to either marry the women or end their relationships. Both took the former route. This reason also proved a major factor in Gable accepting the role of Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind, as Selznick wanted Gable so much for the part that he was willing to pay almost any price. Gable accepted the salary, but it still was not enough to keep him from losing the majority of his fortune. He divorced Langham on March 7, 1939 and proposed to Lombard in a telephone booth at Hollywood's Brown Derby. During a break in production on Gone With the Wind, Gable and Lombard were married on March 29. They bought a ranch previously owned by director Raoul Walsh in Encino, California and lived a happy, unpretentious life. To all who knew Gable, she was the love of his life.

Off-screen, Lombard was much loved for her unpretentious personality and well known for her earthy sense of humor and blue language. Friends of Lombard's included Marion Davies, William Haines, Jean Harlow, Fred MacMurray, Cary Grant, Jack Benny, William Powell and Lucille Ball.

Shortly after her death at the age of 33, Gable (who was inconsolable and devastated by her loss) joined the United States Army Air Forces, serving primarily in Public Affairs but on occasion flew aboard bombers on combat missions. The Liberty ship SS Lombard was named for her and Gable attended its launch on January 15, 1944.


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