Learning about Lombard through her 'king'Posted by vp19 on 2010.02.25 at 15:55
Current mood: excited
When we recently asked how people became fans of Carole Lombard, several of the responses said the interest was initiated through her relationship with Clark Gable. So it should come as no surprise that one of the most vivid word portraits of Lombard can be found in a Gable biography.
That bio is Lyn Tornabene's "Long Live The King," which was released in 1976, the same mid-seventies period where several books were written about Clark and/or Carole (as well as the pseudo-biopic "Gable And Lombard").
"Long Live The King" has numerous Lombard references, most of them naturally tied into either her romance and eventual marriage to Gable and the film they worked on several years earlier, "No Man Of Her Own." However, there is also a seven-page chapter on Carole, explaining her background and personality, and it makes for lovely reading.
"Biographers claim she had her share of affairs, and if she did, she had them discreetly. 'She wasn't a sleep-around girl,' says Buster Collier, who was one of her manny male buddies. "Anyway, a lot of guys were scared of her."
Tornabene interviewed Alice Marble, the tennis champion whose career and comeback were sponsored by Carole. Marble allowed her to run the letter of encouragement Lombard had sent her in 1934, before they had ever met.
Tornabene describes Carole's career fairly and accurately: "At no time was she an overnight sensation. No miracles of public recognition served her as they did Gable. Hers was a grueling, rung-by-rung climb over and around the crops of overbleached Kewpies proliferating in Hollywood in the early thirties."
"Long Live The King" is worth checking out, not only for its Lombard descriptions but for the way the author shows how Gable became Gable. It also makes one wish someone would write the definitive Lombard bio.