Soon after his arrival in Portland, the now early 20's Gable, joined a prominent acting group which was headed by Josephine Dillon, a former Broad- way actress. Dillon took to the innocent Gable quickly, and began to coach and mold the promising new-comer. Late, following Dillon's having Gable's teeth re-capped, the two moved to L.A., California, there the two were married. Gable was 22, Dillon, 37.
In 1925, Gable landed his first role, as an extra in the silent film classic, " The Plastic Age." A role for which Gable went un-noticed. Lionel Barrymore saw the young Gable's first attempt, and pressed MGM to give the aspiring actor a screen test. This MGM screen test was viewed by production chief Irving Thalberg, who scoffed at Gable's work, and turned him down. In 1931, Gable was taken in by the prominent agent, Mina Wallace, who succeeded in landing Gable his first leading role, in an independant production, "The Painted Desert", by assuring the producers that Gable could ride a horse. Though this promise was a lie, Wallace sent Gable to two weeks of riding lessons, and when filming began, Gable could indeed ride a horse. Irving Thalberg, after seeing this peroformance by Gable, was forced to re-evaluate his prior decision reguarding Gable's possibilities for MGM, and offered Gable a two years contract, which would pay the actor $650.00 a week.
And in his first year, Gable made an unheard of, for any actor in 1931, 12 films. During his first year with MGM, controlling partner, L.B. Mayer, and master publicist, Howard Strickland, made Gable over, by giving him a sportier look, and making the young actor work extra hours after his 14 hour studio days. Throughout his career, Gable never openly acknowledged that he was indeed Mayer's creation.
On screen, Gable was always the cynical rouge that was incapable of commitment. In real life, however, Gable was the complete opposite of his on screen appearance. In real life, Gable was a highly committed man, who liked to hunt duck for relaxation and relief from the strains of Hollywood. Gable had once commented, " Everything in this business is a chain of accidents," but in 1931, Gable made a decision that would become the thing from making this statement true. Gable, frustrated by his overbearing workload of 20 films made with seemingly no break, threatened to leave MGM saying, " If this is what it's like to be a success, when will I have time to enjoy it?" Gable went to L.B. Mayer and demanded better roles and a bigger salary. Mayer, rather that give in to Gable's demands, loan the star to Columbia Pictures to keep him pacified, and prevent him from leaving his beloved MGM. While on loan to Columbia, Gable performed in a film that elated the star and infuriated his boss, Mayer, because in 1935, the film, directed by Frank Cappra garnered 5 Oscar's. This film was, "It Happened One Night."
When Gable returned to MGM, he immediately began filming new projects.Some of which included "China Seas," with Jean Harlow, 3 along side Joan Crawford( who also claimed that she and Gable engaged in an affair which spanned 30 years.), "Mutiny on the Bounty," and "The Call of the Wild," a screen adaptation of Jack London's best seller, in which Gable was paired with a up and coming young starlette named Loretta Young. While on location in the frozen North, ( I am not sure if they mean Alaska or Canada), the cast and crew became snow bound, and Gable and Young began a torrid love affair and secretly married. Young became pregnant, delivered a little girl, ( after returning to California), which Gable himself never publically acknowledged as his child. Gable saw this child for the first time when she was 15. The child, whose name was Jean, never saw her father again.
In 1938, speaking on behalf of 20 million fans, Ed Sullivan, on his radio show, crowned Gable and Mirna Loy the "King and Queen of the Silver Screen." A title which Gable still holds today.
He passed away on Novemember 16,1960.