clark gable family tree

Clark Gable Family Tree

As a genealogy enthusiast, my experience delving into the Clark Gable family tree has been a fascinating journey. Each discovery feels like stepping back in time, unveiling the rich tapestry of his life beyond the silver screen.

I believe that exploring the branches of Gable's ancestry provides unique insights into the man behind the legend, his five marriages, and his descendants. My expertise in family history research has allowed me to appreciate the intricate personal stories that form the foundation of his enduring legacy, stories as captivating as his most memorable film roles.

Key Takeaways

  • Clark Gable had multiple marriages, including to Josephine Dillon, Carole Lombard, Sylvia Ashley, and Kay Williams.
  • Gable had children, including John Clark Gable and Judy Lewis.
  • Gable's marriage to Carole Lombard ended tragically with her death in a plane crash.
  • Gable's early life was shaped by his marriage to Josephine Dillon, who played a significant role in shaping his acting career.

Early Ancestry Overview

Delving into the roots of William Clark Gable's lineage, you uncover the tapestry of his early ancestry, which set the stage for his ascent to Hollywood stardom. His family tree reveals that Clark Gable, born William Clark Gable, sprouted from humble beginnings. His father, William Henry 'Will' Gable, intertwined his life with Jennie Dunlap, whose union brought forth the future star in Cadiz, Ohio. Jennie Dunlap's nurturing and Henry Will Gable's guidance provided the familial foundation that would support his future endeavors.

Despite the modest start in Hopedale, the winds of fate steered Gable towards Josephine Dillon in New York, his first acting coach and wife, who refined his raw talent. This transformation marked the genesis of a legendary career, shaping Gable into a cinematic icon.

Gable's Immediate Family

Clark Gable's immediate family, the cornerstone of his personal life, comprised his parents, William Henry Gable and Adeline J. Hershelman, as well as a succession of wives who each left a distinct mark on his storied legacy.

He was born in Cadiz, Ohio, but his star rose in the hearts of many from New York to Los Angeles County. His marriage to actress Carole Lombard was perhaps the most storied, ending tragically with her death in a plane crash.

  • Father & Mother: William Henry Gable and Adeline J. Hershelman shaped Clark's early years.
  • Marriages: Tied to Josephine Dillon, Carole Lombard, Sylvia Ashley, and Kay Williams.
  • Children: Including John Clark Gable and Judy Lewis, whose parentage was initially a secret.
  • Legacy: Clark Gable's family and personal history are as captivating as his films.

Marriage to Josephine Dillon

When Clark Gable wed Josephine Dillon in 1924, he not only gained a partner in life but also an influential mentor who'd shape his nascent acting career. As an actor, Gable's raw talent needed honing, and Dillon, an experienced acting coach, was pivotal. She meticulously worked on refining his voice, ensuring his facial expressions became more natural, and taught him better body control—skills crucial for the silver screen.

Their union was a catalyst; Gable's potential as a leading man crystallized under her guidance. Together, they moved to New York, the mecca for aspiring actors, setting the stage for Gable's future iconic roles as Fletcher Christian and others. Married to Dillon, Gable embarked on a transformative journey, solidifying his path to Hollywood stardom.

Union With Maria Langham

In 1931, Gable's life entered a new chapter as he tied the knot with Maria Franklin Prentiss Lucas Langham, better known as Ria Langham, marking the beginning of a marriage that would endure through his pinnacle years in Hollywood. As a married Texas socialite, Ria brought a new level of prestige to actor Clark Gable's life. Their union, while not yielding children, saw the new family settled amid the glamor and bustle of Tinseltown.

  • Ria Langham: Became the widow of actor Clark Gable upon his death in 1960.
  • Durability of Marriage: Their bond lasted 29 years, encapsulating Gable's most celebrated cinematic era.
  • Family Dynamics: Gable's father had previously refused to raise him, adding complexity to Gable's understanding of family.
  • Location Shift: Gable's father moved to Tulsa, leaving a lasting imprint on Gable's early life experiences.

Carol Lombard: Iconic Romance

While Gable's marriage to Ria Langham solidified his status as a Hollywood stalwart, it was his subsequent union with Carole Lombard that truly epitomized the romance of the silver screen. As the film actor renowned for his portrayal of Rhett Butler in 'Gone with the Wind,' Clark Gable (February 1, 1901 – November 16, 1960) had already captured the public's adoration.

Yet, it was his marriage to Lombard, an actress with an infectious comedic talent and a flair for captivating audiences, that added a glamorous sheen to his public persona. Their love story, though tragically cut short by Lombard's untimely death, remains a poignant chapter in Hollywood history.

Lombard's legacy endures, her charm and talent forever entwined with Gable's celebrated career and the Academy Award for Best he so famously won.

Sylvia Ashley and Post-War Life

Sylvia Ashley, Clark Gable's fifth and final wife, stepped into the limelight of high society and opulence after their marriage in 1949, embodying resilience and independence throughout her glamorous post-war life. After Gable's death, she didn't retreat from the public eye; rather, she continued to grace high-profile events, marrying Prince Dimitri Djordjadze in 1966 and maintaining her socialite status.

  • Marriage to Clark Gable: Solidified her place in the upper echelons of society.
  • Glamorous Lifestyle: Continued attending events, showcasing her enduring elegance.
  • Resilience: Demonstrated by her ability to navigate life after Gable's passing.
  • Independence: Reflected in her choice to remarry and remain an active figure within the social scene.

Analyzing her trajectory, you'll find a woman who, like Gable after World War II—adorned with the Distinguished Flying Cross, the American Campaign Medal, and the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal—carried on with dignity after the spotlight of their union dimmed and his discharge papers were signed. Her life paralleled the transformation of the Army Air Forces as the Air Force became an independent service, marking a new chapter of autonomy and prestige.

Kay Williams: Final Marriage

Kay Williams stepped into the role of Clark Gable's wife with a grace that would see her through their union and beyond his death in 1960. When Gable returned to the altar in 1955, he wasn't just embracing a final marriage; he was entwining his legacy with Kay Williams. This union, his fifth, was more than the actor after seeing triumphs and tribulations—it was a testament to his enduring search for companionship.

As Clark's widow, Kay bore the weight of his passing, a heart attack ten days after filming 'The Misfits,' with stoic dignity. Their marriage, though brief, was marked by a deep affection, leaving Kay to cherish the memory of the screen legend. She remained a poignant figure in the narrative of the Garsons and Gables, long after Clark's death.

Children and Their Lineage

Navigating beyond the realm of Clark Gable's marriages reveals the complex branches of his family tree, most notably the existence of his daughter Judy Lewis, whose clandestine beginnings with actress Loretta Young cast a shadow on Hollywood's Golden Age.

As you delve deeper into his lineage:

  • Judy Lewis, born hidden from public scrutiny, was the offspring of two cinematic titans.
  • Her life was a tapestry woven with the threads of her parents' fame, her father being an iconic American film actor and her mother an Academy Award-winning actress.
  • Despite her secret parentage, Judy inherited artistic talent, pursuing a career akin to the stars of her lineage.
  • Lewis's story is a poignant narrative within the annals of her father's storied film career, marked by associations with Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, and the glamour of a bygone era.

Thus, Judy Lewis's existence bridges the personal and professional worlds of Clark Gable, reflecting a legacy that transcends his time in the United States Army, his marriages, and his enduring imprint on Hollywood.

Notable Relatives and Connections

A myriad of illustrious names and relationships branch out from Clark Gable's family tree, each bearing their own significance within the tapestry of Hollywood's history.

His daughter, Judy Lewis, emerged from a clandestine affair with Loretta Young, blending the legacies of two stars.

Gable's marriage to Carole Lombard—whose life was tragically cut short—added a layer of storied romance to his profile.

His connections deepened with ties to Joan Crawford and Lana Turner, magnifying his influence in the film industry.

Additionally, marriages to Maria Franklin Prentiss Lucas Langham—whose maiden name was Dillon—and others enriched his personal narrative.

Gable's legacy was further cemented by his association with the American Film Institute, solidifying his enduring connection to entertainment's elite.

Gable's Legacy and Descendants

While the glamorous connections and relationships of Clark Gable's family tree illuminate his storied past, it's his remarkable legacy and descendants that continue to carry the torch of his cinematic greatness. Gable's impact on film as a quintessential male star is enduring. Known as the King of Hollywood, his portrayal of Rhett Butler remains a touchstone of American cinema.

Here's a snapshot of Gable's enduring legacy:

  • Iconic Roles: Gable's Rhett Butler in 'Gone with the Wind' is a testament to his talent and charisma.
  • Academy Award Recognition: He won Best Actor, cementing his place in Hollywood's pantheon.
  • AFI Acknowledgment: Ranked seventh among the Greatest Male Stars.
  • Continued Celebration: His work, celebrated by the American Film Institute, inspires both his descendants and the film industry.

-Are there any connections between the family trees of Clark Gable and James A. Garfield?

The James A. Garfield genealogy tree reveals no direct connections to Clark Gable’s family tree. Despite both their prominent roles in American history, there is no evidence of familial ties. However, extensive research into their respective lineages could potentially uncover unexpected connections.

Frequently Asked Questions

Did Clark Gable Have Family?

You're asking about Clark Gable's family—yes, he had one. Gable was married five times and had a daughter, Judy Lewis. His personal life was complex, marked by both passionate love and profound loss.

Does Clark Gable Have Any Grandchildren?

Yes, you've likely heard of Kayley Gable, born in 1986, Clark Gable's only grandchild through his son John. She's kept out of the limelight, unlike her iconic grandfather.

When Did Clark Gable Come Out?

You might be wondering about when Clark Gable emerged in Hollywood. He shot to fame in the 1930s, notably winning an Oscar for his 1934 performance in "It Happened One Night."

Was Clark James Gable Related to Clark Gable?

Yes, Clark James Gable was indeed related to the legendary actor; he was his grandson, continuing the legacy within the entertainment industry as a host and actor himself.


You've traced the roots of Clark Gable's storied legacy, from his Ohio beginnings to Hollywood royalty. His marriages, notably to Carol Lombard, and final union with Kay Williams, expanded his family tree.

His lineage continues through his children, preserving the Gable name.

Analyzing this family tree, you find a tapestry of connections that not only shaped Gable's life but also left an indelible mark on cinematic history, echoing through generations of actors and fans alike.