REMEMBERING THE KING OF HOLLYWOOD
Two days after ‘The Misfits’ wrapped up shooting, Clark Gable suffered a heart attack. He died ten days later, November 16, 1961, at the age of 59.
Perhaps best known for his role as Rhett Butler in the epic ‘Gone with the Wind,’ his best role in my opinion, and in his own opinion, was that as the aging wildhorse-roping cowboy in ‘The Misfits’ starring Marilyn Monroe. It was also Marilyn’s best role, but she hated it, and her performance.
Written by Marilyn’s husband at the time, the great playwright Arthur Miller and directed by the legendary John Huston, the movie also starred Montgomery Clift, Eli Wallach and the great character actress Thelma Ritter.
Gable did many of his own stunts roping the wild horses and the struggle and the strain of that showed in his face and in his whole body afterwards.
Gable called it the best picture he ever made.
On the last day of filming, this is what he said about working with Marilyn:
“Christ, I’m glad this picture’s finished. She damn near gave me a heart attack.”
He may have been referring to her unexpectedly going nude during a bedroom scene. Huston cut the scene but it still exists in a locked safe.
After the shooting finished Gable suffered a severe coronary thrombosis and died ten days later. ‘The Misfits’ was the last completed film for both Marilyn and Gable.
Marilyn became increasingly dependent upon pills during shooting — taking three times the normal dosage of the sleeping aid Nembutal. She often showed up on the set hours late; once filming had to be halted while she spent a week in hospital being treated for drug use.
She died a year and half later under suspicious circumstances, allegedly of a drug overdose, but to this day, she is believed by many to have been murdered to cover up affairs with President Kennedy and Bobbie Kennedy.
The beauty of Hollywood’s greatest icon shone through in that movie about the rowdy cowboys.
As Gable’s character Gay Langland told her as they drove back “home”: “You just shine in my eyes, Roslyn.”