Carole Lombard ~ Hollywood's Tragic Angel

Carole Lombard In Color

Carole Lombard was one of Hollywood's most popular actresses until she died in a tragic plane crash

She was born Jane Alice Peters on October 6, 1908, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. When she was a child her wealthy parents separated. Carole moved to Los Angeles, California with her mother and two brothers. At the age of twelve director Allan Dwan saw her playing baseball and gave her a small role in the 1921 film A Perfect Crime. Soon after she dropped out of school to pursue her acting career dull-time. Carole was chosen to be one of Mack Sennett's bathing beauties. She appeared in more than a dozen Sennett shorts including Run Girl Run, The Best Man, and The Campus Vamp. In 1927 she was involved in a serious car accident that scarred her face. Luckily she was able to resume her career after having plastic surgery. She was offered a contract with Paramount for $350 a week. The beautiful blonde was given starring roles in Safety In Numbers and Up Pops. Carole married actor William Powell, her costar in Ladies Man, in 1931. They divorced two years later but remained close friends. Then she started a romance with singer Russ Columbo and it was rumored they planned to marry.

Carole LombardCarole Lombard In Color

Carole Lombard With Her Pets

Tragically on September 2, 1934 Russ was killed in a shooting accident. She would always call him the great love of her life. After Russ's death she dated actors Gary Cooper and George Raft. During the 1930s she starred in a string of hits including Twentieth Century, Rumba, We're Not Dressing, and Love Before Breakfast. She became one of Hollywood's most popular comediennes and was earning more than $450,000 year. Her close friends nicknamed her "The Profane Angel" because she loved telling dirty jokes and often shocked people with her bad language. In 1936 she co-starred with ex-husband William Powell in the screwball comedy My Man Godfrey and was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance. She began dating Clark Gable, her costar in the 1932 comedy No Man Of Her Own. They were married in March of 1939 after a three year romance. Carole and Clark bought a large ranch in Encino and were considered one of Hollywood's happiest couples. Unfortunately he often cheated on her with his female co-stars.

Carole LombardCarole Lombard

Carole Lombard

 She took time off to have a baby but sadly she suffered two miscarriages. Carole returned to the screen in 1941 to star in Alfred Hitchcock's comedy Mr. And Mrs. Smith. To help the war effort she and her mother attended a war bond rally in her home state of Indiana. On January 16, 1942 she decided to fly home early to see Clark. There were rumors he was having an affair with his young co-star Lana Turner. Her mother, an astrologist, begged her not to go on flight number three because it was an unlucky number. She refused to listen to her mother's warning and insisted they board the flight. Shortly after takeoff the plane crashed in Las Vegas and tragically everyone on board was killed. Carole was only thirty-three years old. She and her mother were buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Her final film, To Be Or Not To Be, was released after her death. Clark Gable was so devastated by her death that he enlisted in the Army. President Roosevelt awarded Carole the Medal Of Freedom for being the first woman killed in the line of duty during the war.

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