Wednesday, May 19, 2010


One of the brightest luminaries in my list of favorite personalities and eccentrics is Carole Lombard. Tragic and beautiful, one of the most magnetic combinations, although I would in no way call her life tragic - just her death.

Other than being a miniature-sized tomboy with a penchant for blue language, she also happened to be an icily beautiful blonde with an unlikely flair for comedy. Seems that everyone who met her raved about her unpretentious and charming ways.

I think her whole life was interesting. She was married to Bill Powell, for god's sake. She's like the thinking woman's Jean Harlow (ouch, sorry Jean). Incidentally, Jean spent some time with Bill as well. You can see Carole and Bill getting along amicably post-divorce in My Man Godfrey. It comes recommended.

Carole was in a pretty bad car accident early in her career and had to undergo reconstructive facial surgery because of it. She did this without anesthetic as the belief of the day was that anesthetics caused worse scarring. Sorry, but THEY PUT HER FACE BACK TOGETHER WITH NO DRUGS. SHE WAS AWAKE. That's...pretty serious business.

Eventually she fell for loser Clark Gable, whose caddishness was probably lessened greatly by his relationship with Carole, however not enough to prevent rumors of an affair with Lana Turner a couple of years into the marriage. Carole had a particularly strong sense of American patriotism and was touring the country selling war bonds with her mother at the time. She caught wind of this affair and insisted that she and her mother fly back to Hollywood immediately, so immediately that instead of waiting for a commercial flight, she managed to get two seats on a military plane headed west. Her mother pleaded that they take a train due to a recent dark premonition about flying, but Carole wouldn't have it.

The plane went down somewhere over Nevada and everyone on board was killed. Carole was posthumously awarded a medal of freedom in 1942 by Roosevelt and called the first woman killed in action in WWII for her support.


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