Saturday, February 1, 2003

Ohio Moments

Gable's career began in an Akron playhouse

On Feb. 1, 1901, Clark Gable was born in Cadiz, in Harrison County. William Clark Gable descended from German immigrant farmers on both sides. His parents, Bill and Adeline Hershelman Gable, married in 1900 and rented an apartment in tiny Cadiz. Adeline died 9 months after Clark's birth, and he was cared for by her parents in Vernon Township until the following year, when his father remarried and moved him to Hopedale, Ohio. Gable dropped out of high school against his father's wishes in his third year and took a job at a tire factory in Akron. After watching a production of "The Bird of Paradise" at a local playhouse he took a nonpaying job as a backstage callboy with the stock company. Gable's father was appalled at his theatrical aspirations and took him to Oklahoma to work in the oil fields - a dirty job that he hated. But he did it until he received a meager inheritance from his grandfather. Gable strode into the Crawford County Courthouse and signed for his $300 on his 21st birthday, then set out to begin his acting career. It is reported that his father was so furious that he refused to speak to Gable for the next 10 years - after he had made it big as a Hollywood film star.

Rebecca Goodman

Ohio Moments will appear here during 2003. Have a suggestion? Contact Rebecca Goodman at or (513) 768-8361.

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