Queer Places:
Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale) Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA, Plot Great Mausoleum, Memorial Terrace, Sanctuary of Trust, Mausoleum Crypt 5868

Clark Gable (February 1, 1901 – November 16, 1960) is known to have indulged in at least one drunken same-sex encounter: with wildman actor William Haines.

Years later, in 1938, gay director George Cukor—a close friend of Haines’—was working with Gable on Gone with the Wind. Another friend, Andy Lawler, was overheard at a party to exclaim, “Oh, George is directing one of Billy’s old tricks.” When word of the remark reached Gable, he stormed off the set and refused to return until Cukor was replaced. In Gable’s words, “I won’t be directed by a fairy! I have to work with a real man!” Victor Fleming was brought in to finish directing the Civil War epic.

Gable may have been particularly sensitive about his sexuality because his birth certificate mistakenly recorded him as a female. While he was growing up, his father often berated him and called him a sissy. When he was twenty-three Gable married forty-year-old acting coach Josephine Dillon, who told him, “I’ll at least make an actor of you, for you’ll never be a man.” Gable later claimed their marriage was never consummated. His third wife and the love of his life Carole Lombard once said disparagingly of his manhood: “If he was one inch shorter we’d be talking about the Queen of Hollywood.”

In the mid-1930s, William Faulkner went to Hollywood. He was joined by Ben Wasson. While there, he met and befriended Clark Gable, whose sexuality included an attraction to women but also included a closeted appetite for men.As late as 1942 Faulkner and Hawkes continued to hunt together with Gable often joining them as a companion and a drinking buddy. Hawkes’s wife would recall a 1942 incident after one such hunting expedition when “Faulkner and Gable shared a bottle of bourbon—very jolly and then very sleepy”. In his biography of Gable, David Bret describes his sexual maneuvering and labels him bisexual because Gable had as many affairs with women as with men and even married more than one woman. Growing up, Gable inherited from his father a disdain for effeminate homosexuality, but nonetheless he willingly engaged in numerous homosexual affairs throughout his life, from his earliest years in small community theaters to the height of his career as a major movie star. Gable represents what Bret calls the “lavender ladder,” or a well-established sexual trade in Hollywood in which a man such as Gable, trying to advance his career in the business, would trade sex for money or for better theatrical roles. Moreover, despite Gable’s disgust with effeminate homosexuality, Bret offers numerous stories that lead him to the conclusion that Gable preferred the passive role in his homosexual relationships. Bret quotes from several of Gable’s former male sexual partners to establish that Gable was a “bottom,” a role often associated with the effeminate partner in a homosexual relationship and, generally, with effeminacy. Gable did not engage only in homosex. He married women, but he was openly promiscuous even when he was married and many of his relationships were with women attempting a “lavender marriage” (or at least lavender date) to cover their own preference for women.


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