Carole Lombard is an American actress, born on 6 October 1908, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States. She died on 16, January 1942, at a very early age of 33 years. Lombard took her last breath in Mount Potosi, Nevada in the United States.
The cause of her death in a plane crash that happened in 1942, we will discuss her life, biography, relationship, career, and other aspects in detail in this article, so, stick till the end.
|Real Name||Carole Lombard|
|Date of Birth||6 October 1908|
|Date of Death||16 January 1942|
|Age When Died||33 Years|
|Birthplace||Fort Wayne Indiana, United States|
|Hometown||Fort Wayne Indiana, United States|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters- 160 cm
in meters- 1.60 m
in feet inches- 5'3"
|Weight (approx.)||in kilograms- 51 kg
in pounds- 112 lbs
|Bra Size||33 inches|
|Waist Size||24 inches|
|Hips Size||33 inches|
|Debut||"A perfect Crime" |
|Relationships & Affairs|
|Husband Name||William Powell (m. 1931–1933)
Clark Gable (m. 1938)
|Parents||Father- Frederick C. Peters
Mother- Elizabeth Knight
|Siblings||Brother- Stuart Peters, and Fred C. Peters Jr|
|Children||She had no children|
|Net Worth [approx.]||16 million US dollars (at her time)|
Early Life & Family
Carole Lombard had a family of 5, that include her father, her mother, her 2 older brothers, and herself. The name of her father was Frederic Christian Peters and her mother’s name was Elizabeth Jayne Bessie Peters.
Both of the parents were financially very stable and in fact very good. Her mother, Elizabeth came from a family of knights, so was actually from a wealthy background. Lombard’s father also belonged to a wealthy and well-to-do family.
Lombard had two brothers, both older than her, named Frederic Charles and John Stuart. Frederic was born in 1902 and died in 1979 and her other brother John Stuart was born two years later than Frederic in 1906 and died in 1956.
Carole herself was born another two years later in 1908, but she was named Jane Alice Peters. She later changed it after joining the entertainment industry.
She has a biography on her life, written by Wes Gehring, who described her as a “very cheerful and free-spirited tomboy”, as she was very much invested in athletics and she was an active participant in sports like tennis, volleyball, baseball, and swimming.
Lombard has many awards in her name for sports when she was young. Carole had a very keen interest in movies too and enjoyed watching them.
The passion and interest she had for sports had actually helped her choose a major path in her life, as she was chosen for her debut at the age of 12, by a movie director named Allan Dwan, for the first movie of her life, ‘A Perfect Crime’, where she acted as the sister of Monte Blue.
She was selected for the role while she was playing baseball in her junior high school and was practically doing better than her peers there and caught the eye of the director.
As by that time both her parents were separated and her mother took her and her siblings to Los Angeles to live separately, she was well supported by her mother to accept the role offered to her. And according to the director Dwan, Lombard did a very good job with the role she was offered.
Talking about her mother and their separation from their father, her parents went their separate ways in the October of 1914 but didn’t divorce.
Her mother went to Los Angeles with her kids and settled down there.
They still lived very well in Los Angeles as they used to get their allowance from their father on a regular basis ensuring their well-to-do lifestyle.
Relationship, Husbands, & Children
In the later years of her life, Lombard got married 2 times after she entered the entertainment industry and her second marriage remained with her for her lifetime. Her first marriage was to William Powell, on 6 June 1931, at the young age of 22 years old. They got married on 6 June 1931, at her home in Beverly Hills.
Lombard was attracted to William Powell as a fan at first and later they shared the screen together for two movies, namely, ‘Man of the World’ and ‘Ladies Man’, they got well acquainted and later came into a romantic relationship.
They notably had different personalities as Lombard was 22 years old and Powell was 38 years old when they got married.
Unfortunately, Carole and William later got divorced in 1933, but he still remained a very good friend of Carole.
When asked about the reason for the split, Lombard blamed it on their careers, but later after a few years, she evidently shared that their different personalities actually played a part in their split.
Carole was later involved romantically with another of her co-star named, Russ Columbo, who got killed in an accident tragically in 1934, they were reportedly engaged during that time.
Talking about the second marriage of Lombard, it was with Clark Gable, in 1938. Both met on the set of ‘No Man Of Her Own’ in 1932 but were not involved romantically.
Later, they met again after 4 years at a party and got romantically involved, and started their relationship in 1936. This movie is known to be the only one where they shared the screen together.
Clark Gable had a marriage with Rhea Langham in name as they got separated but Rhea was not given a nod for the divorce, as time went by and the relationship between Lombard and Gable grew serious, Rhea settled the divorce for half-million dollars.
And Carole and Clark got married on the 29 of March in 1938.
By the time they got married, Carole wanted to start a family of her own but was faced with 2 miscarriages, the couple reportedly went to many fertility specialists but the results were still futile.
Carole Lombard’s Career
We can divide her career into three parts; Early Career, Later Career, and Last Works. Let’s check them in detail.
Carole Lombard started her career at an age of 12 with the movie ‘A Perfect Crime’, with a small role in 1921, later because of her passion for movies she officially joined the ‘Fox Film Corporation’ at the tender age of 16 years.
She used to play small roles. Around the age of 19, Carole met with an accident that eventually led to a scar on her face, which nearly destroyed her career.
But later between 1927 to 1929, she not only overcame her predicament but also did around 15 short movies in the comedy genre.
As we are well aware, Carole was known for her comedic roles and had a reputation as one of the greatest actresses of her time, also owning the title of being one of the highest-paid actresses during the later years of her career.
In the year 1929, Carole appeared in two movies, ‘High Voltage’ and ‘The Racketeer’ and then later in 1930, she appeared in the movie, ‘The Arizona Kid’, which actually led her in joining the family of Paramount Pictures.
In her new agency, she started in two movies back to back in 1930, namely, ‘Safety in Number’ which was a comedy movie directed by Buddy Rogers, and the second movie being ‘Fast and Loose’.
With the Buddy Rogers movie, Carole earned fame for being an excellent comedian.
By 1931, she worked in 5 movies including, ‘It Pays To Advertise’, ‘Man of the World’ and ‘Ladies Man’, ‘Up Pops the Devil’ and ‘I Take This Woman’.
By then, Carole was predicted to become a major star for sure, as with her movies and acting winning the hearts of people and experts, her marriage with, the top star of Paramount, William Powell, gave a good boost to her popularity.
In 1932, she starred in another 5 movies, from which ‘No One Man’ and ‘Sinners in the Sun’, did not prove to be that successful but her another movie for the same year called ‘Virtue’ pleased the audience.
The movie with her then next future husband, Clarke Gable, called ‘No Man Of Her Own’ was one of her finest movies till that time, and also well received and was very successful in comedy and critical, both genres.
Later, after her divorce from her then-husband, William Powell, she starred in a drama called ‘Hell to Heaven’ and later her only horror movie called ‘Supernatural’, and two melodramatic movies called ‘Brief Moment’ and ‘White Woman’.
The year 1934 was a very high and glamorous period of her career, she showed her dancing skills with a musical drama called ‘Bolero’ by Wesley Ruggles, and her next musical comedy film called ‘We’re Not Dressing’ proved to be a very well-received movie that broke records on box-office.
But the movie that actually brought her fame as a major celebrity was ‘Twentieth Century’ by Howard Hawks, which was a screwball comedy movie.
She appeared in many movies after this namely, ‘Now and Forever’, Lady by Choice’, which was again a mega-hit in the critical and commercial genre, ‘The Gay Bride’, ‘Hands Across the Table’, which eventually established her name in the comedic genre, and is remembered as one of the best movies of her entire career.
In the year 1936, she did movies called, ‘Love Before Breakfast’ ‘The Princess Comes Across’, and a movie by Universal Studios called ‘My Man Godfrey’, all the three movies in the comedic genre.
The movie ‘My Man Godfrey’ eventually earned her a major recognition as one of the nominees for Best Actress, and also raised her salary to 450,000 dollars which was reportedly 5 times the salary of that time U.S. president.
She became one of the highest-paid actresses of the time.
She made a statement saying 80 percent of what she earns goes into taxes and she feels it is good to contribute to the country, which not only earned appreciation from the people but also a letter from the President as thanks.
After her marriage with Clark Gable, and several unsuccessful and unpleasant incidents regarding conceiving children, Lombard decided to put her focus on winning an Academy Award, which led her to do movies outside of the comedic genre, which was not well received by the audience.
After she failed attempt to opt for somber roles, she returned to her comedic movies from ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith’, which was an instant hit and was very well received by the audience.
She later went on to act in a dark comedy called ‘To Be or Not To Be’, which was about the Nazi’s invasion of Poland, in the year 1942. The filming of this movie happened to be the best experience of her career in 1941.
Lombard’s death was a tragedy that happened during the war times, during the Second World War, she was traveling with her mother and the press agent of Gable to Indiana for a fundraising rally, while returning to California, they decided to travel by plane after a toss as to remove the confusion to travel via train or plane.
The group boarded the TWA Flight 3 on the 16th of January in 1942 in the early morning. The plane was refueled in Las Vegas and again took off at around 7 pm, and then crashed in Mount Potosi, Nevada.
All the passengers including, Lombard, her mother, the press agent, and 15 U.S. soldiers died in the crash. The funeral of Lombard was held on the 21st of January, and she was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California, alongside her mother.
Her husband, Gable, was heartbroken and joined the U.S. Airforce as her late wife’s wish later he died and was buried alongside her in 1960.
Wealth, Net Worth & Income
Carole Lombard was one of the highest earners of her time. Although, she didn’t work in so many movies and her career was not that big due to the sudden plane crash. Still, she had a net worth of approx. $16 million USD.
So this is a huge number at her time. She mainly earned from acting in various movies, and other platforms. In her time there were not many ways to make more money, but still, she has done a great job.
Awards & Achievements
In her time there were not many awards and honors-related things. She has won a few awards there are:
|Oscar||1937||Nominee||Best Actress in a Leading Role|
My Man Godfrey (1936)
|Walk of Fame||1960||Winner||Motion Picture|
At 6930 Hollywood Blvd.
Interesting Facts about Carole Lombard
- Allen Dwan, a silent-film director, discovered her at 12 while playing baseball with neighborhood children.
- She has a scar on her face from a car accident in 1925.
- At the age of 19, Lombard collaborated with Mack Sennett on the first of a series of slapstick comedies. But, just when she had discovered her place, her career was nearly wrecked.
- Despite their divorce, she remained close to her ex-husband William Powell, with whom she co-starred in 1936’s My Man Godfrey.
- The film didn’t get very far. She found only more disappointment and rejection when she decided to use it as a springboard to audition for other parts. For three years—quite a long time for a girl her age.
- For all of her wealth and success, there was something thing Lombard craved but never received. Lombard desperately wanted to have a child with Gable, but two devastating miscarriages and various reproductive procedures failed.
- Due to her penchant for swearing, she was called “The Profane Angel.”
- During WWII, she sold war bonds and perished (with her mother) in a plane crash on her way home from a campaign in 1942; President Roosevelt publicly eulogized her and posthumously awarded her the Medal of Freedom.
- Lombard met a singer Russ Columbo on one of those nights out at Cocoanut Grove. And fell in love at first sight with him. But he also passed away at the age of 26, due to a tragic incident.
- After her death, her last movie, To Be or Not to Be, was released.
- Lombard was out on a date with Harry Cooper one night in September 1927. A horrific disaster struck them as they drove along Santa Monica Boulevard.
- Sennett gave Lombard high-profile, well-paying jobs, plenty of exposure, and even a racy new nickname.
In Single Word
Carole Lombard was one the most successful and amazing actresses of her time, she achieved a milestone in the comedic genre and would have reached much greater heights in her career if not for the tragic plane crash happened.
As she was still signed with a movie prior to her death, eventually the role was given to another actress. She left early at a very young age of 33.