During his nearly 40-year career in Hollywood, Clark Gable was one of the industry’s most popular leading men. He appeared in movies including It Happened One Night, Mutiny on the Bounty, and Gone with the Wind—all three of which landed him Academy Award nominations for Best Actor. (He won the award for It Happened One Night.) But, while the dashing star drew in fans and pleased critics, one fellow actor wasn’t on board. A famous star who never actually worked with Gable called him “handsome, but dumb,” according to the actor’s daughter. Read on to find out who had a bone to pick with Gable and why.
As reported by Express, the actor who had an issue with Gable was none other than John Wayne. Wayne’s daughter, Aissa Wayne, wrote the book John Wayne: My Father in 1991, and in it, she recalled what he used to say about Gable.
“My dad called Gable handsome but dumb at least four or five times, and now I wonder if it had something to do with my father’s friend, John Ford,” Aissa wrote.
She also wrote that Wayne called Gable “extremely handsome in person,” but an “idiot.”
As Aissa noted, it seems that the reason Wayne didn’t like Gable was because of his friendship with Ford, who didn’t get along with the Gone With the Wind star. The director worked with Wayne on over 20 films during his career, including Stagecoach, rio Grande, and The Searchers. Gable and Ford worked together only once, on 1953’s Mogambo, which co-starred Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly.
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While speaking about Mogambo on Turner Classic Movies, host Ben Mankiewicz explained, “Ford lost patience with what he thought were Gable’s needless requests for retakes and by the end of the shooting Ford and Gable were not even speaking to each other. And they never worked together again.”
Mankiewicz explained in another clip from the network, “Gable and Ford had known each other for years, but their personalities clashed when working together.”
In John Wayne: My Father, Aissa explained that Wayne was loyal to Ford to the point that the director’s enemies became his own enemies.
“During the filming of Mogambo, Ford and Gable had clashed again and again and the subsequent feud had simmered for years,” Aissa wrote. “In my father’s way of thinking, disloyalty to allies, support in any fashion for their enemies, was expressly forbidden. If Clark Gable took on John Ford, my father’s code demanded that John Wayne stand by his old pal.”