Actress Carole Lombard, whose storybook marriage to actor Clark Gable is legendary, died in a plane crash on January 16, 1942. She was 33.
Lombard was born October 6, 1908, as Jane Alice Peters in Fort Wayne, Indiana. After her parents divorce in 1914, her mother moved the family to Los Angeles.
Lombard became a ballroom dancer at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles. A 20th Century Fox executive noticed her and signed her to a contract. She changed her name to Carole Lombard.
After appearing with William Powell in two 1931 movies, Man of the World and Ladies Man, she and Powell became romantically involved. They were married later that year, but divorced 28 months later.
Her second marriage to Clark Gable brought a lot of attention. Lombard, who had starred with Gable in 1932ís No Man of Her Own, had considered Gable a ladies man, and wasnít interested at first (she was still married to Powell). But after her divorce, she began seeing Gable. The two were married in 1939.
Reportedly, the two were considered soul mates. They appeared devoted to each other. She and Gable shunned the limelight and seemed content to spend a quiet life together.
Lombard continued to make movies, making what many consider her best film, To Be or Not To Be in 1941. Its release in February was mixed with tragedy. Lombard, on a plane tour to sell war bonds, was killed when she, her mother, and fifteen Army officers went down in a fiery crash in Nevada on January 16, 1942.
Gable never recovered from his wifeís death. He enlisted into the Army, seeming not to care whether he lived or died. He flew combat missions until his discharge.
Lombard was buried January 20, 1942 in Glendale, California.