Carole Lombard was one of the most popular comedy film actresses of the 1930s and tragically died because of a decision made with the toss of a coin. How many of these facts did you know about her?
- She was the highest-paid star in Hollywood in the late 1930s, earning around US$500,000 per year which was more than five times the salary of the US President at the time (Franklin D Roosevelt)!
- Lombard was christened Jane Alice Peters in 1908
- She loved sports as a child and landed her first movie role after she was spotted playing baseball with her friends aged 12.
- After this she didn’t have a major movie role until a failed-audition for Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush brought her to the attention of The Fox Film Corporation.
She chose the name Carole as her screen name after a girl she used who play tennis with at school.
- She had plastic surgery in 1925 to improve a facial scar which she got in a car accident, as she was concerned it was preventing her from getting leading lady roles.
- In 1932 Lombard starred opposite her future husband Clark Gable in the movie No Man of Her Own and said that there was no romantic spark between them at all at the time. “[we] did all kinds of hot love scenes … and I never got any kind of tremble out of him at all.”
- She married Clark Gable in 1939 in Kingman Arizona after Gables wife Rhea Langham granted him a divorce.
- Lombard died, aged just 33, in a plane crash on the way back from a World War 2 Liberty Bond Tour on which she had raised over $2 million in just one evening.
- She took the ill-fated flight after changing her travel plans to a scheduled airline because she wanted to return home quickly. Her mother and Gable’s press agent, who she was travelling with were against the idea, but she suggested they flip a coin to decide and unfortunately she won. The plane crashed into Potosi Mountain near Las Vegas on January 16, 1942.
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Image sources 1, 2, 3, 4 and copyright: This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed and 1 and 4: This work is in the public domain in that it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 and without a copyright notice.