The Heartbreaking Reason Clark Gable Left Hollywood To Fight In World War II

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History Channel

Clark Gable made his name in Hollywood for portraying Rhett Butler in the iconic classic film, Gone With The Wind. At the time he was likely one of the most famous people in the world. But possibly more impressive is the legacy that he left during his service during WW2.


A confluence of events in the early 1940s took Gable from being a Hollywood superstar to true World War 2 warrior.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor bringing the U.S. into a war they had previously distanced themselves from. To say that Americans were pissed off is an understatement, the attack on Pearl Harbor galvanized the nation into action. Less than a month later, Gable's wife Carole Lombard was killed in a plane crash.

New York Post

Gable was 40-years-old at the time of his wife's death, which was a bit older than your average man enlisting into the fight, but as a man with nothing to lose he wrote to President Roosevelt asking him how he could help his country.

Roosevelt told him to stay put helping to secure war bonds, but that wasn't good enough for Gable. He defied orders and enlisted into the air force.  

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