To Come

Carole Lombard was born Jane Alice Peters on October 6, 1908, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the daughter of Elizabeth Knight and Frederick C. Peters. She had two older brothers, Frederick and Stuart, and enjoyed playing with them more than making paper Jane Alice Peters - Age 5cutouts or valentines. A childhood friend remembered that "every other afternoon this 5 year old blonde would come screeching across the street, demanding a chance to play one of the ends [in football]. She was always sent home again."

After her parent's separation in 1914, her mother took the children to live in California. All of Lombard's life, her mother, "Bessie," remained her closest confidant. They died together on the airplane in 1942.

She left school after Junior High, and often participated in exhibition ballroom dancing at the Coconut Grove in Hollywood. It was here, in 1925, that a Fox Studio executive spotted her and gave her a screen test. Her career had begun.

Two years later, she began to work for Mack Sennett, the "King of Comedy." She made several two reel comedies with him, and told interviewers that she enjoyed working with him. He remembered her as a "scamp and a madcap."

The young starletAfter leaving Sennett she appeared in various films for Pathe and Paramount. One of them was Man of the World, with William Powell. They married in 1931 and were divorced 28 months later. Carole said later that "career had little to do with the divorce. We were just two completely incompatible people." They remained friends, starring together in 1936 in the classic comedy My Man Godfrey.

Lombard had known Clark Gable since 1932, but their romantic attachment began in 1936, when John Hay Whitney gave an elaborate costume party in Hollywood. The invitations requested the guests appear in something white. With her unfailing sense of humor, Carole arrived at the party in a white ambulance and was carried into the Whitney mansion on a stretcher. She and Gable renewed their friendship at "The White Ball," becoming constant companions until their marriage in 1939.

In the summer of 1939, they settled on a 20 acre estate in the Encino section of the San Fernando Valley. They loved the outdoor life and shared times hunting and riding together. Lombard was the ideal mate for Gable, a woman who could be glamorous and lovely, but who also could be as companionable as a pal.

Following the entrance of the United States into World War II inJust before marriage 1941, Gable was made chairman of the Hollywood Victory Committee. In January 1942, he arranged for Lombard to embark on a bond selling tour that would climax in Indianapolis on January 15. At that rally, she spoke publicly for the last time. "Before I say good-bye to you all -- come on -- join me in a big cheer -- V for Victory!"

At four AM, Friday, January 16, 1942, Lombard and her mother boarded the plane home to California. After refueling in Las Vegas, the plane took off on a clear night, and twenty three minutes later crashed into a mountain side thirty miles southwest of Las Vegas. All of the 23 passengers aboard were killed.

Her husband joined in the search for her body, and on January 18, brought her and her mother home for burial in Forest Lawn Cemetary, Glendale, California.