Like James Dean, Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe, actress Carole Lombard is forever frozen in time because of her tragic death at a young age — like them, she never grew old in front of the camera.
Lombard, one of the Hollywood's best-loved stars of the 1930s and early '40s, died in 1942 at age 33 in a plane crash near Las Vegas.
She seemed to have everything. The lithe blond was glamorous, beautiful, smart as a whip and moved with ease from comedies to dramas on the silver screen. She had just finished one of her best films, Ernst Lubitsch's antiwar comedy, "To Be or Not to Be." She was married to the reigning king of Hollywood, Clark Gable, and the two fondly referred to each other as Ma and Pa.
Thankfully, Lombard left behind a body of work that spanned two decades and spawned more than 70 shorts and feature films. Some of her best are 1937's screwball classic "Nothing Sacred," directed by William Wellman, and 1934's "Twentieth Century," directed with breakneck breeziness by Howard Hawks.
Her career got started when she was spotted by a director playing baseball in a neighborhood street and was signed to do one picture, "A Perfect Crime," in 1921 at age 12.
At 15, Lombard quit school and joined a theater group; in 1925, she signed a contract with Fox, where she appeared in a few forgotten films. The following year, her career almost came to a halt when she was in a car accident, which scarred the left side of her face. Plastic surgery and makeup helped conceal the scar.
Fox canceled her contract after she recovered, so she moved into shorts in 1928. She soon found herself back at Fox for "Me, Gangster" and with the introduction of sound made a smooth transition into talkies. Paramount signed her to a contract, and she never stopped working.
Though Gable married two more times, he supposedly never got over Lombard's death. When he died 18 years later, he was buried next to her.
|1936||Best Actress||My Man Godfrey||Nomination|