Excerpt from Actor’s Devo Nov 16th

Posted: November 16, 2011 in Devotionals


Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success. ~ Dale Carnegie

Billy did not want to be an oil well driller…that’s what his family did. They were oil people. He probably could have counted on his mom to back him, but she had died when Billy was just 10 months old. So, Billy would have been an oilman too if not for one thing…his dad had financial difficulties and decided to try his hand at farming. It was a fortunate misfortune for the acting world.

Billy had recently seen the play The Birds of Paradise. E was instantly sold, but he was also just 17 years of age. He knew if he could make it for the next four years, he would inherit money from his mom’s estate and he could really give acting a try. Billy began shedding his chops, acting in small second hand acting companies while at the same time working in the oil fields. Just four years he kept telling himself as he worked with horses, sold neckties, whatever it took…and all the while, of course, as he kept perfecting his craft in small theater troupes. Another thing he did was to work his way continually westward. He may not have known it at the time but he was heading to Hollywood…and he finally got there around 1930. He did not do well. Most people thought his ears were too big and others that he acted a bit woodenly. Lionel Barrymore was one of the latter, thought they remained close friends for their whole lives. But the proof is in the pudding as they say, and once Billy stepped on the silver screen, he was almost an instant matinee idol. Warner Brothers signed him. They were so disappointed in his long term up-side that they loaned him out to MGM, which was looking to add male actors to his stable. They were very glad they did. As I said, he almost immediately became an American icon.

Billy went on to make almost 100 motion pictures, and was the star in most of those. And he became a good actor. In fact, so good that in 1935 he won the Academy Award for Best Actor! Oh, and he changed his name…Billy Gable became Clark Gable. It was on this day in 1960 just weeks after wrapping his last film The Misfits, that Clarke Gable died from a massive heart attack probably brought on by his 3 pack-a-day habit of smoking cigarettes. He had at least two illegitimate children who remained unacknowledged, and he never saw the face of his son who was born to his…fifth…wife Kay, four months after his death.

So what is this then? Is it a cautionary tale or an encouragement to pluck up courage under fire and press through to victory? I think it is both. For Gable is just like us, we get what we strive after and struggle for…and then it’s not what we want. We all want someone to love us. We look and we look, and if one of our lovers disappoints us, we trade them in for a “better” model. That leaves kids…kids who are expendable, collateral damage. That pretty much ensures the young people coming behind them, are going to be even more socially pathological than the ones who made them into themselves. By the way, Clark’s son John, attempted suicide twice. http://pics.livejournal.com/cinemafan2/pic/000s3hqp/

He hasn’t succeeded…yet.


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