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Clark Gable’s Former House

Mar 7th, 2013 | By | Category: Celebrity Homes

Clark Gable's House (2 of 6)

Speaking of Clark Gable . . . another location that I stalked recently was the Encino-area ranch where the “King of Hollywood” lived for over two decades.  I first read about this locale, as I did yesterday’s (the Playa del Rey house where Judy Lewis, Gable and Loretta Young’s secret love child, was born), in fellow stalker E.J.’s book Hollywood Death and Scandal Sites.  So, while doing some solo San Fernando Valley stalking a few days before my and the Grim Cheaper’s big move to the desert, I figured I might as well stop by the residence to check it out.

Clark Gable’s ranch was originally built in 1933 for director and founding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Raoul Walsh.  Gable and his then girlfriend, soon-to-be wife, Carole Lombard visited Walsh at his 20-acre property, which featured a nine-bedroom main house, a detached garage, citrus groves, alfalfa fields, a barn, a pigsty, a henhouse, and horse stables, and absolutely fell in love with it.  When they heard that he was planning on selling the site, they jumped at the chance to purchase it, which they did in 1939, shortly after their nuptials, for a cool $50,000.  According to E.J., at the time, the home’s entrance was located on Petit Drive (as you can see in this 1940 census, the original address was 4525 Petit Drive; it is now 4543 Tara Drive) and the property was surrounded by acres upon acres of orchards and fields.  Tabloids quickly labeled the two-story clapboard residence “The House of Two Gables”.

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Lombard tragically passed away in a plane crash just two years later, on January 16th, 1942, and it is said that Gable never recovered from his grief.  Shortly after her death, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was sent to Europe to fight in World War II.  Upon his return to America in 1944, he thought about selling the ranch, but ultimately decided to keep it and wound up living there with his fourth and fifth wives, Lady Sylvia Ashley and Kay Williams Spreckles, respectively.

Clark Gable's House (5 of 6)

Sadly, on November 5th, 1960, while changing a tractor tire in the ranch’s driveway, Gable suffered a heart attack.  The following morning, he was taken to Hollywood Presbyterian hospital, where he passed away ten days later, on November 16th, 1960.  Despite being married to Kay at the time, the actor was interred next to Carole Lombard at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.  Spreckles and John Clark Gable (Kay and Clark’s son and Clark’s only legitimate child, who was born four months after the actor’s death) continued to live at the ranch until 1973, at which point it was sold to developers.  Financier Michael Milken later bought the place in October 1977 for $587,500 and it appears that he still owns it to this day.  According to Zillow, the dwelling currently boasts seven bedrooms, nine baths, 7,093 square feet of living space, and a 1.17-acre lot.

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As you can see below, the home’s wooden exterior archway . . .

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Clark Gable's House (6 of 6)

. . . and crookedly-placed white picket fence still look exactly the same today as they did when Gable lived there.  Sadly though, little else of the place is visible from the street.  And while the house still stands in much the same form as it did during Gable’s time, the twenty acres that once surrounded it were subdivided during the 1980s and transformed into a housing tract named the Clark Gable Estates.  The streets in the neighborhood, Tara Drive and Ashley Oaks, were named in honor of Gable’s most famous movie, Gone with the Wind, which I think is so incredibly cool. I wonder if someday a community will be named after my man Matt Lanter.  One of the streets could even be dubbed “Liam Court”!  Winking smile

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Clark Gable's House (3 of 6)

You can find me on Facebook here and on Twitter at @IAMNOTASTALKER.  And be sure to check out my other blog, The Well-Heeled Diabetic.

Big THANK YOU to E.J., from The Movieland Directory website, for finding this location!  Smile

Clark Gable's House (4 of 6)

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: Clark Gable’s former house is located at 4543 Tara Drive in Encino.

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26 comments

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  1. Mark Sandorf says:

    I grew up in the home right next door to the Gable property (4559 Petit Ave). From 1963 until they sold the property when I was in 6th grade (1973). John and I were only 6 months apart in age, and we loved that ranch ! Kay was like a second mom to me, and I could still to this day draw you the floor plan of the house and the entire ranch layout. We knew every sqaure inch of that property. The walk-in referigerator and freezers, the trophy’s all over the house, care takers house, the barns, the pool house, the garage that housed Clark’s Bentley, his Indian Motorcycles. Those were the days and that property was the ultimate place for boys to grow up !

  2. Donna says:

    I grew up in Arleta. On Bracken Street. I grew up hearing that Clark Gable had built a home at 13255 at the end of our street. I was told that it would have been ‘hidden’ and set back in amoungst a farmers then existing orange groves. One would have had to drive down a ‘secret’ dirt path betwen the trees within that grove. It would have been a very private setting. Later totally enclosed by tract homes. I was in the home as a kid and it was unlike any of the surrounding homes. I was told a large pool ended up being in another property when it had been later divided up.
    I just googled the Arleta property and curiously found that the home had been built in 1938. Just prior to their purchase of this Encino estate. So now I’m wondering if there’s any truth to this story. Very curious.
    Anyone ever hear anything about this particular possibility?
    I’d love to learn more about it, if possible…

  3. George Watters II says:

    I went to school with Bunker in the late 50’s and went to the Gable house and property many times and have many great memories Met Kay and Clark were always very nice and he was always very nice. George

  4. lomonosow says:

    I got on the in the 1970s it was a happy day ,saw the home toured it all to myself they said there was a dog here no dog now if they catch u even taking pictures they chase u off like they own the street thats how they act I live in the home of the maid who was with Hearst and Davies this lady worked for them way back when the parties were happening at the castle and in Santa Monica her sister and husband were all with R>Hearst. I got left with the things they were given from the castle .

  5. I grew up on the property next door, just above the ranch. Mr. Gable was no longer alive when I was born, but my brother was best friends with his son, and I spent many afternoons on that property, in the barn, etc. It was like I’m happy to answer any questions I can. The main acres were developed in the 70’s by Barry Eglet, and they left the original house only. Only memories remain.

    • la says:

      I remember when they were building new houses on that property. I walked through a few of them when they were starting to build. Why was Gables address changed to 4543 Tara Drive? I use to live in Studio City at the time. I always wanted to take a tour of the house. Thank you for any info on the home. I always liked Mr. Gable and Carole. My sister was named after her. You said you grew up on the property next door. Is your house still there?

      • The house I grew up in is no longer there. I inherited it, and was forced to sell in 2007. Nice people bought it, but of course demolished it to build something more “current.” The entire property was so magical. Now, it’s just big sterile houses that all look alike. When they built the Gable Estates, they created a whole new system of street names that related to Gone With the Wind- hence, Tara Drive. My most find memory was the abandoned barn. I am doing a project in Hollywood this month that pays tribute to gable and the ranch property: Wattles Mansion Showcase House. Gable’s original house is still there, though it’s also been updated. You can still enter from Petit Avenue.

        • Steve Weiser says:

          Wow I hadn’t read this reply yet when I wrote mine….but is there any way we could see you project on you-tube or other media? Thanks

          • So sorry for the very late reply. The wattles mansion showcase house 2016 paid tribute to legendary hollywood actors and since I had a history with the gable property in encino, I chose clark table. I paid homage to the ranches of the San Fernando valley during the early part of the century. If you Google “wattles mansion leslie shapiro joyal” some photos and info should come up. I also did a small segment on “out and about with roger martin” which had some shots.

    • Russell Curl says:

      Wow. I am such a huge fan of anything “old Hollywood” that I’m seriously beginning to believe I lived back then. Just have no idea who the hell I was! But could you elaborate more on your wonderful barn memories?

    • Steve Weiser says:

      Hi Leslie, I was wondering which son you were talking about ,John Clark Gable, or his step son Bunkers Sprekels? I am a huge fan of Clark Gable and of that hollywood era, to me it seemed like such a magical time. I also think that is so awesome that you lived next door and was wondering if you could elaborate a little about what you remember of that barn, I imagine it may have still had some of the King’s tools or movie related items …the kind of stuff we would keep in our garages with the exception that we are not famous Hollywood actors of the 30’s and 40’s…also thank you for sharing with us your memories!

      • It was John that I grew up with. He and my older brother were best friends. John was very nice…quiet. The barn was always open and had tons of haystacks. I don’t remember tools One of my earliest memories, which I’m certain inspired my love of architecture, was the abandoned chicken coops. To me, they were like mini houses because they Had two levels and you could go up and down the between rhem. For a kid with an imagination, it was heaven.

      • Mark Sandorf says:

        The main barn was above and set away from the house. It was a winding little dirt road that went up to the barn with a circular drive out front. There were two buildings that formed an “L” shape The main building was rectangular with an entrance from one end. If you entered from that end there was a tack room to the right with a hay loft above it. The horse stalls were along the left side. Even though there were never any horses while I was a kid there, there was always hay to play in. As to what was stored in the tack room and stalls ? That changed over the years or course. Some tack and saddles. Farm equipment. Furniture. Clark’s tractors and motorcycles were in a different storage shed, and his Bentley was in the main house’s garage. When we were little we used to play in that car, and I am sure we damaged it, but we didn’t really know any better. We were largely unsupervised most of the time ! As for John being “Quiet” !?!? He was a wild child and we got into trouble on a daily basis. He went through a sucession of nannys who could not control him. I think Kays terms for them were Governess. Lastly someone asked about the address change ? The original address was on Petit Ave. My address was 4559 and his was the next drieway up. THey had a electric gate and Kay was always concerned about security because of the possibility of kidnapping John. That enrance was the only one and there was a very long driveway up to the house. When they destroyed all of the eucalyptus, orange, oleander, and rose gardens they added the streets that are there now, so Tara Drive wasn’t built until 1974? Maybe 1975.

        • Wendy Bishop says:

          Mark – Thank you so much for your memories. It’s special for those of us who loved Gable. How amazing – sounds like it was so fun to grow up there. When I first went there in 1976 it had already been changed, sort of broke my heart. Please post again! Much gratitude – Wendy

    • Mark Sandorf says:

      What was your brother’s name ? I grew up on that ranch with John. Moved there in 1963 and sold the house on Petit in 1987, but I don’t remember you brother ?

      • My brother was paul shapiro. He and john used to ride dirt bikes all over the property.

      • You must have known the Conrad’s, and john Mac miller, who were also on petit.

        • Mark Sandorf says:

          I did know Christian and his dad, but not MacMiller. I just don’t remember your brother. Brett, Ian and Morgan Daniels. Pierpont brothers. Steven Snail. John’s first bike was a Honda 50 one Christmas, then a 125 and eventually an Elsinore 250. I got in a lot of trouble with those bikes because I wasn’t supposed to be riding them, but just could not resist. I still ride to this day. I take it you guys lived on Oak View or Chaplin ?

  6. MM says:

    Good post. Thanks! But…what kind of stalker are you? The gate was open…just walk right on in & snap some pics. Hell, a cute blonde girl Michael Milkin might spot you & invite you in for some interior shots.

    But, as always Love your posts 😉

  7. teal says:

    Thank you so much for your research. Big Gable fan. I’m going there someday!!

  8. Berta. says:

    Gracias por estas hermosas fotos. ¿No se puede entrar más allá de la verja blanca? Soy una gran admiradora de Gable. ¡Viva el rey de Hollywood!

  9. Lavonna says:

    I’d really like to do a Lucille Ball stalk or James Dean. I have photos of his burial site and where he grew up in Indiana. We went to the James Dean fest years ago…LOVE that stuff! We met a few of his Giant co-stars…Earl Holliman and Jane Withers. Also got signed poster (by photographer) from James Dean “torn sweater” photos.

    • barney says:

      A new book just came out about Carrol Lombard called Fireball. Great read, sad story. Clark was never the same after she was killed.

  10. Lavonna says:

    LOVE IT!! You know Mr. Gable was born in Ohio….:) Old Hollywood is the BEST!! Keep’em coming! I just ordered E.J’s book..can’t wait to read it! Find some OLD HOLLYWOOD sites for us to stalk on my next visit.

    • Michael Palazzolo says:

      Clark Gable lived n Studio City before moving to Encino. Does anyone know what Studio City address it was, or does anyone know where I can locate photos of the house?

      Thank you.
      Michael


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