Clark Gable’s Former HouseMar 7th, 2013 | By Lindsay | Category: Celebrity Homes
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”.
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.
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.
As you can see below, the home’s wooden exterior archway . . .
. . . 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”!
Big THANK YOU to E.J., from The Movieland Directory website, for finding this location!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Clark Gable’s former house is located at 4543 Tara Drive in Encino.