The Weird Obsession You Never Knew Clark Gable Had

Clark Gable was the epitome of masculinity on the silver screen in the Golden Age of Hollywood. With his dashing good looks and great acting, he was known as the "King of Hollywood" and appeared in movies such as "It Happened One Night," "Mutiny on the Bounty," and the classic "Gone with the Wind." Gable started his career as an extra in movies and was even rejected by casting agents because of the size of his ears, but he eventually landed his first speaking role in 1931 (via Biography). From there, Gable's career skyrocketed, and he got film roles left and right.

Not many know that Clark Gable had a weird obsession with cleanliness. For someone who had a reputation of having halitosis, this may be a surprising fact. The bad breath, however, was not out of negligence in hygiene. According to Mental Floss, Gable suffered from a gum infection in 1933, which resulted in having almost all of his teeth removed. Thanks to dentures, the actor was able to keep his dashing smile, but with it came halitosis. In fact, his co-actor in "Gone with the Wind," Vivien Leigh, complained about the smell. Perhaps, it was because of his halitosis that Gable felt the need to be obsessively clean.

Clark Gable and his cleanliness

According to reports, Clark Gable was so obsessed with being clean that he felt the need to take showers several times in one day, per Classic Hollywood Central. However, he absolutely detested taking baths, which is a bit unusual for someone who wants to be clean all the time. He has a valid reason, though. Gable never took baths, as he didn't like the fact that he had to sit in bath water filled with filth from his own body.

Gable's cleanliness was also observed by those around him, one of them being John Mahin, who the actor shared a room with during his time in the Army before he was an actor. According to Mahin, Gable had what he described as a "cleanliness fetish" (via Clark Gable: A Biography). Mahin said that Gable always shaved his armpit and chest hair, explaining to him that he can't stand the excess hair. "You smell with it. It makes you sweat more," Gable said. Mahin also recalled the time when Gable asked him how he can tolerate taking baths: "How can you sit in that tub with all that dirty coming off of you?" 

Gable's obsession with keeping clean was so extreme that he even bought parts and hardware in order to build a portable shower that he can use. Per History Daily, Gable also changed his clothes frequently throughout the day and changed his sheets daily.