The day after filming had ended on "The Misfits" (1961), Clark Gable suffered a massive heart attack. He died ten days later on 16 November 1960, 59 years old. It was speculated that his psychically demanding role in the excruciating Nevada heat had caused the heart attack, but Gable's then pregnant widow Kay said in an interview with gossip columnist Louella Parsons: "It wasn't the physical exertion that killed him. It was the horrible tension, the eternal waiting, waiting, waiting. He waited around forever, for everybody. He'd get so angry that he'd just go ahead and do anything to keep occupied" [via].
Although no names were mentioned, the interview implied that Kay Gable blamed Marilyn Monroe for her husband's death. Marilyn, who was one of Clark Gable's co-stars on "The Misfits", was always late on the set, sometimes not appearing until three or four in the afternoon and sometimes not showing up at all. Naturally, Marilyn was terribly upset when she read the article. She had idolised Clark Gable since childhood, was devastated by his death and now it seemed as if Kay, whom she had befriended during production, held her in some way responsible for Gable's death. In ill health due to her drug and alcohol addiction and having just separated from husband Arthur Miller, Marilyn soon spiralled into a deep depression and was hospitalised in February 1961.
On 20 March 1961, Kay Gable gave birth to a son, John Clark. Several weeks later, on 11 April, Kay wrote to Marilyn inviting her (and Joe Di Maggio who had just re-entered Marilyn's life) to spend time with John Clark and her at the ranch. Another month later, Kay invited Marilyn to attend John Clark's christening, an invitation Marilyn gladly accepted. It clearly showed that Kay didn't harbour any hard feelings towards Marilyn, and rumours that she blamed Marilyn for her husband's death were finally put to rest.
Via: live auctioneers
April 11, 1961
How about our little 'carbon copy lover boy' - I am certain you have seen his press pictures. Just exactly like Clark. The ears are too close to his dear little head- I'll fix that dept. later.
Do let me know when you plan to return to California- I'll let you be second nanny in charge- later you may take him fishing. Guess I will be the one to teach him to shoot ducks. My work is really cut out for me. I feel certain his dearest father is watching his every move from heaven.
I miss Clark each day, I'll never ever get over this great loss, but God has blessed me with my three dear children and precious memories Clark and I shared together.
Went to confession after 24 years - (nope the priest did not call the cops) seriously you can't imagine how much this has helped me. Prayer helps, when I start to fly apart.
I plan to spend the summer at our ranch with John Clark. Joan and Bunker will be off to summer camp.
It would be so pleasant if you could spend some time with us, bring Joe too if you wish. Very private at our happy home.
I loved the beautiful plant you sent to the hospital.
Have seen pictures of you in the paper, was pleased to see you looking very well. Do take care of yourself.
I should talk. I broke three stitches, lost my voice. My Dr gave me hell for overdoing. Then to top it all, he keeps reminding of my age- John Clark doesn't seem to mind my age.
Give my best to Mae.
I hope this letter finds your heart full of happiness.