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Is George Clooney the new Clark Gable?

Source: The Express (UK) 9/19/01

WHEN Clark Gable cocked his cynical brow and muttered that immortal line: 'Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn, ' he became an icon for generations of women. A man whose smoldering presence, rugged charm and wicked smile not only flushed the cheeks of our grannies but also for the millions of mothers and granddaughters who have fallen in lust with Rhett Butler. But now it seems there is a pretender to Gable's crown. When George Clooney burst on to our screens as ER's Doug Ross, women swooned. Since then his smoldering presence, rugged charm and wicked smile (sound familiar? ) have made him a global sex symbol. 

Whereas Gable has long been the only man to sport a moustache and still look sexy, George, 40, is following his lead and has been pictured boasting a furry lip himself. 

And yes girls, he still looks gorgeous. 

Here, two Express writers look beyond the facial hair to determine if Clooney really is man enough to be the new Gable 

YES LIZ NICE THERE'S no doubt it's the most famous kiss in movie history - the moment when Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh embrace under a crimson sky following their escape from the burning of Atlanta. Aged 11, seeing Gone With The Wind for the first time, a fantasy was born - that one day I, too, would be kissed by a man like that. 

But there was a slight problem with my fantasy. For one thing, Clark is dead (OK, more than a slight problem). 

And for another, if you look very closely at the Rhett and Scarlett snog, you might notice that Vivien Leigh doesn't actually appear to be enjoying it that much. Call it bad acting or my imagination but the truth is that poor old Clark, who also had jug ears and false teeth, by the way, suffered from halitosis. 

Since George Clooney grew his moustache, comparisons with Clark have been inevitable. But for me George trounces his Bryl-Creemed rival every time because he is the fantasy who never fails to disappoint. 

He does not have jug ears. His teeth are all his own - and, while even Gable's adored third wife Carole Lombard described him as a lousy lay, just one look at Jennifer Lopez positively bristling with genuine passion in Out Of Sight suggests that George has never had that problem. I can only assume his breath is OK too but let's face it, even if it wasn't, who would care? 

George, however, has the advantage on Clark - clever marketing. Jokes about Dr Doug Ross's bedside manner aside, but did the producers of ER know what they were doing or what? 

To take an impossibly gorgeous man with that come-to-bed grin and then to give him babies to look after? Well, it was a pretty clever ruse to pull on the world's women, don't you think? 

Since then George has continued to play every lust object known to womankind. A rugged soldier in Three Kings. A rugged sea captain in Perfect Storm. A rugged Lt Colonel in The Peacemaker. Clark may have been pretty rugged too but I'd have liked to see him do what George did in Oh Brother Where Art Thou? - and make even a hairnet look sexy. 

Meanwhile, in real life, tales of George's off-screen decency abound. 

On a recent trip to Italy, he could be found sharing a chat and a meal with a farmer and delighting in the fact that the old bloke didn't recognize him (funny though, the farmer's daughter did. ) Unlike a lot of Hollywood stars, Clark fought in the war and was a pretty decent bloke in the real world, too. But he had five wives and so was pretty much unavailable to the likes of us. 

And perhaps that's the best thing of all about George - that he remains resolutely single. Of course, I know I've got no chance. Didn't I discover at the age of 11 that fantasies about Hollywood stars can only lead to disappointment? Yet the proof of George's superiority over Clark lies surely in this. Clark, being dead, was always unobtainable. But whenever I read that George's only love is Max, his pot-bellied pig, I believe with the utmost conviction that that's just because he hasn't met me yet! 

NO SHARON WRIGHT IF A moustache was enough to make you the Number One sex god, life would have been a lot kinder to men who look like Alan Whicker. We'd all have been pinning up posters of Bobby Ball to ogle and dull PE teachers across the land might fare better in the schoolgirl crush stakes. 

In truth, a moustache is usually one of the single worst moves a man can make if he wants to up his standing with the ladies. Yes, even a man like George Clooney (who, admittedly, wouldn't be getting a kick out of the double divan from any of the women I know) cannot hope to become the new Clark Gable by simply letting his lip sprout a few feathers. 

Because George and Clark. . . it's just not a contest. 

Granted, George looks quite nice and twinkly in the right light. But Clark was - and is - the epitome of suave sophistication for all time. No, don't bother arguing. His moustache wasn't just an embarrassing experiment in facial fluff, it was the crowning glory on a face so downright sexy that grown women lost the power of speech and grown men spat at their fate. 

It sat below smoldering eyes and above a magnificently square jaw. It twitched tantalizingly when he gave one of his slow, melting smiles and just bellowed testosterone from the silver screen. Women across the world wondered what it would feel like to kiss those fabulous lips and feel the brush of his tremendous 'tache. It kept people going through wars, rationing and the humdrum reality of daily life, that kind of thing. 

It's hardly surprising that he was married five times and said he'd quite like to have been a big-game hunter - he practically had to have flunkies carry his manly charisma round in buckets. He was proclaimed King of Hollywood before he keeled over from a heart attack in 1960 and more than four decades later there's still no one to beat him. 

And just to make George and his ilk doubly sick, it's not as if Clark was a particularly brilliant actor. He was one of those rare and therefore immortal screen gods who didn't have to be. His looks and the force of his personality shone through such irrelevancies as scripts - and that was plenty fine for the audience, thank you very much. 

Let the geeks and ugly boys concentrate on their techniques. All Clark had to do was raise a wolfish eyebrow or throw back a macho gin martini and the audience was eating out of his handsome hand. 

Think of that supreme movie moment at the end of Gone With The Wind when Clarke turns the full force of that gorgeous face on Vivien Leigh and says scornfully: Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. Now imagine George Clooney in his green pinny in ER barking: Nurse! Bladder drain in cubicle five! I rest my case. 



LOOKS: Brylcreemed star of the silver screen with a pencil thin moustache that made upper-lip hair the ultimate male accessory. Fortunately, this made up for his jug ears, false teeth and questionable oral hygiene. 

STYLE: Quintessential movie smoothie. This was a man who lived in pinstripes. 

HOLLYWOOD STATUS: The only heart-throb to be crowned King of Hollywood. He once made 11 of his 64 films in a single year. 

USUAL ROLES: Ladies' man and all-round cad. His roles simply demanded a cock of his head and come-to-bed grin. Most memorable performance has to be as arrogant Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind but he also starred in the 1934 classic, It Happened One Night, for which he won an Oscar. 

LEADING LADIES: Despite five marriages and a libido as high as his film fees, Gable's heart belonged to one woman, actress Carole Lombard next to whom he is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California. 

FAMOUS FRIENDS: Movie legends Spencer Tracy and Marilyn Monroe to name drop but a few.


LOOKS: Rough and ready hunk with endless luscious lashes and chocolate brown eyes that twinkle and a lopsided, loveable rogue grin. 

STYLE: Cowboy chic with jeans and well worn shirt. This is a man who doesn't mind getting his hands dirty. 

HOLLYWOOD STATUS: Voted Hollywood's Most Eligible Bachelor by People magazine last year. 

USUAL ROLES: Found recognition in 1994 as Dr Doug Ross in ER. He then played Batman and later a Gulf War hunk in Three Kings (which proved that no man can wear desert dust and sweaty khakis better than Clooney) and a rugged sea captain in The Perfect Storm. Get the picture? Despite more than his fair share of, as Clooney himself calls clunkers, he did gain acclaim for Out Of Sight with Jennifer Lopez and O Brother Where Art Thou? which won him a Golden Globe award. 

LEADING LADIES: He's just finished with model Lisa Snowdon and, after a brief marriage to model Talia Balsam, has said he is unlikely to wed again. 

FAMOUS FRIENDS: Platonic friends with Michelle Pfeiffer and Nicole Kidman. Mark Wahlberg and Brad Pitt are mates. But George's favorite pal is Max, a 150lb pot-bellied pig.

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