Everlasting Footprint wants everyone to celebrate life. Inspirational celebrities act as role models, helping us become who we aspire to be. They entertain us, educate us, instruct us, and enrich our lives.
Each week, we celebrate the lives of inspirational celebrities who are celebrating a birth or death anniversary.
Inspirational Celebrity #1: Clark Gable (born Feb 1, 1901)
Clark Gable US Army Air Force movie poster
In 1939, a young Clark Gable stood at the height of Hollywood in its Golden Age. He was known around the world as Rhett Butler, the dashing southern gentleman in the MGM smash production Gone With The Wind. He was enjoying numerous Hollywood successes, and had married his second wife, Hollywood sweetheart Carole Lombard. Whispers circulated Hollywood for years about Gable’s womanizing ways and his affairs with numerous co-stars, but his public image remained clean. Painted as an adoring husband to his fans, Gable gave off the impression of being devoted and sincere in his marriage. For three years, Gable and Lombard remained the talk of Tinseltown – the “Brangelina” of the early 1940s.
In 1942, the plane carrying Carole Lombard crashed while on a War Bonds promotional tour, and Clark Gable became a widower. In his grief, he turned toward negative behaviors for solace and became a heavy drinker. But on August 12, 1942, Gable decided to give new meaning to his life, and enlisted in the US Air Force. The day he was sworn into service he showed up wearing the same suit he had worn to his wife’s funeral, wearing a golden locket that contained a small piece of one of the last presents he had given to Carole.
A complicated man whose love stories were legendary in Hollywood, Clark Gable became an inspiration to men serving their country in World War II. He flew as a combat cameraman in multiple missions, produced and directed films for the Air Force, and trained as an aerial gunner. Leading and assisting not only the men he worked with, Gable took his grief and used it for something that could help many men and women he would never meet. Rising to the rank of Major, he worked to help pilots become better skilled to deal with combat situations; he worked to prevent more plane crashes that would create more grief after the war.
Major Clark Gable was discharged from the US Army Air Forces on June 2, 1944. His discharge papers were signed by Captain Ronald Reagan.
Happy birthday, Mr. Gable. You remain a true 20th century image of masculinity and an inspiration.
Inspirational Celebrity #2: Bob Marley (born Feb 6, 1945)
Young Bob Marley, practicing Rastafarianism
Bob Marley was a man who stuck to his ideals and principles; a man who did not waiver in his steadfast beliefs about himself and the world. With his beliefs and lifestyle, his transcendent music also causes him to be remembered as a spiritual man who made a difference.
Central to his life, Marley’s spirituality was based on the Jamaican religion of Rastafarianism. He believed that people should not participate in an “oppressive” system nor engage in anything “unnatural.” His Ital diet– which is similar to veganism and refrains from processed foods – is one way he demonstrated his religious beliefs on a daily basis. As Rastafarianism believes that using a razor or scissors to cut hair is engaging in something unnatural, Marley grew his hair out in dreadlocks. His hair was as big a part of his image as his broad smile. People who saw him couldn’t help but notice both.
Marley’s lyrics focused on love, God, peace, and brotherhood, but also made statements about wealth inequality, the fight for freedom, and the struggles of the poor. Marley spoke against materialism, yet drove a BMW, joking that the acronym stood for “Bob Marley and the Wailers.” He was married for life, and promoted individuals seeking their own happiness and a closer relationship to God.
When doctors diagnosed cancer under his toenail in 1977, they recommended amputation to prevent the cancer from spreading. Because Bob Marley believed in practicing his strong beliefs, he refused, and the cancer eventually caused his death at age 36, in 1981.
Bob Marley’s music and messages of love, warm acceptance, and a rich spiritual life continue to inspire and lead us today. Happy birthday, Mr. Marley.
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With contributions from Cindy Readnower, Staff Writer