“Nation Mourns Lombard Death” (The Exhibitor, January 1942)

Star was beloved by all

The trade and nation this week mourned the untimely death of Carole Lombard, one of the industry’s great stars, in an air crash in Nevada on Jan 16.

Also killed, in addition to army men and civilians, were her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Peters, and Otto Winkler, Metro publicist.

Miss Lombard was returning from an appearance in Indianapolis, where she had sold $2,017,513 worth of defense bonds at a gigantic rally. When the plane was reported overdue, it was learned that a fire had been seen on a rugged mountain side, and it was not until hours later that the wreckage and bodies, burned and charred, were found.

Clark Gable, the star’s husband, hurried to the scene, where he remained until the body was brought down the mountainside.

The film capital, shocked and saddened by the plane crash death of Carole Lombard, was quick to pay tribute to the actress it counted as one of its favorite daughters. Elsewhere, too, were heard expressions of sorrow and esteem.

From Secretary Morgenthau came the simple eulogy that she died in service to her country.

Her latest picture, To Be or Not to Be, with Jack Benny, had been scheduled for a preview but it was cancelled.

Will H. Hays, president, Motion Picture Producer and Distributors of America, last week made the following statement on the death of Miss Lombard: “Carole Lombard has given her life in the service of America. As a native Hoosier she returned home to Indiana Thursday to participate in a state-wide war rally in Indianapolis to launch the Indiana campaign for the sale of defense bonds and other war efforts, which was sponsored by the Governor and the State Defense Bonds Committee, and by the U.S. Treasury Department and the State Defense Council. Largely through her splendid help this opening of the campaign was a phenomenal success. In that one day alone more than $2,000,000 in defense bonds were sold.”

“Carole Lombard was magnificent. She completely won the hearts and affection of the thousands who attended the rallies and bought bonds. Then on the way back to Hollywood with her mother, Mrs. Peters and with Otto Winkler, of the Metro studios, this tragedy occurred. I learned the news only when I returned today from Indianapolis. I am shocked and grieved and saddened.”

“Miss Lombard wanted to serve and help her nation in this hour of its greatest crisis. In that service she gave her life for the cause — a first line casualty of the war. We will always honor her memory.”