Following in the footsteps of his famous grandfather as an actor, Clark Gable III takes what he can get
By Melonie Magruder
While Los Angeles might have enough Hollywood royalty to keep the gossip magazines busy for years to come, now the grandson of arguably Hollywood’s most meta of movie stars is ready to embrace the tabloid.
Clark James Gable, namesake for, yes, that Clark Gable, is tall, dark and handsome like his progenitor. And if his new stint as host on the reality television series Cheaters might have raised his grandfather’s famous eyebrows, Gable is fine with that.
“Yeah, the cheaters are the lowest of the low,” Gable said in the Texas studio where the program is filmed. “But that’s what makes the show so riveting. I’m getting a lot of exposure while retaining reality TV experience.”
Cheaters is a show that investigates and confronts people in suspicion of cheating on their partners. The show has been described as “trash television at its trashiest” and deplored by culture mavens as a celebration of human nature at its worst. It stands to reason the show is popular, continually topping the late-night broadcast ratings and syndicated in more than 100 countries.
Its premise begins when a man or woman contacts the production company with the suspicion that a spouse or partner is cheating. The crew gets plenty of teary-eyed interview footage of the wronged party then sets up surveillance, recording grainy images outside suspected love nests until enough incriminating evidence accumulates. Gable then accompanies the sorrowful victim to confront the cheater, usually in a public place and usually with the cheater’s illicit paramour onsite. It does not go well.
“It’s like jumping on a wild horse with no reins,” Gable said. “One time, we confronted the cheaters in a hot tub full of ramen noodles. People throw punches… it’s wild. And it’s real. We don’t know what will be there. And that’s what makes the show challenging.”
Full disclosure: my father, Robert Magruder, has been the off-camera narrator on Cheaters for all 14 seasons. Bobby Goldstein, the show’s producer, remembers early on telling my father why the show would be successful. “Because adults have a lot more fun in adultery than children have fun in childhood,” he had said.
Turns out Goldstein was right. When asked what Gable brings to the show, his reply was quick. “Clark Gable brings Clark Gable to the show,” he said. “He’s the spitting image of his grandfather and he’s just the cat’s meow.”
Clark Gable III
Gable is in his third season of Cheaters, commuting to Dallas from his home in Malibu, where he grew up, to film a full season (Cheaters is in its 15th season). A few years ago, he and Goldstein were in discussion for a collaboration with the Kardashian clan to produce a reality show called Gone With the Gables, to include Gable’s sister, actress Kayley Gable. Instead, Goldstein asked him to read for the role of the Cheaters host, replacing longtime presenter Joey Greco.
Gable, now 26 years-old, attended the New York Film Academy, has modeled since the age of 3, and acting soon followed. But he liked the idea of trying something new and slightly subversive – hence accepting a role of hosting reality TV.
Gable was on a mini motorcycle by the time he was 2-years-old and racing by age six. His father, John Clark Gable, was also a speed-meister and introduced his son to surfing, skiing and horseback riding at a young age.
Taking the on-camera leadership position intrigued him. He plunged into a role that might give other men pause. Former host Greco was actually stabbed by an irate cheater during one filmed “bust” a few years ago.
“My very first bust was at this roof top pool at a very swanky hotel,” Gable said. “We walked with our client right up to her boyfriend, who was in the pool with his mistress. The girls fought. People were thrown into the pool, and eventually security removed the cheater from the premises.
“But when we were finished, it felt good,” Gable concluded. “In the end, we make people accountable for their actions. I’ve seen and learned more about human relationships in the past three years than in my entire life. There is a predictability to the human condition that is, well, surprising.”
Gable’s parents raised him in the small-town zeitgeist of Malibu, where he attended Webster Elementary, surfed off of Point Dume, worked at “Clout” ride shop and Paradise Cove Café and was taking apart motorcycles when he was 12-years-old. His friends were reserved, old school Malibu families. His parents sought a fairly normal life for him.
But there are expectations with a name like Gable. People would stand up for a gander when his name was announced at school functions. He quickly learned the weight of his family identity. But along with that came a profound respect for his heritage.
“My favorite film of my grandfather’s is The Misfits,” Gable said. “When you can bring a character to life, that’s one thing, but when you become that person, like my grandfather did in Misfits, that’s the real thing. I think it was his best work and he is my hero.”
Gable doesn’t like to use his name for “any gain,” he said. In fact, he sometimes goes by the name James Kent (a mashup of his middle name and another famous cartoon Clark), just to avoid hullaballoo. He’s close to both his parents (they separated when Gable was young) and it seems to have given him a moral grounding that is slimly evident in many celebrity offspring.
“My dad was the best dad you could ever ask for,” Gable said. “He is full of adrenaline, and during the week I would stay with my mom and go to school. But on the weekends, dad and I would be racing somewhere.”
Hosting the 300th episode of Cheaters gave him a modest rush, but also a sense of responsibility in what he presents to viewers.
“Look, I see the show as a big stepping stone to further my acting career, and I am grateful for the opportunity. At the end of the day, what we have to tell our clients is heartbreaking, but they get the truth in their relationships. And that’s what’s important.”