Gable and Dillon went to Hollywood in 1924. Dillon became his manager and also his wife, even though she was 17 years his senior. He changed his stage name from W. C. Gable to Clark Gable and found work in silent films as an "extra" in Erich von Stroheim's The Merry Widow (1925), The Plastic Age (1925) starring Clara Bow, and Forbidden Paradise (1924) starring Pola Negri. He appeared in a series of two-reel comedies called The Pacemakers and in Fox's The Johnstown Flood (1926). He also appeared as a bit player in a series of shorts. However, he was not offered any major film roles, so he returned to the stage in What Price Glory? (1925). He became lifelong friends with Lionel Barrymore, who initially scolded Gable for what he deemed amateurish acting but nevertheless urged him to pursue a stage career. During the 1927–28 theater season, he acted with the Laskin Brothers Stock Company in Houston, Texas; while there, he played many roles, gained considerable experience, and became a local matinee idol. He then moved to New York City, where Dillon sought work for him on Broadway. He received good reviews in Machinal (1928), with one critic describing him as "young, vigorous, and brutally masculine".
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