Loretta Young Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (48)  | Personal Quotes (16)  | Salary (6)

Overview (5)

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (ovarian cancer)
Birth NameGretchen Michaela Young
Nicknames Attila the Nun
Saint Loretta
The Steel Butterfly
Height 5' 5¾" (1.67 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Sweet, sweeter, sweetest. No combination of terms better describes the screen persona of lovely Loretta Young. A&E's Biography (1987) has stated that Young "remains a symbol of beauty, serenity, and grace. But behind the glamour and stardom is a woman of substance whose true beauty lies in her dedication to her family, her faith, and her quest to live life with a purpose."

Loretta Young was born Gretchen Young in Salt Lake City, Utah on January 6, 1913, to Gladys (Royal) and John Earle Young. Her parents separated when Loretta was three years old. Her mother moved Loretta and her two older sisters to Southern California, where Mrs. Young ran a boarding house. When Loretta was 10, her mother married one of her boarders, George Belzer. They had a daughter, Georgianna, two years later.

Loretta was appearing on screen as a child extra by the time she was four, joining her elder sisters, Polly Ann Young and Elizabeth Jane Young (later better known as Sally Blane), as child players. Mrs. Young's brother-in-law was an assistant director and got young Loretta a small role in the film The Only Way (1914). The role consisted of nothing more than a small, weeping child lying on an operating table. Later that year, she appeared in another small role, in The Primrose Ring (1917). The film starred Mae Murray, who was so taken with little Loretta that she offered to adopt her. Loretta lived with the Murrays for about a year and a half. In 1921, she had a brief scene in The Sheik (1921).

Loretta and her sisters attended parochial schools, after which they helped their mother run the boarding house. In 1927, Loretta returned to films in a small part in Naughty But Nice (1927). Even at the age of fourteen, she was an ambitious actress. Changing her name to Loretta Young, letting her blond hair revert to its natural brown and with her green eyes, satin complexion and exquisite face, she quickly graduated from ingenue to leading lady. Beginning with her role as Denise Laverne in The Magnificent Flirt (1928), she shaped any character she took on with total dedication. In 1928, she received second billing in The Head Man (1928) and continued to toil in many roles throughout the '20s and '30s, making anywhere from six to nine films a year. Her two sisters were also actresses but were not as successful as Loretta, whose natural beauty was her distinct advantage.

The 17-year-old Young made headlines in 1930 when she and Grant Withers, who was previously married and nine years her senior, eloped to Yuma, Arizona. They had both appeared in Warner Bros.' The Second Floor Mystery (1930). The marriage was annulled in 1931, the same year in which the pair would again co-star on screen in a film ironically titled Too Young to Marry (1931). By the mid-'30s, Loretta left First National Studios for rival Fox, where she had previously worked on a loan-out basis, and became one of the premier leading ladies of Hollywood.

In 1935, she made Call of the Wild (1935) with Clark Gable and it was thought they had an affair where Loretta got pregnant thereafter. Because of the strict morality clauses in their contracts - and the fact that Clark Gable was married - they could not tell anybody except Loretta's mother. Loretta and her mother left for Europe after filming on The Crusades finished. They returned in August 1935 to the United States, at which time Gladys Belzer announced Loretta's 'illness' to the press. Filming on Loretta's next film, Ramona, was also cancelled. During this time, Loretta was living in a small house in Venice, California, her mother rented. On November 6, 1935, Loretta delivered a healthy baby girl whom she named Judith. It wasn't until the 1990's when she was watching Larry King Live where she first heard the word 'date rape' and upon finding out exactly what it was, professed to her friend and biographer Edward Funk and her daughter in law Linda Lewis, that she had gone through the same with Clark Gable. "That's what happened between me and Clark."

In 1938, Loretta starred as Sally Goodwin in Kentucky (1938), an outstanding success. Her co-star Walter Brennan won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Peter Goodwin.

In 1940, Loretta married businessman Tom Lewis, and from then on her child was called Judy Lewis, although Tom Lewis never adopted her. Judy was brought up thinking that both parents had adopted her and did not know, until years later, that she was actually the biological daughter of Loretta and Clark Gable. Four years after her marriage to Tom Lewis, Loretta had a son, Christopher Lewis, and later another son, Peter Charles.

In the 1940s, Loretta was still one of the most beautiful ladies in Hollywood. She reached the pinnacle of her career when she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in The Farmer's Daughter (1947), the tale of a farm girl who rises through the ranks and becomes a congresswoman. It was a smash and today is her best remembered film. The same year, she starred in the delightful fantasy The Bishop's Wife (1947) with David Niven and Cary Grant. It was another box office success and continues to be a TV staple during the holiday season. In 1949, Loretta starred in the well-received film, Mother Is a Freshman (1949) with Van Johnson and Rudy Vallee and Come to the Stable (1949). The latter garnered Loretta her second Oscar nomination, but she lost to Olivia de Havilland in The Heiress (1949). In 1953, Loretta made It Happens Every Thursday (1953), which was to be her final big screen role.

She retired from films in 1953 and began a second, equally successful career as hostess of The Loretta Young Show (1953), a half-hour television drama anthology series which ran on NBC from September 1953 to September 1961. In addition to hosting the series, she frequently starred in episodes. Although she is most remembered for her stunning gowns and swirling entrances, over the broadcast's eight-year run she also showed again that she could act. She won Emmy awards for best actress in a dramatic series in 1954, 1956 and 1958.

After the show ended, she took some time off before returning in 1962 with The New Loretta Young Show (1962), which was not so successful, lasting only one season. For the next 24 years, Loretta did not appear in any entertainment medium. Her final performance was in a made for TV film Lady in the Corner (1989).

By 1960, Loretta was a grandmother. Her daughter Judy Lewis had married about three years before and had a daughter in 1959, whom they named Maria. Loretta and Tom Lewis divorced in the early 1960's. Loretta enjoyed retirement, sleeping late, visiting her son Chris and daughter-in-law Linda, and traveling. She and her friend Josephine Alicia Saenz, ex-wife of John Wayne, traveled to India and saw the Taj Mahal. In 1990, she became a great-grandmother when granddaughter Maria, daughter of Judy Lewis, gave birth to a boy.

Loretta lived a quiet retirement in Palm Springs, California until her death on August 12, 2000 from ovarian cancer at the home of her sister Georgiana and Georgiana's husband, Ricardo Montalban.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson and Bill Takacs <kinephile@aol.com> and cdonorab

Family (2)

Spouse Jean Louis (10 August 1993 - 20 April 1997)  (his death)
Tom Lewis (31 July 1940 - 20 August 1969)  (divorced)  (2 children)
Grant Withers (26 January 1930 - 13 September 1931)  (annulled)
Parents John Earl Young
Young, Gladys Royal

Trade Mark (1)

Husky voice

Trivia (48)

Miss Young's return to the screen following convent school came about rather fortuitously. A casting call was sent out by the producers of Naughty But Nice (1927) for her sister Polly Ann Young. Answering the telephone, the young Gretchen replied that her sister was unavailable and wondered if she herself might substitute. And so she did. It was merely a bit part, but it led to a movie contract and eventual stardom for Loretta Young.
Cast members in the film The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939) included not only Loretta Young but, portraying her character's sisters, her real-life, actress sisters as well: Polly Ann Young and Sally Blane. Further, portraying the fourth on-screen sister was a fourth real-life half-sister, Georgiana Young, although the latter was not a professional actress. (Years later, Georgiana, whom Loretta dubbed "Georgie", would appear occasionally on Loretta's television show The Loretta Young Show (1953).
In 1972, Miss Young sued NBC for violating her contract in allowing reruns of The Loretta Young Show (1953) to be shown, wherein audiences might have ridiculed her gowns and hairstyles, which were by then 10 or even 20 years out of date. The court awarded her more than a half-million dollars.
Had an illegitimate daughter by Clark Gable. For years, this was covered up in Hollywood, and was presented as an adoption. The daughter's resemblance to both parents is uncanny. The daughter Judy Lewis later dabbled in acting before becoming a psychologist. Judy Lewis wrote a book "Uncommon Knowledge" with the truth of her parentage.
Loretta Young's third husband was Academy Award winning clothing and costume designer, Jean Louis. He was well known for designing for the stars at Columbia Studios, Universal and in his own salon in Beverly Hills. His most famous creations included the strapless gown for Rita Hayworth in the film Gilda (1946) as well as Marilyn Monroe's white sequined gown she wore to sing "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" to John F. Kennedy. Jean Louis married Loretta after the death of his first wife, Maggy, who was a personal friend of Loretta for over 50 years.
She died at the home of her sister Georgiana Montalban and Georgiana's husband, actor Ricardo Montalban, in the early morning of August 12, 2000.
In her posthumously published autobiography, she admitted that her "adopted" daughter, Judy Lewis, was her biological daughter by Clark Gable.
Sister of Polly Ann Young and Sally Blane, half-sister of Georgiana Young, sister-in-law of Norman Foster, half-sister-in-law of Ricardo Montalban, mother of Judy Lewis.
Country singer Loretta Lynn was named after her.
In 1976, there was talk of a comeback role for Loretta, as Mother Cabrini in a biography of the first American to attain sainthood to be directed by Martin Scorsese. The project unfortunately never materialized.
Caused a buzz in 1999 when she appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine looking a lot younger than her 86 years, "today's air brushing techniques can do wonders" was her explanation.
She was the mother of singer/songwriter Peter Lewis (Peter Charles Lewis) (B. July 15, 1945), a former member of the infamous 1960s San Francisco rock band Moby Grape, and Christopher Lewis, a film director.
She chose her own middle name, "Michaela" at the time of her confirmation as a teen. She was raised as a Catholic, and Catholics are able to choose the name or names of a saint or saints whom they most admired and add it onto their own. She simply liked the name Michaela. Apparently, her mother never actually gave her one at birth.
Loretta's family moved to Los Angeles, California in 1915. Shortly after, her father abandoned the large family. John R. Young ("Jack"), was adopted by two sisters who changed his surname to Lindley. He later became an attorney and the father of five. He had little contact over the years with his blood family.
Loretta and older sisters Sally Blane and Polly Ann Young worked as extras during school vacations while young. Their mother ran a boarding house to support the family.
In Italy, unlike other major Hollywood actresses, she didn't have an official dubbing voice. She was in turn dubbed by Lydia Simoneschi, Rina Morelli, Renata Marini (in her Oscar-winning performance in The Farmer's Daughter (1947)) and Giovanna Scotto most notably in the much-loved The Bishop's Wife (1947). Dhia Cristiani, Lia Orlandini and Andreina Pagnani also lent their voice to Young at some point.
Sister of John R. Young. All the Young children were child extras in silent films.
Marlene Dietrich said of her: "Every time she 'sins,' she builds a church. That's why there are so many Catholic churches in Hollywood.".
Aunt of Robert Foster who, from 1975 to 1978, played the role of Grimsley, the vampire-mortician horror host of Fright Night (1970) on Channels 9 (then KHJ-TV) and 5 (KTLA) in Southern California.
Owned a successful cosmetics company in the 1960s that was headquartered in New York.
Godmother of Marlo Thomas.
Turned down the part of Ellie Andrews in It Happened One Night (1934). Claudette Colbert was then given the role and won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance.
Miss Young was a pro-business Republican. She appeared in print and radio ads in support for such presidents as Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. She even donated money to the Republican National Committee, and like close friend Irene Dunne, she was active in an array of conservative Republican causes.
Was voted America's Sweetheart of the 1930s.
Young had a low tolerance for foul language, so much in fact that whenever she went to set she brought with her a "swear box". Her swear box was used to hold money from cast and crew members who swore within her presence who in return would put money in the box. Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Mitchum put large sums of money in the swear box on a regular basis, telling Young: "This should just about cover what I'm about to say to you!".
She was honored as Turner Classic Movies Star of the Month for January 2013.
Despite her death in August 2000, she was still able to endorse George W. Bush for president in that year's November election by means of absentee ballot.
She was the first actress to ever model makeup products for Max Factor.
Was considered for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939), which went to Vivien Leigh.
She was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6100 Hollywood Boulevard; and for Television at 6135 Hollywood Boulevard.
She was posthumously awarded a Golden Palm Star at the Palm Springs Walk of Stars on May 19, 2011.
Was the 30th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Actress Oscar for The Farmer's Daughter (1947) at the 20th Academy Awards on March 20, 1948.
She turned down roles in The Innocents (1961) and Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964).
She and her second husband, Tom Lewis, were married on July 31, 1940 and honeymooned in Hawaii. During their last weekend there, they were the honored guests of Admiral Isaac Kidd aboard the battleship U.S.S. Arizona in Pearl Harbor. On December 7, 1941, the Arizona was sunk during the Japanese attack and Admiral Kidd was killed.
Is one of 3 actresses to have won the Best Actress Oscar (hers being for The Farmer's Daughter (1947)) and the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Emmy (hers being for The Loretta Young Show (1953)). The other actresses are Shirley Booth and Helen Hunt.
Starred in three Oscar Best Picture nominees: The House of Rothschild (1934), The White Parade (1934) and The Bishop's Wife (1947).
Had turned down 3 roles which eventually went to French actress Claudette Colbert, they are It Happened One Night (1934), Under Two Flags (1936) and The Two Mrs. Grenvilles (1987).
Returned to work three months after giving birth to her daughter Judy Lewis to begin filming on The Unguarded Hour (1936).
Was four months pregnant with her daughter Judy Lewis when she completed filming on Shanghai (1935).
Returned to work three months after giving birth to her son Christopher Lewis to begin filming Along Came Jones (1945).
Was three months pregnant with her son Christopher Lewis when she completed filming on And Now Tomorrow (1944).
Was three months pregnant with her son Peter Lewis when she completed filming on Along Came Jones (1945).
Returned to work two months after giving birth to her son Peter Lewis to begin filming The Stranger (1946).
Wampas Baby Star of 1929.
Her image appears on the cover of the 2012 music CD Electro Swing V.
The daughter she had with Clark Gable was put in an orphanage then Loretta went back and adopted her. She was named Judy Lewis.
Judy Lewis discovered the truth about herself but Loretta Young remained steadfast in her refusal to acknowledge that Judy is indeed her biological daughter and not an adopted one as she had proclaimed. Because of this, Judy became estranged from her mother for many years and only reconciled a few years before Loretta died. After Judy wrote her autobiography detailing her parentage, Loretta remained ashamed and embarrassed of what happened to her, even 50 years later.

Personal Quotes (16)

Wearing the correct dress for any occasion is a matter of good manners.
I believe that if we have lived our lives fully and well, and have accomplished, at least in part, the things we were put here to do, we will be prepared - mentally, physically and spiritually - for our separation from this world.
Our human connections are guided by God, and ultimately all of us are linked through His love. Thus, we have all already met, not as actress and fan but as His children, and we can never be lost to each other.
What you don't know intrigues you more than what you do know. I believed all those love stories - the hero was the hero - because that's what I grew up with. I loved the romance and the roses, but when it came to a more realistic life, I would back away.
If you want a place in the sun, you have to expect a few blisters.
The easiest way to crush your laurels is to lean on them.
A charming woman is a busy woman
A charming woman... doesn't follow the crowd. She is herself.
A face is like the outside of a house, and most faces, like most houses, give us an idea of what we can expect to find inside.
A face that is really lovely in repose can fall apart if, when its owner stars to talk, she distorts every feature.
A pleasant voice, which has to include clear enunciation, is not only attractive to those who hear it... its appeal is permanent.
On strategy: The trick to life, I can say now in my advanced age, is to stop trying to make it so important.
[when offered the role of Miriam in Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) after Joan Crawford became ill] I don't believe in horror stories for women and I wouldn't play a part like that if I were starving.
[presenting Best Picture at the 1982 Academy Awards] Reality is the main quality that most creative filmmakers seek to achieve in their work. They believe its a vital ingredient to a success of a motion picture. Fortunately, reality - contrary to some beliefs - is not restricted to sordid or shocking themes, nor gritty gutter language, nor gratuitous violence, et cetera. Reality is also healthy, wholesome, love and romance. It's courage, adventure, inspiration and heroism.This year some tasteful film makers have rediscovered that fact and I am delighted for one. And we are all of us enriched because of it.
My favorite actresses now are Meryl Streep and Barbra Streisand. I think Barbra is the biggest all-around talent because her voice, her attitude, her acting and she's been tested. A lot of the other young ones I can't tell apart. All the blondes I can't tell apart.
No. They're all better than I was. We had our favorites in our period, too. Bette Davis and Ingrid Bergman were the two best actresses. They were both so honest, full of integrity, both of them. Both of them so vulnerable. I don't I think you'll ever see a better performance on film than Bette Davis in The Little Foxes (1941) or Now, Voyager (1942). Bette really really really was talented. Had the energy of a bull. And there wasn't a mean bone in her body.

Salary (6)

Naughty But Nice (1927) $50 /week
The House of Rothschild (1934) $1,700 /week
Clive of India (1935) $2,000 /week
Clive of India (1935) $1,700 /week
The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939) $150,000
Letter to Loretta (1953) $5,000 /week

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