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Loretta Young, 1947

Updated Feb 11, 2024
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Loretta Young, 1947
A photo still of Loretta Young from the 1947 movie "The Bishop's Wife". Such a great movie - Cary Grant was the angel and David Niven was her husband, the Bishop, who prayed for a new church.
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Loretta Young
Loretta Young Born January 6, 1913 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA Died August 12, 2000 in Los Angeles, California, USA (ovarian cancer) Birth Name Gretchen Michaela Young Height 5' 6" (1.68 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." In 1935, she made Call of the Wild (1935) with Clark Gable. They had an affair, and Loretta became pregnant. 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 canceled. 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. 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. Spouse (3) 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) Trade Mark (1) Husky voice Trivia (44) 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. 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. 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.
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I'm a Founder of AncientFaces and support the community answering questions & helping members make connections to the past (thus my official title of Founder & Content and Community Support ). For me, it's been a labor of love for over 20 years. I truly believe with all of my heart that everyone should be remembered for generations to come. I am 2nd generation San Jose and have seen a lot of changes in the area while growing up. We used to be known as the "Valley of Heart's Delight" (because the Valley was covered with orchards and there were many canneries to process the food grown here, which shipped all over the US) - now we have adopted the nickname "Capital of Silicon Valley" and Apple, Ebay, Adobe, Netflix, Facebook, and many more tech companies are within a few miles of my current home in San Jose (including AncientFaces). From a small town of 25,000, we have grown to 1 million plus. And when you add in all of the communities surrounding us (for instance, Saratoga, where I attended high school, living a block from our previous Mayor), we are truly one of the big cities in the US. I am so very proud of my hometown. For more information see Kathy - Founder & Content and Community Director
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