Is your surname Young?

Research the Young family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Gretchen Loretta Young

Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States
Death: August 12, 2000 (87)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of John Earle Young and Gladys Belzer
Wife of Jean Louis Berthault
Ex-wife of Grant Withers and Thomas Howard Lewis
Ex-partner of Clark Gable
Mother of Judith A. Lewis; Private and Private
Sister of Polly Ann Young; Elizabeth Jane Young and John Royal Young
Half sister of Georgiana Montalban

Occupation: Actress
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
view all 15

Immediate Family

About Loretta Young

An ingenue in the silent era, Loretta Young made the transition to 'talkies' and more mature roles in the 1930s and 40s. She won a Best Actress Oscar for The Farmer's Daughter (1947); her other films include The Bishop's Wife (1947, with Cary Grant and Three Blind Mice (1938, with David Niven). In the 1950s Young hosted her own popular TV series, The Loretta Young Show, winning three Emmy Awards for her performances. In later years Young was especially known for her firm religious convictions and her work with Catholic charities.

She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah as Gretchen Young. At confirmation, she took the name Michaela. She and her family moved to Hollywood when she was three years old. Loretta and her sisters Polly Ann Young and Elizabeth Jane Young (screen name Sally Blane) worked as child actresses, of whom Loretta was the most successful. Young's first role was at age 3 in the silent film The Primrose Ring. The movie's star Mae Murray so fell in love with little Gretchen that she wanted to adopt her. Although her mother declined, Gretchen was allowed to live with Murray for two years. Her half-sister Georgiana (daughter of her mother and stepfather George Belzer) eventually married actor Ricardo Montalban. During her high school years, she was educated at Ramona Convent Secondary School.

She was billed as "Gretchen Young" in the 1917 film, Sirens of the Sea. It wasn't until 1928 that she was first billed as "Loretta Young", in The Whip Woman. That same year she co-starred with Lon Chaney in the MGM film Laugh, Clown, Laugh. The next year, she was anointed one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars.

In 1930, Young, then 17, eloped with 26-year-old actor Grant Withers and married him in Yuma, Arizona. The marriage was annulled the next year, just as their second movie together (appropriately titled Too Young to Marry) was released.

from the trailer for Cause for Alarm! (1951)During the Second World War, Young made Ladies Courageous (1944; reissued as Fury in the Sky), the fictionalized story of the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. It depicted a unit of female pilots during WW2 who primarily flew bombers from the factories to their final destinations.

Young made as many as seven or eight movies a year and won an Oscar in 1947 for her performance in The Farmer's Daughter. The same year she co-starred with Cary Grant and David Niven in The Bishop's Wife, a perennial favorite that still airs on television during the Christmas season and was later remade as The Preacher's Wife with Whitney Houston. In 1949, Young received another Academy Award nomination (for Come to the Stable) and in 1953 appeared in her last film, It Happens Every Thursday.

Moving to television, she hosted and starred in the well-received half hour anthology series The Loretta Young Show. It ran from 1953–1961. Her "sweeping" trademark appearance at the beginning of each show was to appear dramatically in various high fashion evening gowns. She returned at the program's conclusion to restate to the viewer the moral of the story just seen. (Young's introductions and conclusions to her television shows, which were widely satirized at the time, are not rerun on television because she had it legally stipulated that they not be; the ever image-conscious Young didn't want to be seen in "outdated" wardrobe and hairstyles.) Her program ran in prime time on NBC for eight years, the longest-running prime time network program ever hosted by a woman up to that time.

The program, which earned her three Emmys, began with the premise that each drama was an answer to a question asked in her fan mail; the program's original title was Letter to Loretta. The title was changed to The Loretta Young Show during the first season, and the "letter" concept was dropped altogether at the end of the second season. At this time, Young's health required that there be a number of guest hosts and guest stars; her first appearance in the 1955–56 season was for the Christmas show. From this point on, Young appeared in only about half of each season's shows as an actress and merely functioned as the program host for the remainder. This program, minus Young's introductions and summarized conclusions, was rerun in daytime by NBC from 1960 to 1964 and also appeared, again without the introductions and conclusions, in syndication.

In the 1962–1963 television season, Young appeared as Christine Massey, a free-lance magazine writer and the widowed mother of seven children in CBS's The New Loretta Young Show. It fared poorly in the ratings on Monday evenings against ABC's Ben Casey and was dropped after twenty-six weeks. Dack Rambo, later a co-star of CBS's Dallas, appeared as one of her twin sons in the series.

[edit] Affair with Clark Gable In 1935, Young had an affair with Clark Gable, who was married at the time, while on location for The Call of the Wild. During their relationship, Young became pregnant. Due to the moral codes placed on the film industry Young covered up her pregnancy in order to avoid damaging her career (as well as Gable's). Returning from a long "vacation" (during which she secretly gave birth to her daughter), Young announced that she had adopted the infant girl. The child was raised as "Judy Lewis"[1] after taking the name of Young's second husband, producer Tom Lewis. Judy had a governess named Eunice Berger who helped raise her.

According to Lewis's autobiography Uncommon Knowledge, Lewis was made fun of because of the ears that she received from her father, Clark Gable. She states that, at 7, she had an operation to "pin back" her large ears and that her mother always had her wearing bonnets as a child. Over the years she had heard rumors that Clark Gable was her biological father. It was not until 1958 though, when Judy's future husband Joseph Tinney, told her that "everybody" knew that he was her father. Gable only came to visit Judy once at her home when she was a teenager; she had no idea he was her biological father.

Several years later, after becoming a mother herself, she finally confronted her mother, who, after promptly vomiting, admitted to her true parentage, stating that she (Judy) was "just a walking mortal sin."[2]

[edit] Marriages and relationships Married to actor Grant Withers from 1930 to 1931. Married producer Tom Lewis in 1940 and they divorced very bitterly in the mid 1960s. Lewis died in 1988. They had two sons, Peter Lewis (of the legendary San Francisco rock band Moby Grape), and Christopher, a film director. Married fashion designer Jean Louis in 1993. Louis died in 1997. Involved in affairs with Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable; in 1935, she gave birth to Gable's daughter, who was known as Judy Lewis.

Gretchen Young was born on January 6, 1913 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was the daughter of Gladys Royal Young and John Earl Young. When she was three, her parents separated and her mother moved Gretchen and her two sisters to California and into the home of Gladys' sister. Loretta's father later moved to join them. Gladys later found him with the maid and told him to get out. His children never saw him again. The family moved to a boarding house that Gladys ran. Around that time Loretta and her cousin went to live with actress Mae Murray, whom they called "Aunt Mazi". After a year, they both returned to their mothers. When Loretta was 10, her mother married one of her boarders, George Belzer. They had daughter Georgianna two years later.

Involved in affairs with Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable; in 1935, she gave birth to Gable's daughter, who was known as Judy Lewis.

Clark Gable’s Secret Daughter Dies

view all

Loretta Young's Timeline

January 6, 1913
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States
November 6, 1935
Venice, Los Angeles County, California, United States
August 12, 2000
Age 87
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States