Hollywood Madonna: Loretta Young (Hollywood Legends Series)
Bernard F. Dick
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Loretta Young (1913–2000) was an Academy Award–winning actress known for devout Catholicism and her performances in The Farmer’s Daughter, The Bishop’s Wife, and Come to the Stable, and for her long-running and tremendously popular television series. But that was not the whole story.
Hollywood Madonna explores the full saga of Loretta Young’s professional and personal life. She made her film debut at age four, became a star at fifteen, and many awards and accolades later, made her final television movie at age seventy-six. This biography withholds none of the details of her affair with Clark Gable and the daughter that powerful love produced. Bernard F. Dick places Young’s affair in the proper context of the time and the choices available to women in 1935, especially a noted Catholic like Young, whose career would have been in ruins if the public knew of her tryst. With the birth of a daughter, who would have been branded a love child, Loretta Young reached the crossroads of disclosure and deception, choosing the latter path. That choice resulted in an illustrious career for her and a tortured childhood for her daughter.
story editor, Ruth Roberts, to commission teleplays embodying those themes. Roberts was invaluable to Loretta, so much so that by 1959 she had become associate producer as well as story editor. Roberts, who had been Ingrid Bergman’s dialogue coach for Arch of Triumph (1948) and Hedy Lamarr’s for The Conspirators (1944), was also “dialogue director” of one of Loretta’s last films, Because of You (1952). Loretta sensed that Roberts understood the kind of material she wanted and could provide it—and
white gloves and riding crop, tended to single out one of the featured players, generally a novice, for criticism bordering on harassment. He steered clear of the stars, either because they were seasoned performers or because he knew they would not tolerate such behavior. The Devil’s in Love (1933) is more revelatory of Dieterle’s ability as a director than Loretta’s as an actress. If the misleading title attracted moviegoers expecting a steamy love story, they saw instead an imaginatively made
Is News, one must assume that the couple will find whatever they have in common off screen; all Loretta and Power had to do was convince the audience that they would. If Loretta, then twenty-three, was having more mature crushes on her leading men, she could not have done better than Power. Zanuck had declared them a team. The press and the public concurred. And if Power was unavailable, there was Ameche. Because she wore clothes so elegantly, Loretta was cast as an heiress again in Café
into each other in Palm Beach, impeccably dressed—Loretta in chiffon that streams down her frame, and Power with glistening hair and a figure-flattering tuxedo, usurping the moonlight for no other reason than to make love to his ex-wife. In The Awful Truth, the divorced couple (Cary Grant and Irene Dunne) has not remarried, giving each partner the opportunity to undermine the other’s marital prospects. In Second Honeymoon, Power has to woo Loretta away from her stolid husband (Lyle Talbot),
But it was not the same with Loretta. Once it is time to press the love button, Loretta’s eyes turned limpid, as if they were the windows not so much of the soul as of the psyche. She began moving sinuously, provocatively with an erotic rhythm that was always genteel, but also sexy—as if she were having one of her fantasies, in which the only sighs were her own. You could not imagine Milland making any sound, except perhaps a groan because he was stuck with a script that gave him no control of