Loretta Young was a lovely actress with big doe eyes. She could be tough, demure and headstrong all at the same time. Her roles would include housewives, femme fatales and even female pilots. Loretta’s films were indeed varied and generally of a very high calibre. A devoted Catholic all her life Loretta chose to play characters who portrayed moral virtues. Films such as ‘The bishop’s wife where she is the faithful yet neglected wife of a clergyman befriended by an angel ( cary Grant ) and ‘The Farmers Daughter’ in which she plays a maid to an extremely wealthy family revered for her honesty and integrity who becomes involved in politics ( Hmmm interesting. ) For this role she won an oscar. ( Even more interesting. ) The year was 1948. Her life was often reflected in the films she made and her moral virtue was not always true to the values of The Catholic church. In 1930 at the age of 17 she found herself pregnant and eloped with the father. An actor named Grant Withers. He was 26 and should have been arrested. They married in Yuma and although the marriage was annulled a year later they made a film together. Ironically the film was titled ‘ Too Young To Marry’.
Young made ‘Call Of The Wild’ with Clark Gable in 1935 and the two had an affair. She again fell pregnant and fearing the damage it would do to her career ran away to England to have the baby which she had adopted out. A year later she adopted the child as her own and the child’s real father remained a secret. Prior to this affair with Gable she had made a film called ‘Born To Be Bad’ about an unwed mother who “entertains” wholesale buyers to gain contracts for the mob. In the film her son is run down by a company president who she then sues for damages. The film again co stars Cary Grant. This character is against type and lacks moral scruples, making her son tell lies in court and seducing the company president, in an attempt to break up his marriage and discredit him.
Loretta’s colourful life seemed to be on the straight and narrow when she married producer ‘ Tom Lewis’ in 1940 but the marriage ended in a very bitter divorce in the sixties. They had embarked on a joint production, ‘The Loretta Young Show’, which had become a power struggle. For years they battled in court over the money made from the show and Loretta also sued the producers for not updating the gowns she wore in the opening credits. Loretta won. She certainly had courage. Just like the character she played in the 1944 film ‘Ladies Courageous’. A female pilot who joins the WAFS during WW11 and ferries aircraft parts across the Pacific by plane. Not courageous enough , however, to acknowledge her biological daughter as her own. Then again she saved not only her own career but also that of Gable and where would we be without him. I wonder?
Wanda Wey Awf
Hybiscus Bloom ( 31/1/2015 )