: The easiest way to crush your laurels is to lean on them.
Loretta Young was born Gretchen Young in Salt Lake City. 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.
Loretta was appearing on screen as a child extra by the time she was four. 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).
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. Throughout the '20s and '30s, she made 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.
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. On November 6, 1935, Loretta delivered a healthy baby girl whom she named Judith.
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.
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.
She retired from films in 1953 and began a second, equally successful career as hostess of The Loretta Young Show.
Loretta lived a quiet retirement in Palm Springs, California until her death on August 12, 2000 from ovarian cancer at her sisters home.