Loretta Young Overview:

Legendary actress, Loretta Young, was born Gretchen Michaela Young on Jan 6, 1913 in Salt Lake City, UT. Young died at the age of 87 on Aug 12, 2000 in Los Angeles, CA and was laid to rest in Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, CA.

Early Life and Career

Loretta Young was born Gretchen Young in Salt Lake City, Utah on January 16th 1913. She was the daughter of Gladys and John Earle Young, who would separate when little Loretta was only three years old. Her mother took custody of Loretta and her two sisters and soon the three moved to southern California where Gladys opened a boarding house. The Young sisters quickly entered the world of on-screen acting, making her screen debut at four with an uncredited role in The Primrose Ring along side her sisters, Polly Ann and Elizabeth Jane. The film's star, Mae Murray, was so infatuated with the young Loretta that she offered to adopt the small child. Although adoption was out of the question, Gladys did allow Murray to take care of Loretta for a year in order to lift some of the financial burden of being a single mother.

Young continued to act for the next couple years, with bit parts in films like Sirens of the Sea, The Only Way and White and Unmarried. After her 1921 appearance in The Sheik, she took a hiatus from the big screen to attend Ramona Convent Secondary School. She eventually returned to the screen in 1927 as an extra in Naught but Nice, where she was noticed by the film's star Colleen Moore. Moore than pointed the young actress in the direction of her husband First National production manager John McCormick, who then signed the 14 year old actress to a long term contract with First National Pictures.

Hollywood Player

After singing with First National, Gretchen Young's stage name was officially changed to the now more familiar Loretta. Her first role under the new moniker of 'Loretta Young' was the 1928 Joseph C. Boyle drama The Whip Women. That same year she co-starred opposite Lon Chaney in the Herbert Brenon drama Laugh, Clown, Laugh. In the film Young played Simonetta, a young circus performer who becomes the object of affection from both a charming count and her adopted father. That same year she also appeared in the films The Magnificent Flirt, The Head Man, and Scarlet Sea. The next year she was named a WAMPAS Baby star of 1929 along with Jean Arthur, Anita Page and her sister, Elizabeth Jane, now called Sally Bane.

Through the late 1920s and into the 1930s Young displayed her unbreakable ambition, working on several films a year.  In 1929 she worked on seven films, including The Squall, The Careless Age and The Forward Pass. The next year she worked on nine films including Lose Ankles and The Devil to Pay!.  In 1930 the 17-year-old actress made national headlines when she married Grant Withers, a divorced actor nine years Young's senior. The newly weds then appeared in The Second Floor Mystery. The marriage was annulled just one year later. Young remained at First National for the next few years, building her reputation as an actress. She began maturing her screen image, growing from the naive, young ingenue  to one of Hollywood's most prominent leading ladies with films such as Play-Girl, The Call It Sin, Zoo in Budapest and Midnight Mary.

 Move to Fox and Private Scandal

By the mid-1930s Young left First National and signed a contract with Twentieth Century Fox. Her first film for the new studio was the forgettable musical Caravan. The next year she starred opposite Clark Gable in the big screen adaption of the Jack Thornton novel Call of the Wild. During the film's production, she and Gable began an affair that would eventually lead to her becoming pregnant. Due to the morality clauses in their contract, along with the fact that Gable was married at the time, they told no one but Loretta's mother. Also, thanks to Young's strong catholic beliefs she refused to terminate the pregnancy and instead traveled to Europe, away from the prying eyes of the American press and delivered her child in secrecy. She then returned to the U.S with her child named Judith and told the press she had adopted a child whole in Europe, never telling anyone outside of Gable and her mother the truth about Judith.

With a possible career ending scandal averted, Young's career continued to flourish. When she returned to the states, she starred in films such as The Crusades, Private Number, Ramona and Love Is News. In 1938 she enjoyed a great success with David Butler sports romance Kentucky - a Romeo and Juliet-type story set in the horse racing community of Civil War Kentucky. Her career continued to grow into the next decade with hits like The Story of Alexander Graham Bell, The Doctor Takes a Wife and The Lady from Cheyenne.  

Career Height

By the time the 1940s rolled in, Young was entering the height of her career with films like The Men in Her Life, A Night to Remember and China. In 1944 she starred in the film Ladies Courageous, which centered on the life of World War II women pilots as they flew planes from their factories to the destinations, thus doing her part for the war effort. Two years later Young starred opposite Orson Welles and Edward G. Robinson in the noir crime-drama The Stranger. In 1947 starred as Katrin Holstrom in the H.C Hunter comedy The Farmer's Daughter. In the film Young plays a young women who leaves the farm to study nursing in the city. Along the way, however, her career gets directed towards politics, eventually becoming a congresswoman. The film was a great success both at the box office and with the critics with Young gaining much of the praise. She would eventually walk away with the Best Actress Academy Award for her work in the film. That same year she starred in another comedy hit, The Bishop's Wife, opposite Cary Grant and David Niven.

In 1948 she starred opposite William Holden in the Norman Foster western Rachel and the Stranger.  The next year she starred in another well-received drama Come to the Stable opposite Celeste Holm. For her work she was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award. She continued to act on the big screen into the next decade, starring in films such as Come to the Stable, Key to the City, and Paula. In 1953 she starred in the Joseph Pevney comedy It Happens Every Thursday.  The film would end up being her last escapade on the big screen.

Television and Later Career

After retiring from the big screen in 1953, Young decided to take her talent to small screen. She soon began hosting her own drama anthology series aptly titled The Loretta Young Show. From 1953 to 1961, Young hosted and occasionally starred in the NBC series and is remembered for her fabulous gowns and grand entrances. During the shows eight year run, Young won the Best Actress Emmy award in 1954, 1956, and 1958. After the show ended, Young began work on her new show, aptly titled The New Loretta Young Show. The new show, however, only lasted a season. By 1960 Young entered retirement and enjoyed a life of leisured by spending time with her family and traveling the world.

In 1986, after over twenty years away from the screen, Young returned to the little screen with the TV movie Christmas Eve. In 1989 she starred in another made for TV film Lady in the Corner. Her final screen appearance was as the narrator of the made-for-TV film Life Along he Mississippi. She then once again entered quiet retirement. Loretta Young died on August 12th, 2000. She was 76 years old. 

(Source: article by Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub).



Loretta Young was nominated for two Academy Awards, winning one for Best Actress for The Farmer's Daughter (as Katrin Holstrom) in 1947.

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1947Best ActressThe Farmer's Daughter (1947)Katrin HolstromWon
1949Best ActressCome to the Stable (1949)Sister MargaretNominated

She was honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the categories of Motion Pictures and Television. Loretta Young's handprints and footprints were 'set in stone' at Grauman's Chinese Theater during imprint ceremony #37 on May 31, 1937.

BlogHub Articles:

Noir Nook: Uncommon Ladies of Noir ?

By Karen Burroughs Hannsberry on Oct 10, 2018 From Classic Movie Hub Blog

Noir Nook: Uncommon Ladies of Noir ? Some film fans remember from her popular television show, where she?d sweep into the frame each week with an elegant flourish of her floor-length gown. Others think of her in her Oscar-winning title role of The Farmer?s Daughter (1947)... Read full article

CMH Just For Fun,

By Annmarie Gatti on Jan 6, 2018 From Classic Movie Hub Blog

Just for Fun… What’s Her Name? No contest here, just a fun (hopefully) trivia question to test your classic movie knowledge!? If you’re stumped and need to find the answer, you can click through to our bio page ….. –Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hu... Read full article

The Blogathon: Pinch-riding for Carole in a 'Taxi!'

By carole_and_co on Jan 6, 2016 From Carole & Co.

This entry is part of the Blogathon, as today is the 103rd anniversary of Young's birth.Other than sheer luminosity, Carole Lombard and really didn't have much in common. (OK, there was Clark Gable, but that's another story for another time.) They never worked at the same... Read full article

The Blogathon: Pinch-riding for Carole in a 'Taxi!'

By carole_and_co on Jan 6, 2016 From Carole & Co.

This entry is part of the Blogathon, as today is the 103rd anniversary of Young's birth.Other than sheer luminosity, Carole Lombard and really didn't have much in common. (OK, there was Clark Gable, but that's another story for another time.) They never worked at the same... Read full article

The Unguarded Hour: Birthday Blogathon

By Franchot Tone Fan on Jan 5, 2016 From Finding Franchot: Exploring the Life and Career of Franchot Tone

One of my go-to films for a healthy dose of romance, glamour, and intrigue is the 1936 film The Unguarded Hour. It was the first Franchot Tone DVD I ever purchased and stars my other favorite screen star (not to mention a lady who inspires me greatly) . Like Franchot, Loretta always imp... Read full article

See all articles

Loretta Young Quotes:

Kurt Anderson: With your looks you shouldn't have any trouble finding a job.
Madeleine Walters West: Thank you, but I'd rather be employed for my brain.

June Cameron: You know, marriage is no longer the answer to a maiden's prayer. Oh, slaving over a hot stove all day is all right for some of the more backward members of our sex, but there's a new kind of woman coming into the fore... the kind who refuse to subordinate her personality to that of the egotistical male.

Cyrus Jeffrey: You're not going to marry my niece?
Steve Leyton: Not while I'm sane!
Tony Gateson: [laughs]
Cyrus Jeffrey: Tony, this isn't true, is it?
Tony Gateson: Just as true of other things that gentleman of the press has been writing about me.

read more quotes from Loretta Young...

Share this page:
Visit the Classic Movie Hub Blog CMH
Also a Capricorn

See All Capricorns >>
Best Actress Oscar 1947

See more Best Actress awards>>
Grauman's Imprints

Also at Grauman's

See All Imprint Ceremonies >>
Loretta Young on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame

See All Walk of Fame Stars >>
Loretta Young Facts
Loretta's family moved to Los Angeles in 1915. Shortly after, her father abandoned the large family. The eldest child, John R. Young ("Jack"), was adopted by two sisters who changed his surname to Lindley. He later became an attorney and the father of five. He had little contact over the years with his blood family.

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.

Turned down the part of Ellie Andrews in It Happened One Night (1934). Claudette Colbert was then given the role and won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance.

See All Related Facts >>
Related Lists
Create a list

See All Related Lists >>