TheColumnists.com

 OSCARS 2011

 JIM BAWDEN

 

 LORETTA YOUNG
OSCAR WINNER

 

 
 

 LORETTA YOUNG
in her Best Actress
Oscar-winning performance
in "The Farmer's Daughter"
(above left); with her Oscar
(above right); in a glamour
portrait, displaying her
awesome beauty.

Her fabulous career went
from silents to the TV era

By JIM BAWDEN
of TheColumnists.com


It was on a blustery Saturday morning in November of 1986 when I ventured down to Toronto’s University Avenue courthouse to meet Loretta Young. The famous TV and movie actress had been retired for 23 years and it was the last day of shooting on her comeback effort, an NBC TV movie called "Christmas Eve."

For weeks I’d been trying to get on the set without any success. Then the president of NBC International made a personal plea for one interview because, as he bluntly told Young, “You have a financial stake in this movie and it hasn’t been sold to Canadian TV as yet because nobody knows who you are anymore.”

Young compiled but said the interview would only last 15 minutes and then I would have to go.

But in her trailer she was annoyed at being ignored–the cast and crew were doing mundane pick up shots. And I knew how to cajole and please her with my questions and that small interview stretched into a marathon session of more than seven hours.

Here are highlights of our talk:

BAWDEN: Now that you’re almost finished making "Christmas Eve," what changes do you notice in making films?

YOUNG: Thank you for not calling it a comeback. Because I never retired from life. We’re shooting this one almost entirely on location (in Toronto). In the bad old days we’d do everything on the back lot and in front of transparency screens We’ve finished a scene where Trevor Howard as my chauffeur drives me around the city at night. No process screens! They put the car on a gigantic truck and photographed us that way. It was sheer fun. Differences? The role of women certainly. I see women carrying things all over the set. I guess it’s called equality. I just hope they don’t break their backs.

BAWDEN: I don’t see your famous swear box anywhere.

YOUNG: Oh, Canadians are very polite. I started that not to make money for charity but to remind my crew that they were taking the Lord’s name in vain. Oh, I know all the words. But my box was to restore decorum. Once Joe Mankiewicz who was very full of himself waltzed by on the set of "Come To the Stable," stuffed $5 in the box and said, “Now Loretta, I can really tell you where to go.” It didn’t faze me, I had his money for my latest cause.

BAWDEN: Why pick this particular project?

YOUNG: I was going to return in a TV movie called "Dark Mansions" for Aaron Spelling, who, when he was acting, used to rehearse in my garage with my daughter Judy Lewis. Just before filming started he told me ABC could change the script even during production. I left and dear Joan Fontaine took over. Then I was offered "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles" and I thought it needed a top producer to put it over but there are no Sam Goldwyns today. I refused it and Claudette Colbert took the mother-in-law role. If I’d accepted either of those I couldn’t have done "Christmas Eve," which is a wonderful family story I predict will become a seasonal favorite.

BAWDEN: Did you ever miss acting?

YOUNG: You mean was I sitting at home dusting my trophies? Hardly! I was always working at my charities. I had a youth project in Phoenix. Back in L.A. I worked at a hospice. One day I was rubbing the feet of a man named Ernie as he watched me in "Along Came Jones" on his TV set. He glanced up, startled, then said I looked much better these days. So, he got an extra 10 minutes of massage for that! I visit old friends. I live in the smallest home in Beverly Hills. I’m not a clothes horse, I can wear a Jean Louos dress from 20 years ago or something new. I’m into other things. I never considered myself a beauty. I think I lasted because I was the hardest worker at the studio.

BAWDEN: But your reputation is …..

YOUNG: As a holy roller? My son took me to see "The Killing Fields" and it was so powerful. I loved "Greystoke," "Tootsie," "Places in the Heart." I kept thinking of all the strange things we couldn’t do back then. It was foolish to show married couples in twin beds. I did sue Fox for interpolating scenes of me into that trash ("Myra Breckenridge"). But I’ve never been divorced from life. I love Benny Hill. Yes, I really do. I love a good laugh!

BAWDEN: Is the story of your first big role in movies true?

YOUNG: Oh, yes, I answered the phone when I was all of 13-14 and it was a nice man, Mervyn LeRoy, at First National, looking for my older sister Sally Blane. I‘d been in the flickers since I was four but as an extra. The first one was with Fanny Ward. Then at 13 I did "Orchids and Ermine" with the great star Colleen Moore and she got FN to put me under contract--$150 a week for 40 weeks a year. We were very poor. Mother ran a boarding house and we could feed the whole family on that.

 

 Loretta Young with Lon Chaney Sr.
in the silent movie classic
"Laugh, Clown, Laugh."


BAWDEN: When did you join Warners?

YOUNG: Never joined. In 1927-28 First National was purchased by Warners. FN’s huge Burbank lot was my home for seven years. Warners picked me up along with Colleen, Dick Barthlemess, lots of others. Colleen recently saw me at LeRoy’s 80th birthday party and hollered over the din, “Hey Gretch!”

BAWDEN: Do you remember many of your silents?

YOUNG: No because I never saw them when first released. I was too young and my parts were as the young girl. In 1928 I was loaned to MGM for "Laugh, Clown, Laugh," one of Lon Chaney’s last silents. He was a magnificent actor, very soft spoken, a pantomine genius. The director was Herbert Brenon and he hated me and screamed a lot. Then Mr. Chaney would come over, dry my tears, and say “I think you should do it this way” and act out my part for me. He got this little girl through it and I was noticed for the first time and I went back to Warners in triumph. Then in 1931 I made "Beau Ideal" and Brenon was the director, sinking fast because he couldn’t adapt to talkies. And he yelled at me just as much as before!

BAWDEN: You were kept busy!

YOUNG: In 1929 I made six pictures, in 1930 I made eight pictures. In 1931 I made eight and collapsed and had to be hospitalized for physical exhaustion. We worked six days a week then. So, Jack Warner said he’d modify that pace. I only did six pictures that year. Always as “the girl.” I never had much personality in those days.
Remember we worked 40 weeks with 12 weeks of unpaid layoff. If I wasn’t engaged Jack would loan me out and gradually it occurred to me the loan outs always turned out better. In "The Devil To Pay" (1930) I was opposite the great Ronald Colman. I was all of 17, he was 37 and I thought him impossibly old. But before every take he’d whisper, “Courage, my dear!” Myrna Loy was the bad girl. And 10 years later I’m driving down Sunset and there’s a billboard of its re-release: Ronald Colman and Myrna Loy in "The Devil To Care" with Loretta Young. I was downsized! Had to stop the car because I was laughing so hard. But Myrna had just been named Queen of Hollywood and I was temporarily blackballed by the studios.

 

 

Loretta Young with two of her most famous leading men: At left, Tyrone Power in "Love
Is News." At right, with Clark Gable in "The Call of the Wild." Young claimed Power was not happy with his reputation as a movie "pretty boy." Young had a passionate love affair with Gable while filming "Call of the Wild" and gave birth to his child out of wedlock. She later adopted the child--her daughter, Judy-- after anonymously placing it up for adoption.


Another great loanout was to Columbia for "Platinum Blonde" (1931), directed by Frank Capra, a tiny little Italian and opposite Jean Harlow in her slinky period. And Capra guided me so smoothly, I got attention I’d never received at Warners. I remember one tough speech; we did it 10 times. I was in tears and I shouted “I don’t know what you want!” And Frank whispered, “I just think you can do better." What a great line to toss to an 18-year-old desperate for recognition, approval.

Also on loan out I did "Zoo in Budapest" (1933) at Fox. The photography is shimmering. I just saw it–for the first time! And at Columbia "A Man’s Castle," directed by Frank Borzage with Spencer Tracy. It really came off, made me very hot in the business.

Oh, and over at MGM I did "Midnight Mary" (1933) with (director) Wild Bill Wellman. We were both in the Warners dog house right then. Intended as a three-week "B," it became one of Metro’s biggest grossersof the year. Every scene crackled with tension and Bill never directed a dud in his career. So, yes, my biggest hits were away from the home lot.

BAWDEN: You missed acting with most of the big Warners stars.

YOUNG: I played the girl in "Heroes For Sale" (1933). I was 20, Dick Barthlemess 40 and I considered him so old. I‘d already done "Taxi" with (James) Cagney. Completely forgot about it until a friend loaned me a tape. I remembered in one scene director Roy Del Ruth told me to slap Jimmy hard on the face and run up the stairs as fast as I could because he wasn’t expecting it. The look of surprise on his face is supreme. I slapped Jimmy Cagney and got away with it!

BAWDEN: You left Warners in 1934.

YOUNG: The studio was run by Darryl Zanuck and he left to found Twentierh Century pictures, releasing through UA. He got Connie Bennett, George Arliss to follow him and when he asked me I thought that was just fine. Jack (Warner) offered another seven years but at the price tag of $1 million, a fortune in the Depression. But I felt another seven years of mediocre pictures and I’d be through for good.

BAWDEN: Your first movie at Twentieth was "House of Rothschild" (1934)?

YOUNG: I had forgotten I made a movie with Mr. George Arliss as he insisted on being billed. I thought him pompous until one day he called me over and said if I wanted a long career I’d have to acquire knowledge of the basics including lighting and lenses. He said to stick closely to the cinematographer who can make or break any actor. He was a strict disciplinarian where ingenues were concerned. Insisted on a code of listening and learning. I’d never worked with him at Warners. I wound up as an ardent admirer. I’d always been my best on the first take but he drummed into me that many retakes were needed to get that perfect pitch. He insisted raw emotion wasn’t enough, that what I needed was rehearsals and more rehearsals. Both Bob Young and I were worked furiously and loved it that we were being taken seriously.

BAWDEN: You were telling me over lunch about your worst ever picture.

YOUNG: "Born To Be Bad" (1934). One critic simply wrote “it is.” That was the entire review. Made that at Twentieth and it was a rich, ripe stinker. I was an unwed mother, Cary Grant a pig farmer from Wisconsin. Originally it was made for Jean Harlow but MGM finally refused to loan her out. Then the Production Code weighed in and nobody could figure what was happening after those guys got through with it. One 10-page directive concerned the provocative clothes I was to wear. We made it and it was rejected and Sidney Lanfield came in and redid about half the scenes. But that made things worse, it seemed really dirty and then whole chunks were cut out. The first director was Lowell Sherman who’d guided Kate Hepburn to an Oscar so expectations were big. But I didn’t know how to play heartless and nasty. It was against my better judgment. I only wanted to play good girls. Thirteen years later Cary and I were reunited (in "The Bishop’s Wife") and he comes on set the first day and says, “Loretta, you owe me one good picture.” And he was right.

 

 

Two of Loretta Young's most popular pictures were "RAMONA" (above left), which was in Technicolor, and "The Bishop's Wife" with Cary Grant.

BAWDEN: Your first Twentieth Century-Fox film was the all star "Ladies In Love" (1936).

YOUNG: Oh, they remade it many times. It was about three girls in the big city. Think "How To Marry A Millionaire." That was one of the remakes. Budapest was recreated on the back lot. Even pieces of the set from "Sunrise" (1927) were still up and usable. I watched as Darryl systematically cut down Janet Gaylor’s part although she had first billing rights. He was convinced her huge salary--$400,000 a year–was a drag on studio expenses and after all she was all of 30! Janet was so disheartened she asked for her contract terminated and got it. Second billed was Connie Bennett, no longer the box office sensation of a few years back, just glad to get a job. And I got third star billing. Unknowns in the cast included Ty Power and Don Ameche and a little French number, Simone Simon, Darryl was determined to make into a star. She never took with American audiences but it wasn’t for (lack of) trying.

BAWDEN: You said some of your Zanuck films you positively hated. Which ones?

YOUNG: Well, "Suez" was right up there. Firstly it was all wildly inaccurate. Zanuck was trying to promote the career of Annabella, another French import. At the time Ty and I were dating. We’d dart into the Westwood movie palace after work and eat popcorn and hot dogs. Then he stopped asking me out. He’d fallen for–her! He was 23 and she was 27. Oh, it was a scandal in all the movie magazines. A lot of dough was spent on costumes, sets but there was no story. They had Disraeli (played by Miles Mander) getting involved and that never happened until the British coup to take over the whole thing. Director Allan Dwan said it was about a guy who digs a ditch. I hated being Eugenie so much I ordered the costumer to make really big hoop skirts, so large I couldn’t get through most doors or even sit down. If I didn’t have the lines at least I’d have the audiences’ attention. Then Ty married Annabella in real life and Zanuck was so angry he virtually blackballed her!


BAWDEN: How do you remember Tyrone Power?

YOUNG: Originally, as a dreamy youth. We grew up together. He was completely committed to the theater but wound up this amazing box office attraction. At one point he was the only true superstar under contract at Twentieth. He was so beautiful. He hated that. We confided in each other.We looked good together, so we made a succession of romps which all made money: "Love Is News," "Hotel Metropole." He hated them all, wanted to tackle the classics. But that was the fad then–beautiful people. After all, it was the Depression. I did two with Franchot Tone who was just as pretty. So was Bob Taylor. People didn’t need realism then. They had it on the bread lines.

BAWDEN: Describe life at Twentieth.

YOUNG: I’d get up at the crack of dawn.I lived in Bel Air and I’d drive down–no entourage for me--and through the back gates.The lot was a beehive of preparation for the upcoming day’s shoot. As a teenager, I’d go home, put the Victrola on and dance for an hour, driving my mother crazy. I never was a clothes horse. That was Connie Bennett, who used to joke about the lines on her neck, which she called her necklaces. I hated my swan’s neck and my ribs stuck out in front. When I stopped acting, I stopped smoking--and promptly put on 10 pounds. The cameramen liked photographing bones. I hated being reviewed for my beauty. To me Dietrich and Lamarr were the beautiful ones. I couldn’t do drama like Bette Davis or comedy like Carole Lombard, but I could do both passably and that’s why I had a strong female fan base. I was average enough to appeal to all those shop girls, you see.

BAWDEN: Some of your movies from this period are disappointing to watch today.

YOUNG: Like "Four Men and A Prayer" (1938), which Jack Ford says he did under duress. I had no idea why I was making this thing, I just exchanged wardrobes a lot. It was definitely a make work project for us all. "Kentucky" (1938) was passable because in was in Technicolor but my part was negligible. Walter Brennan got a supporting Oscar for that one. At the time Zanuck was promoting the career of Richard Greene, a very pleasant boy. Zanuck said Richard would go farther than David Niven, who was also in "Four Men and A Prayer," which shows nobody can predict screen stardom.

But the movie that wrecked it all for me at Twentieth was "The Story of Alexander Graham Bell." I blame Mrs. Mabel Bell for ruining my career there. Oh, Hank Fonda hated that one--third billed as the second male lead to Don Ameche. In real life, she was a deaf mute, as they were then called, but Zanuck would have none of that. I told him I intended to sign in the early part of the film as Mabel had done and he blew up and stormed off the set. I loved it when Charlie Coburn piped up one day and said, “We had much more fun on the set of 'Edison the Man'” to Gene Lockhart. As far as it goes I wasn’t even to suggest the strange atonal speech a deaf girl would use since she couldn’t ever hear herself speaking. Everything was fake in this one right down to the soap chips as snow and I was sick of that.

BAWDEN: Is that why you left Twentieth at the end of 1939?

YOUNG: My contract was up and I decided to freelance as my pals Irene Dunne and Roz Russell were doing. Zanuck was floored, he just assumed I’d automatically renew, based on the money offered. I said, “I’m leaving because he never sent flowers,” which was a joke and a dig at him for ignoring me. But Louella (Parsons) heard it and made a big fuss about what a spoiled child I was. Child? I was 27 with 14 years of being under contract. Time to strike out on my own.

BAWDEN: But at first there was no work.

YOUNG: Month after month there were no offers. I had an agent, Mr. Townsend, but I never really needed him when under long term contract. But he said he could do nothing. Then I was testing for "Rebecca" for David Selznick and I told him my predicament and he said, “Why, you have been blackballed!” Got in touch with his brother, who was an agent–Myron Selznick. And Myron threatened a lawsuit--restraint of trade. And he cagily got Harry Cohn at Columbia to break the blacklist by hiring me for two pictures for the price of one--$80,000—and I was back at it as both pictures were successful. Then the offers flowed in and I could pick and choose as I wanted. I made two or three picture deals after that.

 

 

As a freelancer, Loretta Young made some offbeat pictures. At left, she's with Edward G. Robinson and Orson Welles in Welles' "The Stranger" and, at right, with Alan Ladd in "China." Young said she had to stand in a hole when acting with the much shorter Ladd, so he would appear taller than her.

BAWDEN: How was Cohn.

YOUNG: I rather liked the old coot. Very vulgar, but he loved making movies. Our first, "The Doctor Takes A Wife" (1940), was amiable and I had Ray Milland as co-star and he brought in the women in the audience and it was a big hit. Then for "Bedtime Story" (1941), Harry got so mad he yanked the film back at the last moment and switched billing–Freddie March was now number one—and that cost a lot of money. In our final scene I needed a party dress and costumes couldn’t supply one, so Harry said to go down to Bullock’s and get an appropriate long dress and I picked one with a huge price tag, charged it to him, and he literally blew his top. I guess I should have checked, but we went at each other for the next decade before I finally apologized. Another Columbia comedy, "A Night To Remember," was already in the can or nearly finished I think.

BAWDEN: Did freelancing work out?

YOUNG: I started making the films people remember me for. My first for Paramount was a wartime thing, "China" (1943), that was popular because of the conflict. The studio asked if Alan Ladd could be my leading man. They were trying to wean him off gangster roles. I liked him and his sense of family, but he was very wooden. By the way, he was shorter than me, so I’d stand in a foxhole for romantic moments. But the public response was so strong we were immediately reteamed in another, "And Now Tomorrow" (1944) and he was a doctor trying to cure me of deafness. But he was smoother, obviously learning as he went along. Imagine my surprise at the premiere when our names were switched and I got second billing. I learned why when I went outside after it was over and there was a huge crowd of bobbysoxers calling his name.

BAWDEN: You also worked with Gary Cooper and Orson Welles in that period.

YOUNG: "Along Came Jones" (1945) with Gary Cooper was a comedy western that slowed right down every time Coop ambled onscreen. It under-performed at the box office. Watching Orson direct and star in "The Stranger" (1946) was a lesson in cinema making. Did you know his original choice of the War Crimes Commissioner was going to be Aggie Moorehead and she’d been promised the part but our intrepid producer said no, there’d only be suspense building with somebody like Eddie Robinson doing the tracking.
"
BAWDEN: Did you expect to win an Oscar for "The Farmer’s Daughter?"

YOUNG: I’d been officially an actress for two decades. At 34, I’m suddenly nominated and it wasn’t that difficult, my performance. Remember I told you I tested for David Selznick for "Rebecca" and was turned down because I was considered too American? David promised he’d use me some day and it only took seven years. And it only came about because Ingrid Bergman turned down the role of the Swedish maid. She said no more Swedes. Our little picture was no masterwork, but it affirmed American values. And there was such a wonderful cast of scene stealers: Ethel Barrymore, Charlie Bickford, Rhys Williams. The director was Hank Potter, who never gets his due. And there were three unknowns as my brothers: Jim Arness, Lex Barker, Keith Andes. Whatever happened to them? See it wasn’t just a comedy, it was about something without being a flag waver.

On Oscar night I felt queasy. At the subsequent banquet RKO had bought two tables side by side: One for us, supposedly the losers, the other for the winning team of "Mourning Becomes Electra." When my name was announced, all I heard was this gush of surprise from the audience. I sat there stunned. Then my sister Georgianne, sitting right behind me, said “Oh, Gretch!” and poked me and I ran up sobbing to accept. Felt awfully sad my best bud Roz Russell didn’t get it, but she was so strong she drove her mom home to bed and then came back to party. RKO changed the name plates and we got the larger winner’s table!

BAWDEN: Did it advance your career?

YOUNG: Not much. I only had one film out in 1948, a good one, "Rachel and the Stranger," casting me as a colonial bondswoman, and I had two big leading men: Bill Holden and Bob Mitchum. At the beginning of 1949, "The Accused" came out and it was the true story of a college prof accused of murdering a student who comes on to her. A real film noir and I liked that it was almost entirely shot out on the streets of Los Angeles.

 

 Loretta Young with Robert Cummings
in the classic film noir from 1948,
"The Accused."

BAWDEN: And you also came back to Twentieth.

YOUNG: Darryl phones up after the Oscar win and offers me a three picture deal. Never mentions his blazing indictment that I’d never again work in this town! I said I’d do "Mother is A Freshman"only if I could also do a script he’d had in the closet about Belgian nuns in New England: "Come To The Stable." He started roaring on the phone: “Religious pictures don’t sell!” Me: “That’s funny coming from the producer of 'The Song of Bernadette.'" A truce was called. I did "Mother is A Freshman" and it was a cute comedy and made a few bucks. But "Come To The Stable" was a huge grosser and is shown on TV every Christmas. The third picture was "Half Angel" (1951), back with Joe Cotten. We were too old to play these cute parts and both of us knew that. We started with Julie Dassin. After 10 days of laborious over-directing, we didn’t have a single funny scene. I called Zanuck at home that night. He watched all the takes over the weekend and replaced Julie with Dick Sale Monday morning. But the picture still flopped. It was a comedy about sleepwalking that put everybody to sleep, cast included.

BAWDEN: Did you feel your career was slipping? Is that why you jumped to TV?

YOUNG: Nuts! "Key To the City" with Clark Gable was a hit. My husband and I made "Cause For Alarm!" on the streets of L.A. in three weeks and it made money. "Paula" was a hit. Ditto "Because of You" with Jeff Chandler. (It) was as big a hit as there was in 1952. The girls loved seeing me in Jeff’s arms. And by the time I finished "It Happens Every Thursday" (1953) I’d already signed with NBC.

You see, I’d seen the sense of wonderment on the faces of my three little kids as they watched TV. It was a revolution even bigger than talkies and I wanted to be the first movie star to try it. I naively thought there’d be time every summer for a movie. When it was announced L.B. Mayer phoned up and said, “You’ll never make another picture, dear.” In Beverly Hills, I was considered a traitor. There were no TV antennas there. He was absolutely right! I never did! But when we geared up (for "The Loretta Young Show"), we rented space from old Sam Goldwyn at his studio –old Sam recognized a bargain when he received it.

 

 

Above left: "The Loretta Young Show," the immensely popular anthology series that
Young starred in from 1953-61. At right, Young's return to acting, the TV movie "Christmas Eve," done for NBC in 1986.


BAWDEN: How did it all come about?

YOUNG: My husband and I formed a company and decided to make presentations and NBC immediately wanted it. CBS offered me one where I’d play the same character every week, a housewife, and I even visited with Lucy Ball to see how she did it in front of a studio audience.

From the get-go we saw it as a filmed anthology series titled "Letter To Loretta" and I would introduce every episode and star in many shows. Half hour. And NBC gave us a wonderful slot–Sundays at 10 p.m. We used great movie directors: Rudy Mate, my brother-in-law Norman Foster. George Nader was my first co-star and we got him back a lot and for casts I used all the wonderful character actors then floating around: Ellen Corby, Mae Clark, Frank Ferguson, Bruce Bennett, Burt Mustin–I knew them all and the fact they were looking for work because the picture business was slowing down. Dick Arlen said he’d come back as often as he could because our cinematographer made him look 10 years younger. We treated them royally and they delivered. Every 25-minute episode was shot in three days, which meant no multiple retakes. But these veterans could do everything in one perfect take.

An early director told me to swirl my skirt during an introduction and it became a staple. But you see as long as I showed myself I could go on and become any kind of character I wished: a dumb blonde, a Hiroshima survivor, nuns, wicked women, every permutation. Hard work never frightened me. You see in my long career I never complained about the long hours.

We got more popular by the year. I’d naively thought I could make a movie every summer during hiatus. That never happened! We started off with 36 episodes which was far too many. By Season Five, we were down to 29 which was too few, said NBC. We ended with Season Eight and 31 new shows. The reruns were repackaged by NBC as a summer series and my old pal Anita Louise came in and provided new introductions. We sold first rerun rights to NBC for millions and the network reran them for years in the afternoon. Yes, it’s true I did successfully sue NBC years later because our deal said they couldn’t use the introductions because people would naturally assume I was wearing outdated fashions.

BAWDEN: You made 216 episodes in eight years but immediately were offered and took a second series. Why?

YOUNG: "The New Loretta Young Show." I was playing the same part every week and my boredom showed. My fans hated it. I hated it and it lasted 26 weeks. Did it to satisfy the old ego and I flopped. Then I spent six months sleeping, then I travelled around the world. My pal and I enter this night club in Tokyo, the orchestra leader spots me and the band starts playing, “Ramona, When day is done I hear your call.” Stardom! Couldn’t even escape it in Japan!

BAWDEN: You were offered other movie roles but refused. Why?

YOUNG: Nothing seemed to work. They offered me the lead in what became "The Innocents" (1961) with Deborah Kerr and I thought about it. And then when Joan Crawford got sick on the set of "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte." I was asked to substitute. Couldn’t do that to my old pal. Besides I’d look silly running around with a saw in my hand. It would have disappointed my fans. I’m not passing judgment on those old gals who do this sort of thing--they really need the money.

BAWDEN: Now what?

YOUNG: there’s room for more acting. I have three adult children I’m proud of. Judy used to be a TV producer and is now studying to be a psychologist. Peter is back studying at university and painting houses to make it through. Chris makes horror movies direct to video. They must be powerful because he won’t let me see them. I’m divorced from my husband, but under church law cannot remarry and for that I’m grateful because it has pre ented me making another mistake. From my vantage point I now see that God has had it all planned out for me. He has really been very, very good to me and I’m grateful.

  AUTHOR'S NOTE


Loretta Young did return to Toronto in 1988 to make another TV movie, "Lady in the Corner," but it was not well received. She refused to see me because she was angry I’d interviewed daughter Judy Lewis about her tell-all book "Uncommon Knowledge," which stated Young and Clark Gable had an affair during the making of "Call of the Wild" (1935) and an illegitimate child, Judy (subsequently adopted by Young).
In 1993, Young married for a third time to her dress designer Jean Louis, who died in 1997. She later reconciled with daughter Judy.
Young died August 12, 2000, aged 87 at the residence of her sister Georgiana and her brother-in-law Ricardo Montalban.

©2011 by Jim Bawden. This column first posted Feb. 28, 2011

TO ACCESS JIM BAWDEN'S ARCHIVE OF COLUMNS ON THIS SITE, CLICK HERE: BAWDEN ARCHIVE


You can comment on this column online via our TALKBACK page. Please address your message to either "The Editors" or Jim Bawden care of Syndpack @ aol.com

 HOME

 About Us

 Index To
Archives

 Talkback

 Contact Us