Before she died in August of ovarian cancer, Oscar-winning actress Loretta Young admitted to having an affair with co-star Clark Gable — and that her “adopted” daughter, Judy Lewis, was actually her own daughter with Gable.
The long-secret details of the affair are finally confirmed in Young’s new authorized biography, Forever Young: The Life, Loves, and Enduring Faith of a Hollywood Legend. The book went on sale Friday, three months after Young’s death at age 87.
Daughter Had Suspected Truth
According to Forever Young, the unmarried Young found herself pregnant after she and the married Gable had a tryst on a train ride following the filming of the 1935 film Call of the Wild. Young, a strict Catholic, disappeared from Hollywood life, had the baby in secret, and later, pretended to adopt her own daughter. The scandal of having an illegitimate child would surely have ended her career.
Ironically, Young was known for her proper, almost puritanically prim attitudes, including “fining” fellow actors for swearing on set.
Lewis had previously published her own suspicions about her heritage in her book Uncommon Knowledge, but Young steadfastly had refused to comment on the story, which has long been an unconfirmed Hollywood rumor.
Lewis, 65, said in her book that she remained in the dark about her true parentage until the age of 31, when she confronted her mother with the rumors she had heard.
Gable never knew his only other child, John Clark Gable, who was born to his fifth wife, Kay Spreckles, not long after the actor’s November 1960 death.
Reuters contributed to this story.