Loretta Young grew up in Hollywood, where her mother ran a boarding house. She was a child extra by the time she was four years old, aided by her uncle who was an assistant director. During this time, Mae Murray, the lead in Young's first film, The Primrose Ring, became so enchanted by the four-year-old that she tried to adopt Young, but her mother would not allow it. Young did, however, live with Murray for more than a year. Although she took a break from films to attend a local convent school, she did appear in small roles in The Sheik (1921) and Naughty but Nice (1927). While in school, Young helped her mother at the boarding house but dreamed of returning to films.
Her performance as Denise Laverne in The Magnificent Flirt (1928) was the first role she played after deciding to work at being an actor. She quickly advanced from bit parts to featured roles and ingenue leads. In 1929 her career was further aided by her selection as a WAMPAS Baby Star and the resulting publicity she received in magazines and newspapers. In 1930 she made headlines of a different type when she eloped to Yuma, Arizona, with divorced actor Grant Withers, who was nine years her senior. Withers had costarred with her in The Second Floor Mystery (1930). The marriage was annulled within the year.
Although two of her three sisters (Polly Ann Young and Sally Blane) were also in films, Young's career soon outpaced those of her sisters. The three appeared together in only one film, The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939), in which they played sisters along with a fourth sister, Georgiana Young.
It was after Young signed with Fox Studios that she really came into her own as an actor. While she always managed to appear elegant and refined in her screen appearances, she was now given roles that demanded acting ability. She became known as one of the most talented and beautiful women in Hollywood.
After years of credible performances, Young was awarded a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Katrin Holstrom in The Farmer's Daughter (1947). The film was incredibly popular, and she went from that success to The Bishop's Wife (1947), also an enormous hit. Both films remain classics of that era. In 1949 Young was again nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Sister Margaret in Come to the Stable. In 1953 she appeared in her final film, It Happens Every Thursday.
Although she had retired from the silver screen, Young only moved her talents to a new medium. Her dramatic anthology television series The Loretta Young Show ran from 1953 to 1961; she is often remembered for her beautiful gowns and dramatic stairway entrances. Her appearances in plays on the show garnered her three Emmy awards as Best Actress in a Dramatic Series. More than a decade later, Young sued NBC for violating her previous contract when it scheduled reruns of The Loretta Young Show in 1972, charging that since some of the episodes were almost twenty years old the viewing audience might ridicule her. She was awarded more than a half-million dollars.
In 1962 she created a new series, The New Loretta Young Show, but this show was not a success. She did not appear on any screen for twenty-four years. Then, in 1989, she made one final appearance in a TV movie, Lady in the Corner.
Young spent her retirement working for and endowing Catholic charities. In 1961 she wrote a book, The Things I Had to Learn. After years of rumors, it was revealed that her “adopted” daughter, Judy Lewis, was actually Young's illegitimate daughter by Clark Gable.
|1917||The Primrose Ring; Sirens of the Sea|
|1919||The Only Way|
|1921||The Sheik; White and Unmarried|
|1927||Naughty but Nice; Her Wild Oat|
|1928||The Whip Woman; The Magnificent Flirt; The Head Man; Laugh, Clown, Laugh; Scarlet Seas|
|1929||Seven Footprints to Satan; The Squall; The Girl in the Glass Cage; Fast Life; The Careless Age; The Forward Pass; The Show of Shows|
|1930||Loose Ankles; The Man from Blankley ‘s; Show Girl in Hollywood; The Second Floor Mystery; Road to Paradise; Kismet (I); The Truth About Youth; The Devil to Pay!|
|1931||The Right of Way; Three Girls Lost; Big Business Girl; Platinum Blonde; The Ruling Voice; Too Young to Marry; The Slippery Pearls; I Like Your Nerve; Beau Ideal; How I Play Golf|
|1932||The Hatchet Man; Week-end Marriage; Life Begins; They Call It Sin; Play Girl; Taxi!|
|1933||Grand Slam; Zoo in Budapest; The Life of Jimmy Dolan; Midnight Mary; Man's Castle; She Had to Say Yes; Heroes for Sale; Employees' Entrance; The Devil's in Love|
|1934||Born to Be Bad; Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back; The White Parade; The House of Rothschild; Caravan|
|1935||The Call of the Wild; Clive of India; Shanghai; The Crusades|
|1936||The Unguarded Hour; Ramona; Private Number; Ladies in Love|
|1937||Love Is News; Cafe Metropole; Wife, Doctor, andNurse; Second Honeymoon; Love Under Fire|
|1938||Three Blind Mice; Suez; Kentucky; Four Men and a Prayer|
|1939||Eternally Yours; The Story of Alexander Graham Bell; Wife; Husband and Friend|
|1940||He Stayed for Breakfast; The Doctor Takes a Wife|
|1941||The Lady from Cheyenne; The Men in Her Life; Bedtime Story|
|1943||China; A Night to Remember; Show Business at War|
|1944||Ladies Courageous; And Now Tomorrow|
|1945||Along Came Jones|
|1947||The Farmer's Daughter; The Bishop's Wife; The Perfect Marriage|
|1948||Rachel and the Stranger|
|1949||Come to the Stable; Mother Is a Freshman; The Accused|
|1950||Key to the City|
|1951||Half Angel; Cause for Alarm|
|1952||Paula; Because of You|
|1953||It Happens Every Thursday|
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