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Sun Jul 12, 2015, 05:19 PM

"That's what happened between me and Clark"-- Revising old Hollywood's greatest scandal

It’s unclear what news story, exactly, made Loretta Young — one of the most beautiful and celebrated actresses of Classic Hollywood — first wonder if she had been date-raped by one of the biggest stars of all time.

It was 1998 and the 85-year-old Young was living a life of comfort and splendor in Palm Springs. At 80, she’d married French fashion designer Jean Louis; until his death in 1997, they had reveled in their collective fabulousness, drawing attention wherever they went, like an irresistible vortex of glamour.

At that point, Young was best remembered for The Loretta Young Show, a pioneering and massively successful program that had put her in American living rooms for the bulk of the '50s. But that had been Young’s second act. She’d first appeared onscreen in 1917, at the age of 3; by age 40, she’d appeared in over a hundred films. Even years out of the spotlight, her distinctive doe eyes and name would have been recognizable to anyone born before 1950.

Young was also known for her part in one of the biggest Hollywood cover-ups of all time: In 1935, at the age of 23, she became pregnant with Clark Gable’s child — while Gable was married to another woman. Over the course of the next two years, Young managed to hide the pregnancy, birth, and young infant for more than a year, eventually manufacturing an adoption narrative to bring her daughter home.


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