Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday rerun: Back when she was Young

It always amuses me to hear people wistfully going on about the "good old days" when "people were honest and did the right thing" and were "good Americans, especially them actors and all, 'cause up til this Jane Fonda, they were people you could look up to."

Until you knew the truth, and then you'd find out that people have always been pretty much the way they are.  Ever heard of Judy Lewis?

Judy Lewis passed away last week, but she was born in 1935 to actress Loretta Young, just back from spending eight months hiding out in touring Europe.  No one was to know that Loretta Young had given birth, you see.  For one thing, she was a VERY Religious Young Lady and for another thing, her baby daddy was jug-eared hambone actor Clark Gable, who was a VERY married man at the time. They fell in love while making a movie called "The Call Of The Wild" (indeed!) and they acted like two telegraph keys: they just didit, didit, didit. And all this without a condom or at least some sort of rhythm!

So what they did was, Loretta had the baby, put her in the bullpen of foster care, and then  - because she felt the same maternal urges that so many single women with burgeoning careers have - she told everyone she adopted the little jug-eared baby who looked more like Clark Gable than Gable himself.
They operated on the child's ears at the age of 7, for the love of Pete, to pull them a little closer to her head.

We don't know why Clark Gable, once free of his marriage, didn't marry Loretta.  Maybe he found her a little too deceptive.  Or maybe he was busy banging 1/2 of Hollywood.  But Loretta married a guy named Tom Lewis, and they had two children, while continuing to claim that Judy was "adopted."
Gee, you wouldn't think that would mess up a person's head, would you, to find out from the guy you are about to marry at age 23 that your father is a bad actor in movies and the woman you had always been told had adopted you as an infant was your birth mother? “It was very difficult for me as a little girl not to be accepted or acknowledged by my mother, who, to this day, will not publicly acknowledge that I am her biological child,” she said in an interview in 1994, when her inevitable tell-all book came out.

For  heaven's sake, COVER THOSE EARS!
Her mother, saint that she was, responded by not speaking to Judy for three years.  By that time, Judy had given up her career as a soap opera actress and had become a licensed family and child counselor, a job to which she must have brought a great deal of empathy.  Perhaps she could understand her mother.  I don't.  Loretta never came clean about all this when she was alive, which she stopped being in 2000, and then her tell-all posthumous autobiography told it all. 

Here's what the old girl told her daughter when she finally admitted what she did:  “And why shouldn’t I be unhappy? Wouldn’t you be if you were a movie star and the father of your child was a movie star and you couldn’t have an abortion because it was a mortal sin?” 

Loretta Lynn, noted country singer, was named for Loretta Young.  A picture of Ms Young hung on the wall of the Webb family home in Butcher Holler KY, and her mother liked the name.   I just thought I'd end this on a happier note.  Loretta Lynn has brought pleasure to millions.  Loretta Young couldn't be honest with one.

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