Monday, January 6, 2014

A Date That Will Live in Infamy


To paraphrase dear Mr. Yeats - "And what rough beast, its hour come round at last/Slouches towards Brentwood to be born"?

Loretta Young is 1001 years old today.  Heaven help us all.

I have to admit, however much I loathe her, recent years have been surprisingly kind to ol' Gretchen.  The revelation (the final confirmation, after all these decades of rumor) that her "adopted" daughter in fact wasn't, and that she was (as was clear to anyone with eyes) Clark Gable's daughter to boot, has rather humanized her, and the increased attention paid to her many and varied pre-Code pictures has, to an extent, leavened the memory of all the treacle and worse that made up most of the last half of her long, long career.

But still, for the record, however much I recognize that as a star of remarkable durability and more versatility than she is generally credited for, attention must be paid - I simply can't stand her.  And spaghetti straps do nothing for her.

11 comments:

  1. She always said such nice things about you...:-) Jx

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  2. Now you act like just because she was a holy rolling judgemental hypocrite who had hot pants and helium heels which she threw in the air for a succession of married men then denied her natural born daughter almost to her dying day after having her ears pinned back to hide the truth that she was a bitch and a bad person.

    Oops I said bitch I guess I have to put a dollar in the swear box!!

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    1. "Here's five bucks, Loretta. Go fuck yourself."

      There, I said it. Along with, depending on who you believe, Bankhead, Davis, Stanwyck, or Merman...

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    2. I've always heard it attributed to Joe Mankiewicz.

      But it was allegedly Joan Crawford who, grabbing a party guest by the arm, stopped her from occupying a chair recently vacated by "Attila The Nun," saying, "Don't sit there -- Loretta just got up and the sign of the cross is still embedded in the seat cushion."

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  3. well, I'll say this much for her:
    she can arch an eyebrow like a champ.

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  4. Actually today is Loretta's 101st birthday! We've had many tributes over the last year to honor her 77 year career in Hollywood & have an event at the Alex Theatre in LA January 30. She was my beloved mother-in-law and a truly remarkable person. I'm sorry to read that you loathe her - had you met her, I think she might have changed your mind! :-) No, she wasn't a hypocrite, nor was she a goody two shoes, yes, the swear box was real and it raised a lot of money for charity! Much of what is said about her is not accurate, we'll be sharing her story later this year in a bio-pic... when people finally understand the circumstances of LY's situation, it will bring honor to both Loretta and Judy's lives. Thanks for the opportunity to share a bit more about them here. Visit our LY FB page for more background, anytime! Sincerely, Linda Lewis

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    1. Oh, Mrs. Lewis, you not only catch me out in an error - I simply can't get used to the idea of this being 2014 - you expose me for something of a fraud...

      I don't really, you see, have anything all that much against Miss Young - whose professional dedication and public spiritedness are well-attested even by those put off by her almost equally widely reported perfectionism and occasional imperiousness.

      One could argue that with the career she had, in fact, a little imperiousness was well earned.

      No, my occasional sniping over the years is mostly raillery meant to poke a little fun at one of Hollywood's glossiest legends - one who until TCM reminded the world of the remarkable work she did before censorship clamped down in the mid-'30s was remembered too much, perhaps, for some of her weaker, or at least more superficial, work.

      In any case, we will all be watching for what comes next in regard to the lady and her life, and I'm terribly glad you stopped by...

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    2. Kind sir, I apologize in advance for this long reply, your thoughtful answer calls for a bit of the 'back story' - LY agreed with you 100% - she knew she was playing weak, superficial characters. She said, after pouring your heart & soul into a role if the reviewer raved about your cheekbones or wardrobe, it was frustrating. She fought the studio heads for better roles, but it was difficult. She was a work horse - making 77 films by the time she was 35 & later in life, she was dismissive about most of them. However, she loved her industry & worked hard to master every aspect of the process. She finished over 100 motion pictures before moving to TV in 1952! She wanted control of her roles & career decisions & knew TV was the answer. She was the first Oscar winner to create her own TV series,she brought film experience to television, setting new standards (5 Emmys). The Loretta Young Show (287 episodes) was an anthology series - she played a different character in each in order to stretch as an actress. NBC aired LYS for 9 years... was LY a perfectionist? Yes - how else would she have sustained? Imperious? She probably came across as a diva from time to time, LOL. But I can tell you - she laughed at herself, was kind, considerate, flexible, funny, a mentor, friend and an awesome mother-in-law. As for the story of her 'love affair' with Clark Gable - ask people to think about what they've read and heard - does the story make sense? Why would LY risk losing everything in order to keep her baby if it wasn't for a fierce love? Imagine that 22-year old girl taking a stand to have Judy & raise her alone! Did Loretta make mistakes, yes, of course & she paid a heavy price but she loved Judy very much & tried to protect her from more pain. LY & Judy had a strong bond most of their lives - Judy's book caused a rift, but they reconciled before LY died. Judy she was a remarkable woman and a dear sister-in-law & I miss them both very much. I hope this sheds some light - thanks again for the opportunity to engage in the exchange! Linda

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    3. Thank you, ma'am, for a lovely reminder of the reality behind the stars about whom we sometimes wax too glib. A joy of blogging is hearing from contributors like you and all the Gentle Readers who become part of the conversation...

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  5. If it means anything, Jean Louis once confided in me that you had the better figure once upon a time.

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  6. judy's book was not a love fest to her mother.

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