Saturday, December 31, 2011

Some Thoughts on the Passing of -- Judy Lewis?

Judy Lewis died a few weeks ago at the age of 76.  Her death prompts a question I’ll get to in a moment.
You probably never heard of Judy Lewis.
She was a lovely young woman, and lovely as she aged.   

She had an off-and-on television acting career, her longest-lasting role being on the soap opera The Secret Storm in the late 60’s and early 70’s.  She had small roles in other series and occasionally guest-starred on others.  After leaving acting, she got a master’s degree in clinical psychology.  She became a licensed family and child counselor and eventually practiced as a psychotherapist specializing in foster care and marriage therapy. 
I don’t know whether she was a good actress, counselor, or psychotherapist.   I don’t recall ever having seen her perform. 
But I do know this:
Her mother was Loretta Young.

And her father was Clark Gable.


Which is more than Judy knew until she was 23.

Gable, 33, was married to someone.  Young was very young (22), and unmarried, and Catholic.  They were co-starring in “The Call of the Wild.”  Gable was the biggest star in Hollywood, and Young was already a star in her own right.  Both among the most beautiful people in the world.   

Clark Gable and Loretta Young in "Call of the Wild" (1935)
Abortion was out of the question for the (sometimes) devout and very public Catholic Loretta. 

But also out of the question for each of them and for Twentieth Century (this was the last film made at that studio before the merger with Fox) – in those days – was the ruination of both of their careers.   So here’s what happened:

Loretta traveled to Europe to hide the pregnancy.  She returned to California to give birth to Judy, who was immediately placed in a series of homes.  Then Loretta announced that she had fallen in love with an orphaned child and was going to “adopt” her – nineteenth months later.   Loretta later married producer Tom Lewis and Judy took that name. 

The little girl had very large ears.  To dampen speculation that Gable was Judy’s pop, Loretta had the child undergo an operation when she was seven to bring them closer to her head. 
Loretta frequently dressed little Judy in bonnets
to hide her Gable-like ears
She needn’t have bothered.  The cirumstances of Judy’s birth were an open secret in Hollywood.  But Loretta never told Judy, nor did anyone else.  Gable never acknowledged her (although he met her once when she was 15, spoke to her briefly, and kissed her on the forehead without admitting a thing) and never had another child until a son born after he died.  Judy didn’t discover the truth until her fiance told her when she was 23.   But Loretta refused to admit her father's identity until eight years later.  When Judy confronted her with a demand for the truth – when she was 31 -- Loretta threw up, asking tearfully how she could admit to a mortal sin.
As you might imagine, this was very traumatic to the young adult Judy.  She grew up  not knowing who her parents were, and worse, falsely believing they were some unknown couple.  She wrote a book about it called Uncommon Knowledge.  She became estranged from Loretta.  Loretta died in 2000 and in a posthumously published autobiography finally admitted that Gable was Judy’s father.
Now, as it turned out, Judy did all right for herself; no telling what it would have been like – in those days – had the truth been publicly acknowledged. 
But Judy Lewis’s story prompts a question.
One doesn’t have to approve of our times’ casual acceptance of out-of-wedlock births  to wonder which is better:   To have grown up like Judy Lewis in a time when the circumstances of her birth were regarded as scandalous, or to grow up knowing one’s parents, whether married or not, together or not?   To grow up the victim of a series of lies to protect public morality, or to redefine morality in a way that lets a child grow up without those lies?
I guess that’s two questions.
I’m not going to thrash you with my views on the sexual revolution.  OK, I’ll thrash you with them enough to say I don’t think it was a good thing.  Surely, though, a morality or a religious belief (however extreme or misguided) that results in what happened to Judy Lewis is in need of some adjustment.
Happy New Year to you all, and Judy Lewis, RIP.
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12 comments:

  1. The decision to tell a child, adopted or not, "everything" also carries to the birthparents. My oldest daughter's birth father refuses to acknowledge her because he has since married and has 2 other children. He does not want them to know about their sister. What a terrible tragedy...not only for his other children, but especially for him and my daughter. She was devastated by his abandonment yet one more time and he is missing out on knowing a really beautiful young woman. Why is it that some people are so afraid of the truth? The "sexual revolution" was supposed to do away with the guilt of having out of wedlock children, yet it hasn't. Abortion flourishes, partly as a "convenience" to couples, but also to mask shame. Have we not learned anything as a culture?
    Vicki Olson

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    1. My Father had two favorites Loretta Young & Mae West He lusted for Mae West but he absolutely loved Loretta Young. The story above was beautiful & I was not aware that this Lady was Loretta & Clark's Daughter. Thank You.

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  2. Dear Vicki,
    At the young age of 56 I don't know my biological father at all,in name or face.This leaves me with many questions.My mother has passed and I still have so many questions.Thinking perhaps how my life could have been so much different and wondering if he knew.I always knew I was different in looks blonde with blue eyes and never seemed to fit in. I am me and I am a good person. We both missed out on so much.

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    1. Um, and who is Vicky..?

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  3. Troubled souls like those who are commenting on this topic here as well as poor Judy Lewis herself have to pay the price for the 'mortal sins' of mothers who make mistakes.

    Reality of the fact is, this is the consequence of adultery and more than just the mother, the innocent children have to pay a life long price of feeling inadequate in their core identities due to the lack of a father or his love thereof.

    Simple lesson: don't have babies out of wedlock. If you do, then live with the heartache.

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    1. mistakes? Typing $0.60 instead of the $0.70 is a mistake. Being a skank, spreading your legs open for any Joe shmoe and popping out a kid and then lying to the kid is no mistake. That is deliberate and premeditated. it has to be said!

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  4. Bottom Line, Women: if your legs are open, chances are guys are going to take advantage of it.

    and leave when their done.

    Your child pays the price for it.

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  5. How painful that must have been for Clark Gable, respecting the situation, and keeping mum for the sake of Loretta Young, and his wife. So sad!! His only child in his living life, and not even one single embrace. As for the comments on how tis came to be....just shut it!!

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    1. painful to Gable? HAHAHA!!! According to Loretta Young, he met the kid Judy Lewis, and like a typical male, couldn't have cared less. Whether she was lying to him or telling the truth he could not care less and so kid was out of his mind as as he went on sleeping his way through Hollywood and cheating on his wife... Besides she (LY) later claimed that she was raped. You figure it out but don't tell anyone to shut it you made your control freak, and good luck with your whole controlling the internet pursuit, you utter idiot.

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  6. there is no proof whatsoever that she was Clark Gable's kid. Take a look at all the photos of Loretta Young, you will see that her ears are hidden in every single film and every single photo. We cannot see her ears. Chances are she had ears that stick out to. Also Clark Gable had tons of reconstructive plastic surgery on his nose, bros, chin, eyes and cheekbone implants.

    There is no way taking a look at this elderly woman, Judy Lewis, then in taking a look at C Gable that you can say they look alike because everybody had cheek implants back then (and that includes Loretta Young and Judy Lewis.) At least in the movies.

    You need to take a look at the photos were Clark Gable was very ugly. Prior to the 1930s when he had extensive facial reconstruction. Then you will admit: there is absolutely no resemblance to this woman, Judy Lewis! Loretta Young Oughtought to have gone to Maury Povich Who's your father now.

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    1. I am now watching Play Girl from 1932 with Loretta Young. They're just was a scene where she pulls her hair back and you can see her right ear sticks out just like Clark Gable's! So I do not believe that she was Clark Gable's kid there's absolutely no proof. Sorry for all the typos this thing autocorrects and when I correct the autocorrect it recorrects itself, sorry about that.

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  7. Well . . . she was conceived during a not-short period of time when Clark and Loretta were flinging on "Call of the Wild." Not a single authority I have seen doubts that she is Gable's biological daughter. And she looks like him.

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