LORETTA YOUNG: An Extraordinary Life by Joe & Edward Z. Epstein Morella

LORETTA YOUNG: An Extraordinary Life

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Undistinguished celebrity bio. Even Young, whose best films measure only a handful out of 90 features, doesn't deserve quite this vapid a career skim. Born in Salt Lake City, she was raised in Hollywood. At three, she and her siblings and mother were abandoned by her father, who walked out one day and never returned. Loretta later attributed this to amnesia. As a child she played kid extras. Star Mae Murray was so taken with the beautiful child that she had Loretta live with her, take ballet lessons and be groomed for stardom. Later, Loretta spent a year in a convent--which perhaps is the origin of her sobriquets ""The Steel Butterfly"" and ""The Iron Madonna"" and ""a chocolate-covered black widow spider."" She's also been called ""a saint"" for her extensive work with charities. She often starred with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., married young, was divorced before she was 21. She made film after moderate film until her first big hit, House of Rothchild. A year later, in 1935, she had another hit with Clark Cable, Call of the Wild and was rumored to have had a child by Gable, which she laughs off. Her biggest dud was with Gary Grant, Born To Be Bad, but one of her biggest financial successes was also with him, The Bishop's Wife. A devout Catholic, her longtime marriage to broadcasting executive Tom Lewis eventually faded while Loretta's star was reborn on television. Readable but not a stylish word throughout.

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1986
Publisher: Delacorte