Loretta Young (January 6, 1913 — August 12, 2000) was an American actress.
Born Gretchen Michaela Young in Salt Lake City, Utah, she moved with her family to Hollywood when she was three years old. Her sisters, Polly Ann Young and Elizabeth Jane Young (screen name Sally Blane) appeared in child parts in movies, and young Gretchen did the same. Her first role was at age 4 in the silent film The Primrose Ring. The movie's star, Mae Murray, so fell in love with little Gretchen that she asked to adopt her. Even though her mother said no, Gretchen was allowed to live with Murray for two years. Her half-sister Georgiana (daughter of her mother and step-father George Belzer) eventually married actor Ricardo Montalban.
She was billed as Gretchen Young in her next film, also in 1917, Sirens of the Sea. It was not until 1928 that she first had her Loretta Young billing, in The Whip Woman. The next year, she was anointed one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars.
In 1930, Young, then only seventeen, ran off with 26-year-old actor Grant Withers and married him in Yuma, Arizona. (They had acted together in The Second Floor Mystery.) The marriage was annulled the next year, just as their second movie together, ironically called Too Young to Marry, came out.
In 1934, Young had an affair with Clark Gable, and became pregnant. She and her mother moved to Europe, returning with a daughter. They told the whole world that the little girl had been adopted. The daughter herself, known as Judy Lewis (she took Young's second husband's last name), did not know the true story until she herself was an adult.
Young made several movies, working on as many as seven or eight a year. But although she was receiving fan and critical appreciation, it wasn't until 1947 that she received her first Oscar nomination -- and win -- for The Farmer's Daughter. The same year she starred in The Bishop's Wife, a perennial favorite that still airs on television during the Christmas season.
In 1949, she received another Academy Award nomination, for Come to the Stable. In 1953 she made her last movie, It Happens Every Thursday. Instead, she moved to television, where she hosted and starred in the well-received anthology series The Loretta Young Show. Her trademark at the beginning of each show was to appear dramatically in a doorway, dressed in the latest of high fashion evening gowns.
She died of ovarian cancer in 2000 at the age of 87 and was interred in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.
Young has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; one for motion pictures at 6104 Hollywood Blvd. and one for television at 6141 Hollywood Blvd.