Judy Lewis, the secretly-born daughter of Loretta Young and Clark Gable, died six days ago at age 76. Young refused to admit to Lewis, whose last name came from Young’s husband, Tom Lewis, that her father was Gable until 1986, when Lewis was 50 or 51 and Young was 73.
(l.) Judy Lewis, (center) Clark Gable, (r.) Loretta Young.
Lewis was conceived during the making of Call of The Wild, when Young was 22 and Gable, married to Maria Langham, was 34. Lewis was quietly born and sent away to caregivers, and then “adopted” by Young when she was two or thereabouts.
The big giveaway were Lewis’s big ears, which closely resembled her father’s. Her hair always covered them in photos, or at least the ones I’ve been able to find.
Young, a devout Catholic, felt ashamed for having broken the church’s commandment about having a child out of wedlock. It was more important to her to dodge that shame and her fears of condemnation and damnation than to accept what happened and level with her daughter and raise her honestly and supportively without any buried feelings or guilt. Lewis’s book, “Uncommon Knowledge“, portrayed Young as the worst kind of uptight, self-denying hypocrite.