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Loretta Young

Real name: Gretchen Michaela Young
Birthdate: January 6, 1913
Status: Married
Partner: Jean Louis

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Biography

She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah as Gretchen Young (she took the name Michaela at confirmation) she moved with her family to Hollywood when she was three years old. Loretta and her sisters Polly Ann Young and Elizabeth Jane Young (screen name Sally Blane) worked as child actresses, of whom Loretta was the most successful. Young's first role was at age 3 in the silent film The Primrose Ring. The movie's star Mae Murray so fell in love with little Gretchen that she wanted to adopt her. Although her mother declined, Gretchen was allowed to live with Murray for two years. Her half-sister Georgiana (daughter of her mother and stepfather George Belzer) eventually married actor Ricardo Montalban. During her high school years, she was educated at Ramona Convent Secondary School.

She was billed as "Gretchen Young" in the 1917 film, Sirens of the Sea. It wasn't until 1928 that she was first billed as "Loretta Young", in The Whip Woman. That same year she co-starred with Lon Chaney in the MGM film Laugh, Clown, Laugh.The next year, she was anointed one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars.

Young made as many as seven or eight movies a year and won an Oscar in 1947 for her performance in The Farmer's Daughter. The same year she co-starred with Cary Grant and David Niven in The Bishop's Wife, a perennial favorite that still airs on television during the Christmas season and was later remade as The Preacher's Wife with Whitney Houston. In 1949, Young received another Academy Award nomination (for Come to the Stable) and in 1953 appeared in her last film, It Happens Every Thursday.

The program, which earned her three Emmys, began with the premise that each drama was an answer to a question asked in her fan mail; the program's original title was Letter to Loretta. The title was changed to The Loretta Young Show during the first season, and the "letter" concept was dropped altogether at the end of the second season. At this time, Young's health required that there be a number of guest hosts and guest stars; her first appearance in the 1955-56 season was for the Christmas show. From this point on, Young appeared in only about half of each season's shows as an actress and merely functioned as the program host for the remainder. This program, minus Young's introductions and summarized conclusions, was rerun in daytime by NBC from 1960 to 1964 and also appeared, again without the introductions and conclusions, in syndication.

Young died at 87 from ovarian cancer at the Santa Monica, California home of her half-sister, Georgiana Montalban, and was interred in the family plot 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 another for television, at 6141 Hollywood Blvd.



 


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