Family of Loretta Young claim she was raped by Clark Gable

Loretta Young was one of the most beautiful actresses to have ever lived, but according to her family, she died with a terrible secret.

In 1935, Young was working on Call of the Wild with Clark Gable who was married to his second wife Maria 'Ria' Franklin Prentiss Lucas Langham.

The pair became close during filming and shortly after the film wrapped, Young discovered she was pregnant.

The actress went to great lengths to cover it up.

Before her death, the paternity of her daughter Judy became public, however until now the real story behind the circumstances of the pregnancy have only just surfaced.

According to Young’s daughter-in-law Linda Lewis, the actress was a devout Catholic with a strong sense of right and wrong.

Ms Lewis claimed the pregnancy was a result of a rape at the hands of Clark Gable.

Clark Gable and Judy Lewis.
Clark Gable and Judy Lewis.

She told Buzzfeed the revelation came while watching an episode of Larry King Live, where the topic was discussed.

She said Young, who was 85 at the time, asked Lewis to explain to her what date rape meant.

When she heard her reply, Young responded: 'That’s what happened between me and Clark.'

Lewis told Buzzfeed she was horrified, but said Young’s priority was to protect Judy.

That same fear kept the family quiet well after Judy’s death in 2011 at 78-years-old.

However, Ms Lewis and her husband Chris, Loretta Young’s son with her second husband Tom, decided to go public.

“Judy is not here to be hurt by this,” Ms Lewis told Buzzfeed.

Judy Lewis in 1977. Photo: Photofest
Judy Lewis in 1977. Photo: Photofest

“And that’s what Loretta really wanted to avoid — because who doesn’t want to be conceived in love?”

Loretta Young was considered one of Hollywood’s brightest stars when she met Gable in 1935.

Lewis said Young was prone to ‘falling a little bit in love’ with her co-stars, and she did spent time flirting with Gable on set.

However, she remained a strict Catholic who was badly hurt after divorcing her first husband.

It’s believed she never succumbed to advances from her co-stars.

That changed on a train, as Lewis tells it, where Gable and Young were given separate compartments.

Somewhere between Seattle and Los Angeles Gable came into her compartment and a month later Young discovered she was pregnant.

What followed was one of the most elaborate cover-ups in Hollywood history.

Young broke the news of Judy’s birth to Gable in a telegram which read: 'BEAUTIFUL, BLUE-EYED, BLOND BABY GIRL BORN, 8:15 THIS MORNING'.

Loretta Young and Judy Lewis. Photo: Everett Collection
Loretta Young and Judy Lewis. Photo: Everett Collection

Gable wasn’t named on the birth certificate and never had any real involvement in Judy’s life.

Despite her efforts to hide the secret, Young told her daughter the truth when she was 23. Gable had, by this point, died aged 59 ten days after suffering a heart attack.

However Judy never discovered the real circumstances behind her conception – something Ms Lewis agreed to discuss following a spate of high profile historic rape cases.

“I realised that it’s almost every day,” she told Buzzfeed.

“All these rapes, and the men just keep getting away with it.”