Judy Lewis, Clark Gable and Loretta Young's Secret Daughter, Dies at 76

12:27 PM PST 12/01/2011 by Michael O'Connell
Everett Collection

The product of the actors' "Call of the Wild" affair, Lewis enjoyed a career as an actress and producer before becoming a psychotherapist.

Judy Lewis was Hollywood royalty for 31 years without ever knowing it.

The former actress, who died of lymphoma on Nov. 25 at 76 years old, was the center of one of the most famous pregnancy cover-ups to ever come to light.

STORY: Judy Lewis, One of Hollywood's Best Kept Secrets

Her mother, Loretta Young, and her father, Clark Cable, conceived her while filing the hit 1935 adaptation of Jack London's The Call of the Wild. Young, a devout Catholic, didn't want to give the child up or be outed for her affair with the then-married Gable. She went into hiding, and upon Lewis' birth, put her in an orphanage.

Nearly two years later, Young adopted her own daughter, never telling her about her true parentage.

Still, rumors swirled about Young's real identity, and her mother reportedly dressed her in her bonnet to hide her large ears that resembled Gable's.

Lewis confronted her mother when she was 31 years old, when the actress finally confessed, but Young never acknowledged the truth publicly until her official biography, Forever Young, which was released after her death.

Outside the shadow of her scandalous origins, Lewis enjoyed a career as an actress, appearing on stage and in daytime fare such as General Hospital, The Doctors and The Secret Storm. She produced Another World spin-off Texas and wrote for NBC's Search For Tomorrow.

PHOTOS: Hollywood's Notable Deaths

Later in life she became a licensed family and child counselor and worked as a psychotherapist in her native Los Angeles, before ultimately settling in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania.

She briefly revisited her acting career in 2009 with an appearance in the direct-to-DVD release Sarah's Choice.

Lewis wrote about the revelations of her true identity in the 1994 book Uncommon Knowledge. It prompted a three-year rift between her and her mother, though the two were on speaking terms at the time of Young's death in 2000.

comments powered by Disqus