The Loretta Young Trilogy

- By Edward J. Funk

Loretta Young kept her thoughts to herself -- until she met me. She shared so much - it takes three brand new books to tell her story.

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Behind the Door: the Real Story of Loretta Young

Loretta Young: Luminous Beauty. Movie Star. She went from '20s late silents, to early '30s Warner Brothers Depression heroine, to late '30s Twentieth Century Fox's leading glamour-star. Her peak movie stardom came in the late '40s. Then in the '50s, she waltzed though a door wearing a glamorous gown to introduce that week's episode of "The Loretta Young Show". Today, her name is connected to a "secret baby" fathered by Clark Gable. And, wasn't there something about Spencer Tracy and Tyrone Power? This book investigates all the above but so much more. This is the personal story of a woman. who happened to be a movie star, the major focus being on her relationships with the most important people in her life.


  • Salt Lake City: Five-year old Polly Ann holds eighteen-month old Gretchen (Loretta) with three-year-old Betty Jane (Sally) at her side.

    From the Salvador Iglesias Collection. Permission to use from the Loretta Young estate.

  • Tom and Loretta's wedding day. The following morning, while traveling to Mexico for their honeymoon, Loretta looked at her new husband and wondered, "Do I even know this man?"

    From the Salvador Iglesias Collection. Permission to use from the Loretta Young estate.

  • Loretta wearing fan-pleasing haute couture during her television years.

    From the Salvador Iglesias Collection. Permission to use from the Loretta Young estate.

  • Loretta, "I picked up the phone. Mrs. Gable said, 'This is very presumptuous of me, but you may or may not know that there are rumors flying around town about you and my husband.'"

  • I had to tell him that I was pregnant. His look toward me was one of total exasperation."
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Loretta and Me

Ironically, this is the book that Loretta Young wanted me to write. She was unwilling to author a first person biography, feeling too vulnerable in that light. Her idea was to charm me and then I'd write a book based on my impressions of her. This is that book... but not exactly as Loretta might have envisioned it. She did charm me but, over time, she also recognized my candor. One day a friend of hers asked my opinion. Loretta quickly interjected, "Be careful. He'll tell exactly what he thinks." So, although I grew very fond of Loretta over the last decade of her life, this is exactly what I think.

I served as Loretta's escort on many occasions with the rich and famous and even sailed with Loretta and Jean Louis, her last husband, on a cruise. One evening she told me that I was her best friend.

  • Loretta and Me. Loretta gave me this picture for Christmas, 1990.

    Permission to use from the Loretta Young estate.

  • Loretta in Palm Springs. No air-brushing; this is how she really looked in her mid-eighties.

    From the Salvador Iglesias Collection. Permission to use from Manuel Saleta.

  • Me photographed with Loretta's Oscar. I wouldn't have been such a fruitcake had Loretta been in the room. Note the portrait on the wall. It is the one described by Loretta in "Behind the Door: the Real Life of Loretta Young" as capturing the fragility of her life at the time.

    Permission to use from William Berens.

  • Stuart Whitman quoting director William Wellman, "No one in Hollywood broke more hearts than that little Catholic girl, Loretta Young."

  • People continue to tell me I'm beautiful, but I knew when I was beautiful, and I know what I look like today, and I know the difference."
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Eavesdropping: Loretta Young Talks about her Movie Years

In the concurrent book, "Behind the Door: the Real Life of Loretta Young", I delve into a select few of Loretta Young's ninety-eight films; enough to know she was a major movie star and her battles to get there and would remain for the next twenty-five years. Yet, Loretta and I had discussed ninety- one of her films and that left so much material behind. This was in 1990 and since then, voices able to recall a career from the silent era, through the golden years of film, have been extinguished. Loretta's not just any voice; she tells us from a star's perspective, an accomplished Academy Award winning actress, and an exquisite beauty. She discusses the actors, the directors, the producers, the clothes (and more clothes!), what she learned about acting, her innumerable "crushes" on her leading men, her reputation for being "difficult", the roles she wanted, the roles she didn't. It's eighty thousand words of memories, a discussion of which, hopefully, classic film buffs will enjoy eavesdropping.



  • On a break on the set of "The Loretta Young Show" with the star seated in profile. The episode was titled, "The Hollywood Story" and it first aired on January 31,1954.

    From the Salvador Iglesias Collection. Permission to use from the Loretta Young estate.

  • Loretta in character as Queen Nefertiti for "The Loretta Young Show"

    From the Salvador Iglesias Collection. Permission to use from the Loretta Young estate.

  • A "Walking through the Door" dress

    From the Salvador Iglesias Collection. Permission to use from the Loretta Young estate.

  • I don't know what it means, "acting like a movie star." Because I'm not acting like a movie star... I am a movie star."

  • If you did everything you were supposed to do, they would walk all over you, and you'd be a piece of putty, and that's what would show on the screen.... a piece of putty."
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