Clark Gable's Secret Daughter Dead at 76

Judy Lewis was adopted by her biological mother in a bid to preserve the secret

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 1, 2011 9:17 AM CST

(Newser) – Judy Lewis grew up in Los Angeles, the adopted daughter of an actress mother ... who also happened to be her biological mother. Lewis, who died on Friday at age 76, has a Hollywood story littered with big names and big sadness: Born to up-and-coming actress Loretta Young in 1935, Lewis spent the first months of her life living with caretakers and in orphanages. She made her debut at 19 months as the adopted daughter of Young, who did not publicly confirm that Lewis was her actual daughter—and that the married Clark Gable was Lewis' father—until after her death in 2000, through her authorized biography.

The New York Times reports that Lewis herself didn't know the truth about her father's identity until 1958, when she told fiancé Tom Tinney, "I can’t marry you. I don’t know anything about myself." His response? "It’s common knowledge, Judy. Your father is Clark Gable." In her 1994 memoir, Lewis, who herself pursued acting, wrote that she had no idea, and says her mother didn't admit to the truth until 1966. Her mother didn't speak to her for three years after the publication of the memoir. An interesting side note: Lewis had surgery at age 7 to make her ears, which stuck out like ... Clark Gable's ... less noticeable.

Loretta Young conceived Judy Lewis while on the set on the 1935 film The Call of the Wild.  Young and Clark Gable played lovers in the film.
Loretta Young conceived Judy Lewis while on the set on the 1935 film "The Call of the Wild." Young and Clark Gable played lovers in the film.   (Getty Images)
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