Secret Daughter: Heartbreaking Story Of Clark Gable And Loretta Young's Unacknowledged Love Child


Secret Daughter: Heartbreaking Story Of Clark Gable And Loretta Young's Unacknowledged Love Child

As far as Hollywood scandals go, stars Clark Gable and Loretta Young had one of the most unusual and messy. These two had an affair and a love child they never acknowledged.

Affair with Clark Gable

Gable and his Call of the Wild co-star had a fling in the 1930s that resulted in a pregnancy. He was married at the time and she wasn’t. But for her, it was worse. The scandal of an illegitimate child would have meant the end of her career in Hollywood, especially because she was famous for being a pious Catholic.

Young did the only thing she could think off. She disappeared for a while, had her daughter Judy Lewis, and later made a show of adopting the baby.

Open secret

For years, this story was Hollywood’s most guarded open secret. Lewis obviously looked like Clark Gable. She had his slow eyes and large ears. The tabloids kept talking, but Loretta Young refused to admit the truth about her daughter’s birth.


In her memoir, Uncommon Knowledge, Lewis opened up about having to undergo surgery as a schoolgirl to reduce the size of the ears she inherited from Clark Gable because she kept getting teased about them. Her bullies called her ‘Dumbo’.

It was only after she turned 31 and confronted the Oscar-winning actress that she got to know the truth.

A chance meeting with her father

Judy Lewis was raised by her mother’s husband, radio producer Tom Lewis. And only got to meet her dad in the strangest of encounters.

As a schoolgirl, she’d returned one afternoon to find him in their home. 

He looked at me and said: ‘You must be Judy’. I said: ‘And you’re Mr. Gable, aren’t you?’ We laughed, and he stayed and talked for maybe half an hour. When he got up to go, I walked him to the door and he took my face in his hands and kissed me on the forehead. I had no idea why he was showing me so much affection.

That was his ‘goodbye’ to her. They never met again. For years until her own death in 2011, she would cry while watching Clark Gable’s scenes with his onscreen daughter in Gone With the Wind.

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