Loretta Young's centennial celebrated on TCM, at Hollywood Museum
BY SUSAN KING, Los Angeles Times
January 7, 2013, 8:00 a.m.
Actress Loretta Young was no shrinking violet — a fact that often didn't sit well with her producers and studio bosses.
"She was beautiful, ethereally beautiful, and there was a delicacy to her," said her daughter-in-law Linda Lewis. "But she was stubborn when it came to what she thought was right for her. She actually mentions in one of her interviews that after a while you get tired being reviewed for your cheekbones."
"She didn't really listen to her bosses much," noted her son Chris Lewis. "When she got a part, she would go to the costume department and have a hand in how the costumes were made. She took a hand in her makeup and her hair.... She really knew what was right for her until the end."
And sticking to her guns paid off handsomely for Young.
Young, who began her career as a child extra in such films as Rudolph Valentino's "The Sheik," was a popular film star and the epitome of glamour for nearly three decades. She was playing romantic leads at 14, sexy working-class heroines in pre-code early 1930s dramas such as "Midnight Mary" and "A Man's Castle." She headlined several historical films such as "Suez" in the late 1930s and segued into more mature, challenging parts in the 1940s, including Orson Welles' "The Stranger."
After more than 20 years in the business, she finally won the lead actress Oscar for her comedic role in the 1947 hit "The Farmer's Daughter."
When Young left movies for TV at the of 40, she gained even more fans for her long-running anthology series, in which she made a grand entrance in the opening moments each week wearing a fabulous designer gown. Young was just as glamorous when she returned to TV in the 1980s after nearly 20 years in retirement to make two TV movies.
This year her son and daughter-in-law are spearheading a centennial celebration for Young, who died in 2000 at age 87. "We are so proud of mom," said Chris Lewis. "She is part of Hollywood history."
TCM has made Young its star of the month and is showing 38 of her films. Next month, the Shout! Factory is releasing a compilation of favorite episodes of her "The Loretta Young Show." And the series, which aired from 1953-61, will join the lineup of the nostalgia cable station Me-TV.
But perhaps the most extensive tribute is the Hollywood Museum exhibition "Loretta Young: Hollywood Legend," which celebrates her legacy as a movie star and fashion icon. The exhibition opens Wednesday and continues through April 29. Highlights of the exhibition, which was culled from several collections, includes costumes from such films as "The Crusades" and "Rachel and the Stranger," a personal collection of her gowns, shoes and jewelry, as well as décor from her homes in Beverly Hills and Palm Springs.