Old Hollywood’s Greatest Scandal

Movie star Clark Gable had an amazing string of paramours in his life, but one tryst was elaborately covered up from 1935 until the year 2000. Today it’s common knowledge that actress Loretta Young gave birth to Gable’s daughter, who didn’t even know who her own parents were until she was an adult. Not long before her death, Young realized that she had been the victim of what we now call date rape.

Young loved to watch Larry King Live, which is most likely what prompted her to first ask her friend, frequent houseguest, and would-be biographer, Edward Funk, and then her daughter-in-law, Linda Lewis, to explain the term “date rape.” As Lewis recalled from her Jensen Beach, Florida, home this April, sitting next to her husband, Chris — Young’s second born — and flanked by Young’s Oscar and Golden Globe, it took a tact to explain, in language that an 85-year-old could understand, what “date rape” meant. “I did the best I could to make her understand,” Lewis said. “You have to remember, this was a very proper lady.”

When Lewis was finished describing the act, Young’s response was a revelation: “That’s what happened between me and Clark.”

The two actors met when they filmed The Call of the Wild in 1935. Gable was married at the time and Young was heartbroken that Spencer Tracy would not divorce his wife for her. The only time Gable and Young were alone together was on the train ride home from the location shoot. Read the story that didn’t go public until after both Gable and Young were dead, at Buzzfeed.

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