"That's What Happened Between Me and Clark"
July 12, 2015 8:38 PM   Subscribe

"The allegations of hypocrisy became the through line of her legacy. Even today — in Frank Langella’s recent memoir, on the celebrity gossip site Oh No They Didn’t, or my own piece on [Clark] Gable, published four years ago, [Loretta] Young is understood as a woman who didn’t live by her own set of publicly propagated values: a sinning saint. "Yet as Linda explained, “With Judy [her child with Gable], she was trapped. She had this lie and no way to frame it. She took full responsibility for hiding it all her life. To be stuck — so caught, in such a public way. What could she have done with that?”" - Anne Helen Petersen [previouslys] revisits Loretta Young's greatest scandal [TW for rape]
posted by cendawanita (10 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
The story of Young's pregnancy is already crazy, and though this new detail shouldn't have come as such a shock to me, it does yet somehow makes it all make so much more sense.

The piece itself is great and, though I wish it had not taken this long, I'm glad it was told this way by this person. Anne Helen Petersen is a treasure.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:01 PM on July 12, 2015 [4 favorites]

I feel like we're finally learning how to call things by their proper names. I wrote a piece about Charlie Chaplin's notoriously rapey proclivities/gruesome behavior recently and he, too, forced a woman to lie about her pregnancy and at least one or two to get an abortion. So, so terrible and even more terrible for its commonplaceness in history.
posted by mynameisluka at 9:07 PM on July 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

Poor women. Poor generations of women.

I always disliked the look of Clark Gable. His face barely looked like a face to me, just an agglomeration of features lifted from a thousand caricatures by cheap cartoonists, all smoothed together with pomade. Jack Nicholson and Kirk Douglas also have a monstrous, not-quite-human look to me.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:17 PM on July 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

Wow, that's terrifying. Poor Loretta. What a thing to live with for the rest of your life. A casual act of violence by an entitled man has repercussions for almost a century....

I don't think I'll be able to look at Gable the same way again.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 9:28 PM on July 12, 2015 [3 favorites]

I was about to post the AHP is a treasure. Jinx!
posted by k8t at 9:36 PM on July 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

I always disliked the look of Clark Gable.

Me too. I have never found him the least bit attractive physically, and more than that, there was always something about him that I found repellent. There are a handful of male actors who have always made my hackles rise whenever I see them in anything (Gable being one, and Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, and Richard Dreyfuss being some of the others). Even when they are supposed to be playing nice guys, they always give off what I call "the jerk vibe", something that makes me shudder away from them and feel that they must be assholes whom I would never want to meet in person. And then eventually the truth about such an actor's real nature comes out and it turns out my spidey sense about them is correct.

Poor Loretta Young. She carried such a heavy load all her life. It's heartbreaking that she should have had to live with everyone thinking she was a hypocrite, and to have even worked with Gable again... Christ. It is greatly to her credit that she never let it derail her. She carried on with her career, got married, raised her children, and seemingly really loved her daughter, exactly as though nothing had happened. The woman had fortitude enough for ten.
posted by orange swan at 9:43 PM on July 12, 2015 [11 favorites]

My great aunt (who played the Communist inmate in Hold Your Man) described in her memoir how Gable asked if all her hair matched.
posted by brujita at 11:16 PM on July 12, 2015

“I’ve still got my books, my thoughts, and my cigarettes.”

It's not the best thing to hear from a pregnant woman, but I love that sentence.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 6:53 AM on July 13, 2015 [4 favorites]

I read this story raptly yesterday, jaw dropped.

Weirdly, the comments over at Jezebel are pretty interesting.
posted by purpleclover at 2:08 PM on July 13, 2015

Purpleclover, you're right. The comments WERE interesting. Here was a particularly fascinating one...

This remark reminds me of a story my 94 year old grandmother told me last month while I was visiting her in Oregon.

As is the case on these visits, boxes of old family photos were opened and looked through and names and anecdotes were shared. The majority of these photos were from her childhood growing up in Missouri by the Snake River.

I noticed my great great aunt Violet appeared in very few photos, relative to the amount of photos (thousands omg). I asked my grandmother why, and she said Violet died in her late teens in an insane asylum.

I asked my grandmother what happened because outside of the run of the mill whack jobs every family has, that kind of extreme mental health issue was unheard of in our family.

My grandmother very casually explained that when Violet was in her mid teens, she was out in the forest when a bunch of local boys snuck up on her, surprised her, and told her there was a bear in the woods. She apparently never recovered from the fright, and as time passed became more and more unstable to the point she was sent to an asylum.

I was torn between taking that at face value and listening to my gut instinct, which was calling bullshit.

Now, I don’t believe my grandmother was lying about what actually happened in the woods. I just think the story my great aunt Violet told people is indicative of the limited options she had, which parallels Young’s difficulty in framing her experience during that (shitty) time period.

Maybe it was really about a fake bear, I dunno.

Regardless, I’ll always remember my great aunt Violet.

My God, that's so haunting... It reminds me of My Sweet Audrina, but it happened in real life.

posted by suburbanbeatnik at 2:14 AM on July 14, 2015 [6 favorites]

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