Loretta Young (1913-1987)
- Heather Angel, Berkeley Square, 1932. "I don't know why I didn't get that onebecause I was marvellous in the test and it was for my studio. I only made three tests. Two,I did not get."
- Madge Evans, Helldorado, 1933. The passionate affair of Loretta and Spencer Tracy that started a year earlier during A Man's Castle had run its course. Therefore, she rejected a Fox offer to co-star with him again.No,no,. she had no wish to “start the whole thing over again.”Nor did he; he never turned up for work, was replaced by Richard Arlen, and it was days before Fox found Tracy.And forgave him!
- Joan Crawford, Forsaking All Others,1933. About two pals and the gal one left standing at the altar... Yes, you’re right, another Clark Gable and Best Pal movie. After Miriam Hopkins, Loretta Young (a Gable favourite) was next in line before Crawford made the rom-com. Joan was Gable’s greater favourite, his on-off lover during 30 years and their various marriages.
- Madeleine Carroll, Lloyds of London, 1935. Booked for Lady Elizabeth, Young got into a snit about all the film’s emphasis being switched to Tyrone Power’s first starring role. Leading ladies hate it when their leading men are prettier than they are. Young shot off on a Hawaiian health cure… which she needed when finding out that Fox had suspended her.
- Annabella, The Baroness and the Butler, 1937. Young and Warner Baxter were were frogmarched from this sophisticated fun to Wife, Doctor and Nurse - allowing Powell to buttle anew (he had been My Man Godfrey) while introducing the adorable Annabella to US audiences.
- Vivien Leigh, Gone With The Wind, 1938.
- Constance Bennett, Tail Spin, 1938. The most beautiful of the Bennett girls succeeded first choice Young as the socialite busy with flying, parachuting, love affairs and a cross-country aerial derby with rival Alice Faye. Guys? There were guys? Dunno as the gals (including Nancy Kelly and Joan Davis) stole the entire movie.
- Joan Fontaine, Rebecca, 1939.
- Rosalind Russell, This Thing Called Love, 1940. Plan A, George Stevens directing Young as a new bride insisting on three months of celibacy in a Herman J Mankiewicz script became Plan B. Russell ruling hubby Melvyn Douglas in a different script helmed by Alexander Hall. F Scott Fitzgerald attended the Hollywood premiere - and died the next day, December 21, 1940. Says it all.
- Ruth Hussey, Our Wife, 1940. Columbia bought the play in 1937 for a 1938 production starring Cary Grant and Jean Arthur (or Young or Rita Hayworth). Two years on, the couple became Hussey (loaned from MGM) and Melvyn Douglas. Not the same lightness, at all.
- Merle Oberon, Affectionately Yours, 1940. Warners was trying to borrow Young from Fox when her intended husband, Errol Flynn, passed the global lothario to Dennis Morgan - wed to Oberon, chased by Rita Hayworth.
- Ona Munson, The Shanghai Gesture, 1941. Even with Josef von Sternberg driving, this was a censored vehicle about drugs, nymphomania and prostitution. In something of a bad joke, the famously pure Young was offered the rôle of casino boss Madame Gin Sing… who was Mother Goddamn on Broadway and ran a brothel. New York Times critic Bosley Crowther found the film “so very badly acted in every leading role but one that its single redeeming feature is that it finally becomes laughable.”
- Dorothy McGuire, Claudia, 1943. Another disappointment for Gretchen Michaela Young, the prim and puritanically proper Catholic (she fined fellow actors for swearing on set) who hid the "scandal" of having (and adopting) a daughter after sleeping with Clark Gable on the train home from the locations of Call of the Wild, 1935. The daughter, Judy Lewis, was told the truth at age… 31.
- Linda Darnell, The Song of Bernadette, 1943.
In the story of the French girl who had a vision of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes in 1858…. Who should portray her actual vision? The Roman Catholic furore doubled about the project doubled when the saintly Young was dropped for sexy Linda Darnell. And worse, Darnell was pregnant. As if the Virgin Mary never had been. Or Loretta... All Hollywood (and years later, all America) knew about her daughter, Judy, from a Clark Gable affair. Darnell was a controversial choice as her reputation was hot, to say the least. Franz Werfel, author of book being filmed, threatened to remove his name, and support, from the enterprise. Head Fox Darryl Zanuck said OK, an unknown would have the role. He lied. Darnell was The Lady. In a bright light. Making her anonymous.
- Jane Wyman, Magic Town, 1946. After Janet Blair and Arleen Whelan, Young won Mary Peterman, in Grandview - the perfect mirror-image town of mid-American values says opinion-pollster James Stewart. Director Wild Bill Wellman finally borrowed] Wyman from Warner when The Steel Butterfly fell ill. If ever a film needed Frank Capra...
- Jane Wyman, Magnificent Obsession, 1954. Universal wanted a repeat of director Joseph Pevney's previous teaming of Young-John Forsythe from It Happens Every Thursday. Loretta refused a re-make (and quit movies for TV). Pevney withdrew and Douglas Sirk made Rock Hudson a star.
- Deborah Kerr, The Innocents, 1960. There was talk about Young coming back in her first cinema film since 1952 - as the sexually repressed governess of the kiddies in this version of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw. Then again, sex and indeed, screw, were not in Saint Loretta’s lexicon. Or not on-screenn, anyway.
- Olivia de Havilland, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, 1963. A Baby Jane reunion of Joan Crawford and Bette Davis collapsed like Crawford - she was immediately hospitalised. (She later admitted to director chum, Vincent Sherman: “I'm not sick. I just couldn't stand working another minute with that Bette Davis.”) Director Robert Aldrich phoned Katharine Hepburn, Vivien Leigh… while Loretta simply fled. “I wouldn’t play a part like that if I were starving.”
- Katharine Hepburn, Rooster Cogburn, 1974. If well enough to reprise his Oscar-winning True Grit marshal, John Wayne wanted Ingrid Bergman as Eula Goodnight, no less. Producer Hal Wallis shortlisted Bette Davis, Maureen O’Hara (obviously!). Plus true Brits Glenda Jackson, Vanessa Redgrave, Maggie Smith. But he rejected any comeback for Loretta Young - Mike Wayne’s Godmother and friend of the family. Then, Duke suggested the less elderly Mary Tyler Moore. Hepburn won because the script by ex-Duke co-star Martha Hyer (Mrs Wallis, credited as Martin Julien) was a flagrant rehash of Kate’s African Queen - and as pathetic as director Stuart Miller. It was his second feature. The “6ft 6ins somafabitch no-talent, ” as Duke termed him, never made a third.