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Uncommon Knowledge Hardcover – May 1, 1994

4.5 out of 5 stars 111 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Born in 1935, Lewis was a mother herself when she learned what her friends and acquaintances already knew--that she was the offspring of a single mother and a married father. Her parents were Loretta Young and Clark Gable. Young, fearing that her daughter's birth would ruin two movie careers, staged an adoption to cover up what she regarded as her most grievous mortal sin. In this absorbing memoir Lewis writes without self-pity of her unfulfilled relationship with both parents; she met Gable only once, when she was 15; her account of that event is the book's most poignant scene, because she was unaware that he was her father. She is frank about her mother's "imperfections and sometimes difficult personality," a gentle way of characterizing Young, whom she shows to be humorless and narcissistic and whose career was second only to her Catholic faith in importance. When Lewis launched her own acting career on Broadway in the '50s soaps, her mother disapproved. Their increasingly strained relationship ruptured in 1966 when Young refused to attend her granddaughter's wedding. "It all came pouring out--all the years of hurt and abandonment, all the feelings of not belonging, of being an outsider in my own family." Mother and daughter remain estranged. This tell-all memoir is an affecting account of family failure and only incidentally about celebrities and Hollywood. Photos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

For 23 years Judy Lewis lived as the adopted daughter of Loretta Young. Now in her mid-50s, she reveals that she is the natural child of Young and Clark Gable. Young and Gable became lovers in 1935 while costarring in Call of the Wild. Gable was married and Young divorced, though still in her early twenties. When Young and her mother told Gable that she was pregnant, he offered little help. To understand the bizarre nature of what ensued, one must know that Loretta Young's family had a history of drinking fathers who abandoned their families. The actress and her mother saw men as no good. Loretta, a childhood convert to Catholicism, viewed God himself as her absent father. Pregnant, she would have to live with her ``mortal sin''--abortion was no option. While filming The Crusades for Cecil B. De Mille, Young kept her fetus hidden under secret straps. Judy Lewis was born at home, just as the milkman arrived, and Loretta covered her mouth to silence her, apparently at her first breath, so that he wouldn't hear. Lewis, a therapist and family counselor, makes much of her early traumas with Loretta. Loretta wore a mask of virtue, would never play an immoral person on screen, and to this day will not publicly admit the truth about Gable. Highlights include Judy's long meeting with Gable when she was 15, not knowing he was her father; her fianc‚'s telling her of her parentage, which all Hollywood seemed to know; Judy's big showdown in her mid-30s with a still evasive Loretta; and her confrontation with her own daughter about Gable. Loretta's posture of morality is placed in the context of her own abandonment as a child, her dread of censure by the Catholic Legion of Decency, and her fear of being blacklisted under the film industry's Hayes Code. Gripping throughout. (Photos not seen.) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Not Joan Crawford,but not far off it
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