The Hollywood Museum and The Hollywood Reporter presents the “Loretta Young: Hollywood Legend, 100 Years of Glamour & Grace” centennial exhibit spotlighting one of the greatest Hollywood legends whose star talents transcended motion pictures and television. The exhibit had a private, celebrity opening on Tuesday, Jan. 8, which featured a full bar in the elevator, snacks on all three levels of the museum and a plethora of Loretta Young and Jean Louis memorabilia on the second floor. The exhibit is on public display from January 9 through April 28, 2013, at the Hollywood Museum on 1660 North Highland Avenue Hollywood, CA 90028.
Very few woman have had the grace, beauty and spirit to have careers that lasted over 70 years, but the lovely and talented Loretta Young was one of those rare movie stars that was able to entertain no matter what the medium and became one of Hollywood's most enduring leading ladies.
Loretta was born in Utah, but came to California young. She entered the business of silent films as a child working with her two sisters. When Loretta was only 14 years old, Lon Chaney spotted the young actress and wanted her to star in his new film "Laugh, Clown, Laugh" and a star was born.
Unlike many of actors of her time, Loretta transitioned to films with sound with ease. She found steady work throughout the 1930's and in 1940 she did a very bold and daring thing - she became an independent actress. This was in the heyday of Hollywood studios and could have marked a very quick end to her career. But what escaped many fans that adored Loretta for her great beauty was her business savvy and hard work ethic.
The 1940's brought Loretta some of her most defining films. In 1948, she won the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in "The Farmer's Daughter." And the following year she received an Oscar nomination for her performance in "Come to the Stable." Young also starred in the very popular Christmas classic "The Bishop's Wife," co-starring with Cary Grant.
When the 1950's came and television was a new form of entertainment, Young new she could make a new career for herself. And she did. With the help of her husband Tom Lewis they created "The Loretta Young Show." And she later starred in "The New Loretta Young Show." During her television career, Young earned three Emmys and was the first entertainer to win an Oscar and an Emmy.
Young retired to the community of Palm Springs and late in life found love and married dress and costume designer Jean Louis. Young was a dedicated catholic and a mother of three children.
To refresh your memory, Turner Classic Movies will be presenting movies featuring Loretta Young each Wednesday night during the month of January.
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Whatever your movie choice this week, please remember your movie theater etiquette: silence your cell phones & no texting, please don't talk during the film and remove your children if they become a distraction to other audience members. Don't forget that laughing, crying and cheering are always approved behavior and even encouraged.
-Kay Shackleton is a film historian with special focus on Silent Films, see her work at SilentHollywood.com