Loretta Young TCM Star of the Month January 2013 Centennial

Loretta Young 1930s Fan Photo

Turner Classic Movies opens 2013 with a Loretta Young centennial celebration featuring 38 movies over January’s five Wednesday nights.

Go HERE to skip below to the complete slate of Loretta Young films airing on TCM in January 2013. Read on and you’ll eventually reach that same schedule on this page.

Movie legend Loretta Young was born Gretchen Young in Salt Lake City, January 6, 1913.

Loretta Young 1936 Nestle Trading CardShe was the third child following sisters Polly Ann and Elizabeth Jane, later known on the screen as Sally Blane. A brother, John, followed a year after Loretta. When their parents separated mother Gladys and the children settled in California. Half-sister Georgiana was born in 1924 after Gladys had remarried.

An uncle, Ernest Traxler, who was production manager at Lasky's, provided the first step to the screen for the Young children as extras in Universal’s Sirens of the Sea (1917). That same year Gretchen (our Loretta) played a fairy in The Primrose Ring starring Mae Murray (On my bookshelf). Murray took such a shine to her that she took the little girl into her home to live for over a year in order to save Gretchen’s mother the expense of raising her for a time.

Other bit parts followed, including The Sheik (1921), before Gretchen left the screen to attend Ramona Convent Second School. When she returned to the screen as an extra in 1927’s Naughty But Nice Gretchen caught the eye of the film’s star Colleen Moore who in turn pointed out the teenager to her husband, First National production manager John McCormick.

Still Gretchen Young in this May 17, 1927 pic from the Appleton Post Crescent“All I did was mention her to John. He came on the set a few times and watched her work and then looked at some of her shots on the screen and signed her to a contract,” said Moore that Spring after it was announced that First National had signed Gretchen Young to a long term contract (Thomas).

Gretchen soon changed her name to Loretta, supposedly at Moore’s suggestion, and stardom quickly called. Loretta Young appeared with Lon Chaney in Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928), which began filming just prior to her 15th birthday. With several additional titles under her belt she was named a WAMPAS Baby Star of 1929 along with Jean Arthur, Anita Page, Helen Twelvetrees, and her own sister, Elizabeth Jane, now Sally Blane.

At First National Loretta appeared in many of the pre-code titles showing on TCM throughout January. She’s stunningly beautiful during this period, with large eyes that I find it very easy to get lost in. While she managed a few saucy roles during the early thirties, she still played mostly nice girls throughout the period. Still, Loretta’s nice girls always seemed to know the score when it came to men and survival.

She Had to Say Yes

Loretta Young 1936 Godfrey Phillips Tobacco CardShe Had to Say Yes (1933), airing at 7:00 am EST on January 10, is a personal favorite which finds virtuous Loretta playing a stenographer turned customer girl by louse boyfriend Regis Toomey.

Toomey isn’t the only louse. All of the men in this one are terrible including Lyle Talbot, whom Toomey sets Loretta loose on with unexpected results. There’s also a lecherous Hugh Herbert, who falls victim to Loretta’s charm and wiles as she works to get his signature on a business merger with Talbot that will net her a thousand dollar reward.

“You better have an onion. It will make me easier to put up with,” Herbert’s Mr. Haines tells her.

“Oh, then I’ll have one, by all means,” Loretta says, mocking tone slipping right past him.

Loretta, as Florence Denny, has coaxed Mr. Haines into canceling a date with his wife in order to take her to dinner with hints of greater reward. Of course, Flo has no interest in Haines beyond the business merger. What Haines doesn’t realize is that Flo has instructed her roommate, Maizee (Winnie Lightner), to put in a call to Mrs. Haines requesting she meet him at the very restaurant Flo has her husband corralled in.

This creates a tight spot for Haines but Loretta’s Flo covers it up by posing as a business acquaintance and tricking him into signing the merger before quickly excusing herself.

The priceless moment comes once Flo leaves the private dining room and Haines excuses himself to his wife to follow her.

Loretta Young and Hugh Herbert

Haines catches up with Flo, grabs her arm and says, “You deliberately framed me into signing that thing and put me on the spot.”

“Please, Mr. Haines!” says Flo.

“Never mind that. What you do it for?”

“A thousand dollars, sucker,” she says, wearing a big smile as she leaves him behind.

Loretta Young and Hugh Herbert

While there are better pre-code era films airing on TCM this month—Employees’ Entrance and Midnight Mary (both 1933) springing first to mind—She Had to Say Yes, from title on down, really piles on the sex. And sexism.

Regis Toomey’s character is still enamored with Flo but accuses her of “going the limit” with Talbot while Talbot declares himself “a sap to fall for that untouched line” after convincing himself that Flo had gone over that same limit for Haines’ signature. That’s just before he nearly rapes her.

A disparaged Flo is left to wonder, “Why doesn’t a woman ever get a break,” though she still winds up with one of these sleazy fellows after concluding that “it’s just a matter of choosing the lesser evil.”

Men are no good, but what’s a girl to do?

65 minutes of sin.

She Had to Say Yes Advertisement

SHE HAD TO SAY YES ad from the Tutusville Herald, August 9, 1933, page 5.

After First National

She Had to Say Yes was it for Loretta Young at First National. While a fun period piece today it certainly wouldn't do her career any favors. She signed with Fox.

Loretta Young 1951 Artisti del Cinema Trading CardHer second film under contract to Fox was Frank Borzage’s dark Depression drama Man’s Castle (1933) starring Spencer Tracy, who also became a romantic partner. Loretta later became involved with The Call of the Wild (1935) star Clark Gable, who after decades of suspicion was revealed as father of Loretta’s supposedly adopted daughter, Judy Lewis.

Loretta worked for Zanuck at Fox throughout the 1930s and the merger with Twentieth Century, but refused to renew her contract and left when it expired after The Story of Alexander Graham Bell* in 1939. That title is notable because Loretta's sisters are played in the film by her real sisters: Polly Ann Young, Sally Blane, and even half-sister Georgiana Young, who wasn't even a professional actress.

*It's a shame TCM doesn't air this one, but it has just received a Fox Cinema Archives DVD-R release. Grab it on Amazon. I did.

Loretta Young had been married briefly to actor Grant Withers in the early thirties. Just seventeen at the time, nearly nine years younger than Withers, the marriage was annulled in under two years, in September 1931. Loretta’s second marriage to producer Tom Lewis, coming after her break from Twentieth Century-Fox, would last much longer into the late 1960s. Loretta had two sons by Lewis plus adopted daughter, Judy.

Loretta Young freelanced throughout the 1940s into the early ‘50s and appeared in some of her best loved roles during the period, including The Farmer’s Daughter (1947), which won her the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1948.

Loretta Young 1930s Warner Brothers Publicity Still

Also in 1947 she starred with Cary Grant and David Niven in perennial Christmas classic The Bishop’s Wife. Loretta received a second Academy Award nomination for Come to the Stable (1949) which starred her alongside Celeste Holm as a pair of nuns unintentionally torturing Hugh Marlowe's character.

Celeste Holm, Loretta Young and Elsa Lanchester

Left to right: Celeste Holm, Loretta Young and Elsa Lanchester in COME TO THE STABLE

Loretta Young’s final feature film was 1953’s It Happens Every Thursday, but like many of her peers a new career awaited on the small screen.

That same year Letters to Loretta premiered. The half hour anthology program famously featured Loretta decked out in glamorous gowns as she both introduced and concluded each story. Changing its name to The Loretta Young Show during that first season it would net Loretta three Emmy awards and a Golden Globe while lasting over 200 episodes into 1961.

“I know my limitations … when I thought about what I’d do on television, I knew I couldn’t be a situation comedienne,” Loretta said in 1953. “I’m no Lucy Ball. I don’t have her genius for clowning. I have to do what I know I can do” (Eastern).

Loretta Young 1930s Warner Brothers Publicity Still

One season of The New Loretta Young Show followed for the 1962-63 television season and then Loretta took 23 years off.

“I thought I would rest for a while,” she said in 1986, just before Christmas Eve aired. “Then I decided the whole world was a sound stage and I wanted to see it. I traveled for two years. When I came back I wasn’t anxious to get back to work. I didn’t need to financially. Suddenly, the years slipped by” (Buck).

Christmas Eve scored Loretta Young a second Golden Globe Award, 28 years after her previous victory.

Loretta Young 1935 Dixie Premium PhotoWhen asked if she was bothered that Christmas Eve was being tabbed as too sentimental Loretta said, “I love sentiment. I think that’s what’s wrong with the world today. There isn’t enough sentimentality” (Buck).

She’d be nominated for another Golden Globe for 1990’s Lady in the Corner, her final dramatic appearance.

Young married for a third time in 1993, to fashion designer Jean-Louis whom she had known from at least the time he had worked on the final season of The Loretta Young Show. Jean-Louis also acted as fashion consultant on Christmas Eve in ‘86. He died in 1997 at age 89.

But Loretta Young made the millennium, ovarian cancer claiming her life at age 87 in 2000. She died at the home of half-sister Georgiana and her husband, actor Ricardo Montalban.

“The trick to life, I can say now in my advanced age, is to stop trying to make it so important. Take the qualities you do have, build on them and pray to find out what God wants of you. Oh, I know some people think I’m a prude. ‘Holier-than-thou Loretta,’ they say, or they think I’m just some religious nut. Well, that’s their business. Me? I believe in establishing limits and setting standards, because you can’t be happy without them. And I’m happy!” — Loretta Young, 1990 to Peter Swet in Parade Magazine feature.

Sources follow TCM television schedule.

Loretta Young 1930s Warner Brothers Publicity Still

Loretta Young - TCM Star of the Month Schedule

Wednesday-Thursday, January 2-3, 2013

  • 8:00 pm - Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928) starring Lon Chaney, Loretta Young, Nils Asther, D: Herbert Brenon
  • 9:30 pm - Platinum Blonde (1931) starring Robert Williams, Loretta Young, Jean Harlow, D: Frank Capra
  • 11:15 pm - Taxi! (1932) starring James Cagney, Loretta Young, George E. Stone, D: Roy Del Ruth
  • 12:30 am - Life Begins (1932) starring Loretta Young, Eric Linden, Aline MacMahon, D: James Flood
  • 1:45 am - The Squall (1929) starring Myrna Loy, Alice Joyce, Loretta Young, D: Alexander Korda
  • 3:45 am - The Show of Shows (1929) starring Frank Fay, Loretta Young, Beatrice Lillie, John Barrymore, D: John G. Adolfi
  • 6:00 am - Loose Ankles (1930) starring Loretta Young, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Louise Fazenda, D: Ted Wilde
  • 7:15 am - I Like Your Nerve (1931) starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Loretta Young, Edmund Breon, D: William McGann
  • 8:30 am - Road to Paradise (1930) starring Loretta Young, Jack Mulhall, Raymond Hatton, D: William Beaudine
  • 10:00 am - The Truth About Youth (1930) starring Loretta Young, Myrna Loy, David Manners, D: William A. Seiter
Loretta Young in Laugh Clown Laugh

Loretta Young in LAUGH, CLOWN, LAUGH

Wednesday-Thursday, January 9-10, 2013

  • 8:00 pm - Employees’ Entrance (1933) starring Warren William, Loretta Young, Alice White, D: Roy Del Ruth
  • 9:30 pm - Heroes for Sale (1933) starring Richard Barthelmess, Aline MacMahon, Loretta Young, D: William A. Wellman
  • 11:00 pm - Born to Be Bad (1934) starring Loretta Young, Cary Grant, Jackie Kelk, D: Lowell Sherman
  • 12:15 am - Midnight Mary (1933) starring Loretta Young, Ricardo Cortez, Franchot Tone, D: William A. Wellman
  • 1:45 am - They Call It Sin (1932) starring Loretta Young, George Brent, Louis Calhern, D: Thornton Freeland
  • 3:00 am - The Hatchet Man (1932) starring Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young, Dudley Digges, D: William A. Wellman
  • 4:30 am - Play-Girl (1932) starring Loretta Young, Winnie Lightner, Norman Foster, D: Ray Enright
  • 5:45 am - The Ruling Voice (1931) starring Walter Huston, Loretta Young, Doris Kenyon, D: Rowland V. Lee
  • 7:00 am - She Had to Say Yes (1933) starring Loretta Young, Lyle Talbot, Hugh Herbert, D: Busby Berkeley
Loretta Young and David Manners

With David Manners in THE RULING VOICE

Wednesday-Thursday, January 16-17, 2013

  • 8:00 pm - A Man’s Castle (1933) starring Spencer Tracy, Loretta Young, Marjorie Rambeau, D: Frank Borzage
  • 9:15 pm - Suez (1938) starring Dana Andrews, Loretta Young, Annabella, D: Allan Dwan
  • 11:00 pm - Kentucky (1938) starring Loretta Young, Richard Greene, Walter Brennan, D: David Butler
  • 12:45 am - The Life of Jimmy Dolan (1933) starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Loretta Young, Fifi D’Orsay, D: Archie Mayo
  • 2:30 am - Beau Ideal (1931) starring Lester Vail, Ralph Forbes, Loretta Young, D: Herbert Brenon
  • 4:00 am - Big Business Girl (1931) starring Loretta Young, Frank Albertson, Joan Blondell, D: William A. Seiter
Ray Milland and Loretta Young


Wednesday-Thursday, January 23-24, 2013

  • 8:00 pm - The Doctor Takes a Wife (1940) starring Loretta Young, Ray Milland, Reginald Gardiner, D: Alexander Hall
  • 9:45 pm - Bedtime Story (1941) starring Fredric March, Loretta Young, Robert Benchley, D: Alexander Hall
  • 11:15 pm - Wife, Husband, and Friend (1939) starring Loretta Young, Warner Baxter, Binnie Barnes, D: Gregory Ratoff
  • 12:45 am - A Night to Remember (1942) starring Loretta Young, Brian Aherne, Jeff Donnell, D: Richard Wallace
  • 2:30 am - Week-End Marriage (1932) starring Loretta Young, Norman Foster, George Brent, D: Thornton Freeland
  • 3:45 am - Grand Slam (1933) starring Paul Lukas, Loretta Young, Frank McHugh, D: William Dieterle
Brian Aherne and Loretta Young

With Brian Aherne in A NIGHT TO REMEMBER

Wednesday-Thursday, January 30-31, 2013

  • 8:00 pm - The Farmer’s Daughter (1947) starring Loretta Young, Joseph Cotten, Ethel Barrymore, D: H.C. Porter
  • 9:45 pm - The Stranger (1946) starring Edward G. Robinson, Orson Welles, Loretta Young, D: Orson Welles
  • 11:30 pm - Rachel and the Stranger (1948) starring Loretta Young, William Holden, Robert Mitchum, D: Norman Foster
  • 1:00 am - Along Came Jones (1945) starring Gary Cooper, Loretta Young, William Demarest, D: Stuart Heisler
  • 2:45 am - Key to the City (1950) starring Clark Gable, Loretta Young, Frank Morgan, D: George Sidney
  • 4:30 am - Cause for Alarm! (1951) starring Loretta Young, Barry Sullivan, Bruce Cowling, D: Tay Garnett
  • 5:45 am - The Unguarded Hour (1936) starring Franchot Tone, Loretta Young, Roland Young, D: Sam Wood
Loretta Young in Cause for Alarm

With Barry Sullivan and Bruce Cowling in CAUSE FOR ALARM

For another look at TCM's Loretta Young Star of the Month celebration please see Laura's Miscellaneous Musings which includes links to reviews Laura has written about several of the titles that TCM airs in January.


  • Buck, Jerry. “Television: Loretta Young Christmas Movie Her First in 23 Years.” Kerrville Daily Times 21 Dec 1986: 36. NewspaperArchive. Web. 30 Dec 2012.
  • “Eastern Television.” Yuma Daily Sun 15 Oct 1953: 21. NewspaperArchive. Web. 30 Dec 2012.
  • Swet, Peter. “The Secret Strength of Loretta Young.” Parade Magazine 28 Jan 1990: 9. NewspaperArchive. Web. 30 Dec 2012.
  • Thomas, Dan. “Colleen Moore Lifts ‘Extra’ Girl to Long-Term Contract.” Appleton Post Crescent 17 May 1927: 8. NewspaperArchive. Web. 30 Dec 2012.

Loretta Young 1940s Era Fan Photo


  1. says

    With the possible exception of Norma Shearer, no actress’ reputation was more rehabilitated by the pre-Code revival than Loretta Young, and I’m delighted she lived long enough to see some of it.

    • says

      Her career seems to have cycled somewhat, right Vincent? It appears 25-30 years ago she was recalled as much, if not more, for her television show as she was her movie career.

      Though I’ve got to be honest, growing up, before I even really became absorbed by classic movies, Loretta Young was always one of the big names. I probably first encountered her through public domain copies of THE STRANGER and ALONG CAME JONES seemed to be a regular on AMC in the ’80s if I remember correctly. Too bad it wasn’t MIDNIGHT MARY back then!

  2. tommy nevils says

    Yes, Midnight Mary. Two years after seeing it for the first time, I still enjoy watching it. Never boring and moves fast. One of my favorite pre-code films, and have you ever seen a face more gorgeous than hers in the early 1930s?

    • says

      Tommy, just decided this evening on MIDNIGHT MARY over HEROES FOR SALE for my next post–preferably before it airs Wednesday night. I think I prefer HEROES by a little, but MARY is so much more Loretta. That said, just watched it again earlier tonight and yes, that baby moves!

  3. The Paulster says

    She’s one of the few people who I just like looking at, particularly in the pre-code era. Absolutely adorable! The face of a sweet child but with the mature voice and confidence of a grown-up woman. I melt when I watch her-and I don’t melt easily.

    • says

      Paulster, she’s absolutely gorgeous, and when she had a movie that was her own (rather than say top billed love interest to a male star), she really came across as worldly. The scary thing about her pre-Codes is just how very young she was at that time!

Leave a Reply