A&E's "Biography" (1987) said Loretta Young "remains a symbol of beauty, serenity, and grace. But behind the glamor and stardom is a woman of substance whose true beauty lies in her dedication to her family, her faith, and her quest to live life with a purpose."
Loretta Young was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on January 6, 1913. Her parents separated when Loretta was three years old. Her mother moved Loretta and her two older sisters to Southern California, where Mrs. Young ran a boarding house. Mrs. Young's brother-in-law was an assistant director and got young Loretta a small role in the film The Only Way (1914). The role consisted of nothing more than a small, weeping child lying on an operating table. Later that year, she appeared in another small role in The Primrose Ring (1917). The film starred Mae Murray, who was so taken with little Loretta that she offered to adopt her. Loretta lived with the Murrays for about a year and a half. In 1921, she had a brief scene in The Sheik (1921).
Loretta and her sisters attended parochial schools, after which they helped their mother run the boarding house. In 1927, Loretta returned to films in a small part in Naughty But Nice (1927). Even at the age of fourteen, she was an ambitious actress. Beginning with her role as Denise Laverne in The Magnificent Flirt (1928), she shaped any character she took on with total dedication. In 1928, she received second billing in The Head Man (1928) and continued to toil in many roles throughout the 20s and 30s, making anywhere from six to nine films a year. Her two sisters were also actresses but were not as successful as Loretta, whose natural beauty was her distinct advantage. By the mid-30's, Loretta left First National Studios for rival Fox, where she had previously worked on a loan-out basis. Loretta became one of the premiere leading ladies of Hollywood. In 1938, Loretta starred as Sally Goodwin in Kentucky (1938), an outstanding success. Her co-star Walter Brennan won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Peter Goodwin.
By the 1940's, Loretta was still one of the most beautiful ladies in Hollywood. She reached the pinnacle of her career when she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in The Farmer's Daughter (1947), the tale of a farm girl who rises through the ranks and becomes a congresswoman. It was a smash and today is her best remembered film. The same year, she starred in the delightful fantasy The Bishop's Wife (1947) with David Niven and Cary Grant. It was another box office success and continues to be a TV staple during the holiday season. In 1949, Loretta starred in the well-received film, Mother Is a Freshman (1949) with Van Johnson and Rudy Vallee and Come to the Stable (1949). The latter garnered Loretta her second Oscar nomination, but she lost to Olivia de Havilland in The Heiress (1949). In 1953, Loretta made It Happens Every Thursday (1953), which was to be her final big screen role.
Later in 1953, she entered the relatively new medium of television with her own TV series "The Loretta Young Show" (1953), today more popularly known as "The Loretta Young Show". Loretta won three Emmy Awards as Best Actress in a TV series. After the show ended, she took some time off before returning in 1962 with "The New Loretta Young Show" (1962), which was not so successful, lasting only one season.
For the next 24 years, Loretta did not appear in any entertainment medium. Her final performance was in a made for TV film Lady in the Corner (1989) (TV). She lived a quiet retirement in Palm Springs, California until her death on August 12, 2000 from ovarian cancer at the home of her sister Georgiana and Georgiana's husband, Ricardo Montalban.