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Clark Gable and Judy Lewis ....

Posted by cinemafan2 on 2011.10.22 at 14:23


In 1960 shortly before he died, Clark Gable signed his last will and testament.  In it he pointedly disavowed any living children.  Thus he disowned and disinherited his only living child, a daughter named Judy that he fathered with Loretta Young in 1935.  (Subsequently, a son, John Clark Gable, was born to his widow Kay Gable five months after Gable's death.)

Loretta Young and her daughter fathered by Clark Gable, Judy Lewis in the 1940's.


Judy's half-brother, Christopher Lewis, told her that Tom Lewis, once asked Clark Gable  if he was Judy's biological father. Gable denied it, saying that he would love to have a child and adding, "Do you think I would let anyone else bringing up my only child?". But he did. Tom Lewis was bringing up his only child.

Clark Gable was among those invited by Loretta Young to Judy Lewis' wedding in June of 1958 just as he had been invited to her high school graduation as few years earlier. He declined both invitations and didn't send a gift. And Gable, who once told an interviewer that his one real regret in life was that he never had any children, completely ignored the granddaughter that Judy soon bore.  (
Ironically, Gable died on her first birthday.)

Judy Lewis only knew Clark Gable through his films. "Call of the Wild" and "Gone With the Wind" were two of her favorites. Enthralled by his megastar image, for years she blamed her mother for her estrangement from him. Loretta Young's response was published posthumously in an authorized biography, Forever Young.  Loretta acknowledged Clark Gable was Judy's father but stated that his estrangement from her was beyond her control. She said that Gable simply never showed any interest in Judy. He never contributed a dime to the bank account Young set up for her nor did he accept any of her invitations to events in her life. 

 Perhaps in search of the father she never knew, Judy became a close friend of Cammie King Conlon, who played Bonnie Blue Butler, the daughter of Clark Gable’s character Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind.  (At the time  they met and became friends Conlon was unaware that Judy was Gable's daughter.)

Judy describes lovingly in her book Uncommon Knowledge a chance meeting Clark Gable at her parents home while he was filming Key to the City with her mother.   In her memory Gable acts much as Rhett Butler might.  He is kind and inquisitive about her.  Loretta Young however states clearly in her authorized biography that no such meeting ever took place.  See Forever Young, Page 265.    


Judy has since acknowledged that her vision of her father may not be realistic. "I've tried to make my peace with the past, and I'm now happy to think of Gable in my own idealised way. I've purposefully made that choice, because I never was given the chance to know him and ask: 'Where were you?'As to the Gone With The Wind scene where Gable plays affectionately with his fictional daughter, Lewis is quoted that "I like to think that he was thinking of me when he was playing those scenes".  But she added that "perhaps the famous 'Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn' was a truer reflection of his feelings towards me".

 

A recent photo of John Clark Gable. John Clark Gable steadfastly refuses to acknowledge Judy Lewis as his half sister to this day.

Judy Lewis' 2001 interview with Larry King:

KING: "... John Clark Gable, the son of Clark Gable from another marriage, gave us a statement in which he said:

"My father said he had no other children and my father's word is good enough for me." "

J. LEWIS: Good for him.

KING: So, his father's word is good enough for him, and your mother's word is good enough for you, one of you is wrong. Do you know John Clark Gable?

J. LEWIS: Yes, we met. We met twice.

KING: What was that like?

J. LEWIS: The first time I met him was at a film of "Gone With The Wind," and I knew who he was. But he didn't know who I was. And the second time we met, we had dinner, and I gave him the book. And that was it. I have never heard from him since.

    

Judy Lewis and Loretta Young, the mother who was there for her all along, if not always in the way that Judy wished her to be, circa 1980.




A more recent photo of Judy Lewis. 

Judy Lewis died of lymphoma on Friday, November 25, 2011 at the age of 76.










Comments:


sunnylimoncello
sunnylimoncello at 2011-10-23 13:05 (UTC) (Link)
"John Clark Gable steadfastly refuses to acknowledge Judy Lewis as his half sister to this day."

Has either of them requested DNA tests? Judy certainly favors Clark in many ways.
cinemafan2 at 2011-10-23 14:51 (UTC) (Link)

Gable's heirs

As far as I know they have not submitted to DNA testing. Gable says that "his father's word is good enough for him". Judy says the same about her mother's word. So they remain at a stand-off. I believe they should do DNA testing and verify the facts once and for all. Judy will be 76 next month.

Edited at 2011-10-23 02:56 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) at 2011-10-24 17:05 (UTC) (Link)
Since it was common knowledge of Clark's and Loretta's affair on th set of Call OF The Wild, wouldn't Carole have known this, and suspected Clark the father of her adopted child? Is there any proof she knew?
cinemafan2 at 2011-10-24 20:04 (UTC) (Link)
Based on a comment Carole made she did know. Gable bragged to her that Loretta was one of his conquests and that he got her pregnant.
cinemafan2 at 2011-10-25 04:56 (UTC) (Link)
In Darwin Porter's biography of Katherine Hepburn, Page 391, it reads... "Gable told Carole Lombard, who told everybody else, "Tracy made the mistake of falling for Loretta. As for me, I only fucked her and gave her a kid, which neither of us wanted"."

Undoubtedly neither of them wanted a child born out of wedlock in 1935. But Loretta Young refused to abort the child and then went through gyrations to adopt her and raised her.

Edited at 2011-10-25 06:04 am (UTC)
astaire10 at 2011-10-25 06:39 (UTC) (Link)

Who will ever know the FACTS.....

..REALLY... I simply cant believe INSIDE this man, was such a Cad..Sure the STAG days he had were plenty, but he gave a damn about a LOT of folks, and esp kids. Loretta seems to be the brat mostly, HER Career HIS career, the times..Certainly today no one would think twice re it all, but I think of Mr Gable, esp in his later years..No, it seems to me he cared, BUT there comes a time when the child is of age and has had a LIFE with their, even in this case, "Semi"-adoptive family, that a lot of biological folks stay away.Now the opposite is called "Open Adoption", which We had 21 years ago.My son was 3 days old, blue eyes and a dream, His birth mother handed him to me and said "YOU are his mother" and its been the Greatest Joy of my Life ever since. She had tears in her eyes when she gave him to me, but she has stayed away, no presents no letters..Bobby knows all about her, but , to me, said "Oh Mom, Ill NEVER leave you!"..The emotions involved are plenty I have aseen it first hand, but I cant believe Clark was a TOTAL deadbeat as far as giving a damn about his daughter. In their case tho, Im sorry they didnt KNOW each other, but I understand a number of reasons, perhaps WHY he stayed away, and It wasnt JUST Loretta.
Tal
cinemafan2 at 2011-10-25 18:20 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Who will ever know the FACTS.....

Trying to reconcile the charming and thoughful Clark Gable with the Cad who ignored his only child and cheated on all of his wives is a challenge. It was for them and it was for him. But perhaps it explains why Carole was on that plane and why Gable ended up his life as a functioning alcoholic. Life isn't always pretty.

Edited at 2011-10-25 07:54 pm (UTC)
astaire10 at 2011-10-26 02:41 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Who will ever know the FACTS.....

True..LIFE Isnt "always pretty". CANCER "isnt pretty"..Losing a limb, a kidney, to DIABETES "ISnt pretty", "SpOUSAL ABUSE" and Parental Abuse" "ISNT pretty",my mother was an alcoholic following the death of my brother to drug abuse;Yes this is LIFE.. re CG, you forget the man NEVER lived to see and know any of his children as it turns out.His guilt re Carole's death must have been horrific..His Free-falls the result, too often at the expense of those closest to him; BUT he found Peace at the end w/ Kay, she loved him enough to, as the book said, "Pattern herself" after Carole in many ways.
Her children, Bunker and Joan, loved him as their stepfather. Kay lost a baby, then at the end,was expecting John Clark which thankfully, she saw to fruition, even without him there. Maybe that elusive PEACE... he couldnt find in real life, but it took quite a woman to love him enough despite his many faults, to adapt and live according to how he was most comfortable. As Dolly Merriweather said in GWTW, "There MUST be a GREAT DEAL OF GOOD in a MAN"..to have been loved that much. For Carole, for a lot of people who STILL "Give a damn", I like to remember him so.
(Anonymous) at 2012-04-23 17:48 (UTC) (Link)

we still love him

It is hard to reconcile that kind of behavior in anyone to deny and abandon their kid. I guess he truly believed he was not the biological father... and once a person sets such a thing in their mind they may have to keep it *true* no matter what. Look at that senator from South Carolina who fathered a daughter with his black maid and voting against civil rights bills etc. For whatever reason, Clark Gable did not or could not believe he had a daughter. I'm sure Carole would have liked to have kids with him...
cinemafan2 at 2012-04-23 20:07 (UTC) (Link)

Re: we still love him

Gable knew he was the biological father of Judy. He visited Loretta and the baby once not long after she was born. The problem most people have is with reconciling their image of Clark Gable the movie star that they love with the reality of Clark Gable the human being. He did too. And perhaps that is why he drank.
(Anonymous) at 2013-01-05 05:50 (UTC) (Link)

Clark Gable Museum in Cadiz Ohio

I've visited the CG Museum in Cadiz several times. One of the guides told me an unflattering story about CG's son. The museum had hoped to get the son, as well as Judy Lewis together to help promote interest in the museum. She said John behaved like a spoiled brat & said that if Judy were present at the event, he would take back the donated items he had given to the museum. I see no reason why this guide would have lied. In any case, what has JCG ever done to catapult himself to any status or fame? Obviously only his famous genes are what have given him any recognition. Also, CG took his basic training in the (then) Army Air Corps several weeks before my dad arrived at the base. My dad said the guys admired Gable who was 20 years older than they were, worked just as hard in basic training and asked for no favors. People generally are a mix--sometimes they indeed act like boors and cads with unflattering behavior. Yet at other times, they show a better side to their nature. We all make mistakes.
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