Clark Gable’s Secret Daughter

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The secret daughter of Clark Gable.


In the nineteen thirties, actor Clark Gable was known as the King of Hollywood.

Tall, dark and handsome, he was considered to be every woman’s dream man.

Although he was married four times, for many years it was thought that he had only one child – a boy who was born four months after Clark’s death.

But for many years, Hollywood insiders kept a secret – Clark Gable had fathered a daughter who had been born in 1935; the result of a brief affair with actress Loretta Young.

Gable was married at the time of the affair. He and Loretta were co-starring in a film, The Call of the Wild. It was partly filmed on location and a huge snowstorm hit the area. The cast and crew were snowed in. This allowed the affair to develop.

Some reports say that the child was conceived on the train in which the actors were returning home. Loretta told Clark that if the relationship was to continue when they returned to Hollywood – which she hoped it would – then it would not include sex. She was a devout Catholic and in addition, there was the strict studio moral codes which she believed were correct.

Clark agreed to a celibate relationship but once they were back in Hollywood, it never developed. In any case, it was too late – Loretta was already pregnant. As a Catholic,she refused to consider the abortion option and she was determined to keep her pregnancy secret. She moved to London with her mother for the duration of her pregnancy. She returned to the United States for the birth, but remained sequestered at her home and had her doctor announce that she was suffering from an ‘internal ailment that required surgery’.


On November 6th, 1935, Loretta gave birth to Judith, Clark Gable’s daughter., in her mother’s California home. The baby lived there for several months and was then hidden away with private nurses or in orphanages while Loretta resumed her career. Judith was nineteen months old when her grandmother collected her from the orphanage and Loretta adopted her. Mother and daughter were reunited.

Loretta never disclosed the fact that Judith was her natural daughter – not even to the girl herself. She told everyone that she had intended to adopt two children but that the adoption of one of them had been vetoed. She hoped this would made the story more believable.

But as Judith grew,she came to look like her father and¬†people soon figured out from Judith’s birth date and the fact that the two stars had been in the same movie several months previously, that Clark Gable was in fact her father. For example, Gable was known for his prominent ears – which Judith had also. Loretta insisted on the girl wearing bonnets when she went out in public and arranged for her ears to be surgically pinned back.

These ploys were only mildly successful though as it was an open secret in the tightly knit Hollywood community that Clark was Judith’s father.

When Clark Gable met his daughter for the first and only time

Judith was fifteen when one day she came home from school and found Clark Gable in her home. Her mother left the two of them together and Clark asked her about her life and the things she liked but, as he had promised Loretta, he didn’t reveal that he was her father.

She suspected nothing.

When Judith was twenty three, she was contemplating marriage but told her suitor that she didn’t know who she was – still believing that she didn’t know who either of her parents were. He then told her that everyone knew who she was – it was common knowledge that she was the daughter of Loretta Young and Clark Gable.

It was eight years later that she gathered up the courage to ask her mother if it was true. Her mother admitted that it was. But she never admitted it publicly.

It was finally revealed in the authorised biography that was published after her death- at her own request.


Jackie Jackson, also known online as BritFlorida, is a highly experienced designer and writer. British born and now living in the USA, she specialises in lifestyle issues, design and quirky stories. You can see a wide range of articles here, or visit her website Tastes Magazine. See The Writer’s Door for more information.

Author: Jackie Jackson

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1 Comment

  1. Hello JAQUO

    I knew Judith in Los Angeles, CA Years ago. She became a licensed Marriage Family therapist, and we were members of the same professional organization. Judy resembled both her mother Loretta, and her dad Clark..
    She mentioned to me she was going to write a book about her experiences as a child and growing up. I think it was published but do not recall at the moment, the title of the book.Judy past away years back after struggling with Cancer for some time. I hope her book was published and was well received.

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