Undoubtedly, Earle's disappearance that summer day in 1917 altered the paths that Gladys and each of her children would follow for the rest of their lives. Of all of them, Loretta would be the most famous. She would eventually appear in 98 movies, and from age 16 on, in no roles of a status less than leading lady. Her leading men included Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, William Holden, Jimmy Cagney, Clark Gable, Tyrone Power, John Wayne, Robert Taylor, Orson Welles, Alan Ladd, David Niven, Cary Grant, Robert Mitchum, and just about every other leading man who set hearts a flutter during the Thirties, Forties and early Fifties. But, it was in the early years of television that she would have her biggest impact.

In 1958, the television audience continued to love "Lucy", but it was Loretta Young whom they voted as "The Most Important Female Personality" on television. Almost 300,000 viewers had cast their votes in that year's "TV GUIDE AWARD" poll. It wasn't the first year that Loretta was loftily recognized for her work on "The Loretta Young Show", an anthology series that had premiered in 1953 and would have an unbroken run well into the following decade, not to mention reruns for many years after that, shown throughout the television viewing world. What made Loretta's show so admired, or loathed, was her pointed effort to get one good message across to the American people each week. Her goal was to improve lives, and the stories dealt with such subjects as how to listen to God in a modern world. There were those who did not appreciate her sermonizing and flooded her sponsor with letters of complaints. For Loretta, personally, many of the spiritual lessons learned in her own life have come during the years since she has left the public stage.

This is the story of the struggles and triumphs of a woman with two potent, often conflicting ambitions: to be a movie star and to save her soul. One ambition led her into the arms of two of the most famous men in the world, Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable, the other caused her to flee them. One ambition led her to be admired by millions around the world, the other has prompted her to a to life long concealment of the true parentage of her daughter, Judy.

This is not the story of a goody-goody, going about her business of doing good deeds. This is the story of a strong, mesmerizingly beautiful, ambitious woman, full of contradictions: she has been both flirtatious and chilling, playful and forbidding, self-centered and compassionate, spontaneous and rigid, fragile and blunt, truthful and machiavellian, judgmental and loving, intimidating and vulnerable, angry and forgiving, in control and out of control, very sophisticated and very child-like. And, in the balance of her eighty-some years, she has never stopped trying to become something better. This is the story of a very human being who is ultimately hopeful and is more and more convinced that God is the reason why. This is an intimate story about a soul whose journey has traversed through the magic, the glamor, the promise, the power, the exhilaration, the aggression, the desperation, the loneliness, and the emptiness, known as Hollywood.

The above excerpt is taken from Chapter One of Edward Funk's unpublished book "Loretta Young: Journey of a Hollywood Soul"

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