Judy Lewis, Stage Actress With Secret Starry Parentage, Dies at 76

Obituaries   Judy Lewis, Stage Actress With Secret Starry Parentage, Dies at 76
Judy Lewis, who had a number of stage and television parts during her career, but whose role of a lifetime was playing the secret child of two Hollywoods stars, died Nov. 25. She was 76.

Judy Lewis was 31 when she finally learned she was the illegitimate daughter of movie stars Clark Gable and Loretta Young—not the adopted daughter of Young, as she was told. Gable and Young had a brief affair while shooting the 1935 film "The Call of the Wild." Gable was married at the time, and Young, being an obedient Catholic, refused to have an abortion. Instead, she spent most of her pregnancy in Europe. When little Judy was born, she was handed over to a series of custodians, including St. Elizabeth’s Infants Hospital in San Francisco, until Young adopted her own child when she turned 19 months old. Young carried on with the charade for decades, only revealing the truth when Lewis confronted her. Young, who died in 2000, never publicly acknowledged Lewis was his daughter.

Lewis, who took the name of Young's later husband Tom Lewis, wrote about her bizarrely Dickensian childhood in a 1994 memoir "Uncommon Knowledge." The appearance of the book resulted in a three-year rift between mother and daughter.

Ms. Lewis followed her mother's profession. She was a regular on one soap opera, "The Secret Storm," from 1964 to 1971, and had featured parts on numerous others, such as "General Hospital" and "The Doctor." On Broadway, she acted in the hit comedy Mary, Mary.

In her mid-40s, Ms. Lewis earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Antioch University in Los Angeles. She became a licensed family and child counselor in 1992.

She was married to Tom Tinney in 1958. Besides her daughter, Maria Tinney Dagit, Ms. Lewis is survived by two grandsons and her half-brothers, Christopher and Peter Lewis.

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