Loretta Young dead at 87

Loretta Young, the elegant Hollywood beauty who specialized in playing strong-willed heroines with firm principles during a 26-year film career and went on to star in her own television show, died Saturday of ovarian cancer. She was 87.

Young, whose acting career extended from silent movies to television and included an Academy Award for best actress in The Farmer’s Daughter, died at the home of her sister Georgiana Montalban and actor Ricardo Montalban early Saturday morning, said Norman Brokaw, her longtime agent and friend.

‘She was an incredible lady,’ Brokaw said. ‘I learned from her that if you can handle yourself with class and dignity, you can work as long as you want in this business.’
From 1953 to 1963, Young appeared on television in more than 300 episodes of The Loretta Young Show, opening the program with her much-satirized trademark of sweeping through a doorway, always in a high-style gown. She was nominated seven times for Emmys as best starring actress and won three times.

‘During the series, I played every role possible — Chinese, Japanese, Swedish, Indian, old, ugly, young, pretty,’ she remarked in a 1973 interview. ‘It was a marvelous experience for an actress to do everything she had ever wanted to do. I got it out of my system.’

She retired at the end of The New Loretta Young Show in 1963, devoting her time to charities and a line of beauty products bearing her name. She returned to acting only briefly, appearing in the television movie Christmas Eve in 1986 and, lastly, the television movie Lady in a Corner in 1989.
She appeared in 88 movies dating from 1927 to 1953. During her Hollywood heyday, Young appeared opposite most of the top male stars of her time, including Lon Chaney, John Barrymore, Clark Gable, James Cagney, Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant and Robert Mitchum.

A shapely beauty with large blue-gray eyes and high cheekbones, Young starred at age 15 with Chaney in the 1928 film Laugh, Clown, Laugh. She was never less than a star afterward and will be remembered as such.

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