This brand new book is about my firsthand observations of Loretta Young, her family and her friends, during the last decade of her life. It also captures the essence of our relationship. Edward Funk
There was a cloak closet off the foyer. When it was opened, little spot lights shined on two shelves, the top shelf holding Loretta’s Best Actress Oscar and the second, her three Best Actress Emmys. Her mother considered displaying the awards gauche and this was her compromise.
Loretta had fried us hamburgers which we ate in the kitchen. After she had stepped out of the room, Peter said to me, “Man, you don’t know what a big deal this is! I’ve been waiting my whole life for my mother to fry me a hamburger!”
I said to Loretta, “Nancy Reagan’s head looks too big for her body.” She replied, “Actually, her body is too small for her head. I imagine that she’s dieted down to a point where she’s out of proportion. Also, if she were a vain old movie star like me, she’d have floor to ceiling mirrors to see what she looks like head to toe. My guess is that she does her hair and makeup sitting at a dressing table. Just seeing her head and shoulders, she doesn’t realize how out of proportion she looks
Loretta pressed the flashing message button on her phone. Once she realized who it was, she rolled her eyes and held the receiver out so that I could hear. It was Nancy Reagan, scolding Loretta for never returning her phone calls.
The windows faced south and Loretta preferred putting her makeup on early enough in the evening so that she would use only natural light.
Basically, the third floor (of her home) was one giant storage area for Loretta’s gowns, hung on racks like one would encounter in a very upscale store. These dresses weren’t a collection from the distant past; she cleared out the inventory now and then by giving them to family and friends although Polly Ann (her sister) commented to me that Loretta usually waited one or two seasons too long for this generosity.
We were about to end the second day’s discussions (about the making of CALL OF THE WILD) when Loretta sprang up and, with her normally controlled voice rising, said, “You haven’t asked me. You haven’t asked me about Clark Gable and Judy.” I can still see her pacing the room, wearing a cream colored sweater and matching wool slacks. She was like a caged animal, a cage constructed by fifty-five years of refusing to directly acknowledge the matter, or face her inherent feelings.
I was very familiar with Loretta’s good jewelry, as she wore it on occasions for which I was her escort. I also carried her diamonds and emeralds in the inside pocket of my sport’s jacket when we travelled. No one would be looking for it on me, and these were days prior to airport security checks.
We arrived in plenty of time to reach our hotel and prepare for the big occasion that same evening. Of course I could dress in minutes and did. Loretta, on the other hand, was having a “queen-of-the-silver-screen” fit. It seemed that she didn’t like the arrangement of the mirrors in her bathroom. She called and they brought other mirrors with extension arms, but, this effort, too, was unsatisfactory. For a reason I don’t recall, I was in her suite when they brought the extending mirrors. After they left, she said curtly, “They just don’t know how to deal with someone like me.” My first thought was, “Who would?”
Shortly after arriving, Loretta eyed some piles of what looked like cocaine on separate flat mirrors. Elizabeth (Taylor) came up behind her and said, “Loretta, dear, get out of here. This isn’t your kind of party.”
I was seated at a table directly across from Loretta when Bob and Delores Hope arrived at our table. Even before they had sat down, Frank Sinatra, who looked fine but shuffled like an old man, came from the next table to greet the Hopes. After he left, Bob Hope asked his wife, “Who was that?” She replied, “Sinatra.” I had the feeling they had all been around too long.