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CNN Larry King Live

Judy Lewis Tells Her Story

Aired June 06, 2001 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Hollywood has whispered the question for decades: Did screen legends Clark Gable and Loretta Young make a child while they were co-starring in "Call of the Wild"? Judy Lewis, long presented to world as Loretta Young's adopted daughter, says yes. She shares her star-crossed story next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening. Great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE tonight Judy Lewis, who has worked as a family marriage therapist, was a former soap star, acted on Broadway as well, and viewed by many, including herself, as Clark Gable's illegitimate daughter, the product of a relationship between Clark Gable and Loretta Young.

And as you can see, Judy does look a lot like Loretta Young.

Now, give me -- let's go back. When did you discover all of this, to your knowledge?

JUDY LEWIS, LORETTA YOUNG'S DAUGHTER: To my knowledge? The first time I heard I was my father's daughter was two weeks before my wedding, and I said to my fiance, "I can't marry you. I don't know who I am."

And he said, "Oh, I know everything there is to know about you. You're Clark Gable's daughter." And that's the first time I heard.

KING: How did he know?

J. LEWIS: Everybody knew. It was common knowledge, Larry.

KING: Except you.

J. LEWIS: Except me. I was the only one who didn't know.

KING: How old were you at this time?

J. LEWIS: 23.

KING: Had you heard the rumors?

J. LEWIS: No, I'd never heard anything. I was raised by my birth mother as an adopted child.

J. LEWIS: Was she married at the time?

J. LEWIS: I was five when she married Tom Lewis, so I had the first five years with her, as just my mother.

KING: Did you ever ask why she adopted a child as a single mother?

J. LEWIS: Well, I was also asking her about being adopted, as adopted children do. They say, "Where are my...

KING: Who's my mother?

J. LEWIS: Yes, who's my mother, who's my father? And she would answer it very easily by saying, "I couldn't love you any more than if you were my own child," which, of course, didn't answer the question, but it said don't ask the question.

KING: Did you ask why she adopted without a husband?

J. LEWIS: No. Never.

KING: Never thought of that?

J. LEWIS: Never thought of that.

KING: Was she a great mother?

J. LEWIS: She was a very good mother, yes.

KING: And she was a screen star during all this time.

J. LEWIS: Oh, yes.

KING: ... had her television show.

J. LEWIS: Well, yes. One of the biggest movie stars. She won an Academy Award, and then after that, she went into television, won three Emmy Awards.

KING: Did you meet Clark Gable?

J. LEWIS: Yes, once.

KING: On what occasion?

J. LEWIS: I was 15, and she and -- my mother and he had just finished a movie together. The second film, "Key to the City." And I came home from school one day and he was standing in my living room. And I had just seen "Gone With the Wind," so I was a little overwhelmed by seeing Clark Gable in my living room.

And I said, "You're Clark Gable."

And he said, "Yes, and you're Judy."

And then my mother came around the corner and she said, "Oh, I see you two have met." And I was -- I said goodbye, and I started to go to my room and my mother said, "No, wait. Stay and talk to Mr. Gable." And at 15 I thought, what am I going to say to Mr. Gable? But I did, and I stayed in the living room and he and I talked, and he asked me about my life. And I told him about my school and a romance I was having, and we talked for about a half hour. And then he left, but before he left, I walked him to front door. And before he left he bent down and kissed me on the forehead, and walked out of my life. And I didn't know he was my father at that time. Not until many years later.

KING: When your fiance said this to you, did you go through with the marriage?

J. LEWIS: Oh, yes, I did. Yes, yes. I didn't ask my mother. I called the priest...

KING: Did not.

J. LEWIS: Did not. I called the priest that was marrying us, and I...

KING: Your mother a very devout Catholic.

J. LEWIS: Oh, yes.

KING: To her death.

J. LEWIS: To her death, indeed.

KING: So you called the priest.

J. LEWIS: I called the priest, and I said, "Father, I just learned the most incredible news, and I'm going to confront my mother."

And he said, "Don't. She won't tell you." So I didn't, until probably 10 years later.

KING: How did she hide a pregnancy? You've investigated this over the years.

J. LEWIS: Oh, absolutely, and 10 years later I did confront her, and she did tell me the whole story. So...

KING: She admitted it to you.

J. LEWIS: Oh, yes.

KING: Did she ever admit it publicly?

J. LEWIS: Never, no. And when she told me that Clark Gable was my father and that she was my mother, and they fell in love on "Call of the Wild," the film they did together, she made me promise that I wouldn't tell anybody, that I would keep the secret between us. Which was very hard to do, I must say.

KING: Why, at that point, with Clark gone, was so it important to her?

J. LEWIS: I don't know, Larry. I think...

KING: I mean, no one would have condemned her.

J. LEWIS: I don't think she was sure of that. I think she was probably afraid that people would -- that they would judge her. And she, you know, she kept it a secret till her death.

KING: We'll be right back with Judy Lewis. She wrote a book about it, another book came out about her mother. We'll talk about that and lots of other things. Don't go away.


CLARK GABLE, ACTOR: I only have one question, and I only want one answer.

LORETTA YOUNG, ACTOR: You know the answer.

GABLE: I don't want to know the answer. I want to have the answer.




GABLE: You don't want to marry a guy like me.

YOUNG: Oh, yes, I do! If you want me...

GABLE: Honey, I want you more than -- if I thought for one minute...

YOUNG: What?

GABLE: Nothing. I've already thought.

YOUNG: Oh, Steve...

GABLE: Will it work? We're different, you know. Different in every way. Socially, economically politically.

YOUNG: But lovingly, we're doing just fine.


KING: We're back with Judy Lewis. Of course, Judy, at the time of this dalliance, now, Clark Gable was married.

J. LEWIS: Yes, he was.

KING: A "dalliance." There's a word...

J. LEWIS: Yes, I like that word.

KING: He was married to Rhea Langham, right? He was 34 and your mother was 22.

J. LEWIS: She was, yes.

KING: What did she tell you this was like? Was this just like a whirlwind thing, or was it purely passion?

J. LEWIS: They fell very much in love, is what she said. And she was shocked when she was pregnant, because in those days -- it's not like Hollywood today. It was a whole different time of life, where all the stars, on the contracts that they had with the studios, there was a morals clause in their contracts. And had she made it public that she was pregnant with me, she would have lost her career, and probably my father, too. So she had to keep it secret.

KING: Being a devout Catholic, she wasn't going to have an abortion.

J. LEWIS: No, absolutely not. That was out.

KING: Yeah, and today that would be commonplace. You just -- people, I guess, have abortions today in similar...

J. LEWIS: I guess they do, but my mother would never do that.

KING: Did Gable think of divorcing to marry her?

J. LEWIS: As my mother told me, yes. He left Rhea when he found out that my mother was pregnant, and they separated. And he stayed separated.

KING: Did they see each other?

J. LEWIS: Yes, they kept trying to see each other. And my mother was so terrified that people would see them together and would put two and two together, that she kept telling him to go away go away, go away. And finally, he said, "What can I do?"

She said, "Leave town." So he did. He went on a publicity tour to South America. And she went away also. She went to Europe for a short period of time, and then she came back, quietly, into Hollywood and she went to a little house in Venice, California that she owned, and that is where I was born. In that little house.

KING: So, who knew about it at that time? Very few people?

J. LEWIS: Only my mother and her mother and the doctor that delivered me and a nurse that was there. And the immediate family. Nobody else.

KING: Of course, she told Clark.

J. LEWIS: Oh, yes, he did know, yes.


J. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: This has come down often. Why not take a DNA and just show it? Haven't people asked you that?

J. LEWIS: Yes, they have. I would never think of that.

KING: Why?

J. LEWIS: My mother's word is all I need. And my face -- look at me.

KING: Well, you are obviously Loretta Young's daughter. To say you were adopted, that ain't going to play.

J. LEWIS: No, it isn't.

KING: There's even a little Gable in there I guess, although John Clark Gable, the son of Clark Gable from another marriage, gave us a statement in which he said:

"My father said he had no other children and my father's word is good enough for me."

J. LEWIS: Good for him.

KING: So, his father's word is good enough for him, and your mother's word is good enough for you, one of you is wrong. Do you know John Clark Gable?

J. LEWIS: Yes, we met. We met twice.

KING: What was that like?

J. LEWIS: The first time I met him was at a film of "Gone With The Wind," and I knew who he was. But he didn't know who he was. And the second time we met, we had dinner, and I gave him the book. And that was it. I have never heard from him since.

KING: Your book came out when?

J. LEWIS: 1994.

KING: I remember when it came out.

J. LEWIS: Yes, you interviewed me.

KING: Back then, you were on this show.

J. LEWIS: Yes, I was.

KING: And you were also bumped once from the show.

J. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: I remember that too. That happens in life.

J. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: But we did have you on. You were a wonderful guest.

J. LEWIS: Thank you.

KING: Now, what about that other book that came out, I guess, more recently called the unauthorized -- was it "Forever Young"?

J. LEWIS: "Forever Young," it was authorized. It's an authorized biography of mom. And she spoke to the writer for about a year, two or three years before she died.

KING: And (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or not admitting it.

J. LEWIS: No. She does admit that I'm her daughter in the book.

KING: And that Gable is the father.

J. LEWIS: Yes. Unfortunately, the book came out after she died, but it is out.

KING: So, there was speculation that the book may not have had the interview with your mother. Your mother has spoken to this writer, and she told you.

J. LEWIS: Yes. It's an authorized...

KING: She is gone, Gable is gone, and the doctor is gone.

J. LEWIS: Right.

KING: So it is just the word of your mother.

J. LEWIS: Yes, good enough for me.

KING: I knew your mother.

J. LEWIS: I know you did, Larry, I know.

KING: Your mother did not lie.


KING: I don't think she was capable of lying.

J. LEWIS: Not about this, anyway.

KING: Back with more of Judy Lewis growing up with Loretta Young, right after this. .



CLARK GABLE: I want to see if somewhere there isn't something left in life of charm and grace. You know what I'm talking about?

VIVIEN LEIGH: No. I only know that I love you.

GABLE: That is your misfortune.

LEIGH: Rhett! Rhett! If you go, where should I go? What should I do?

GABLE: Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.


KING: We're back with Judy Lewis. How did Loretta Young present you? In other words, one day you are there?



I was 17 months old, and she presented me to the world through Louella Parsons, who at the time was a very famous and popular columnist.

KING: Sure was.

J. LEWIS: And a very powerful lady.

KING: So, Louella broke the story that she had adopted...

J. LEWIS: Two little girls, was the first story. And then a week later, the story came that one of the mothers of the little girls wanted the little girl back so my mother gave the little girl back. There weren't two little girls; there was just one little girl, and that was me.

KING: So, for how long did you think you were adopted?

J. LEWIS: You know, Larry, it is hard -- it is hard to answer that question.

KING: It is so weird. The maternal instinct, you would think, most people who adopt children -- it's a wonderful thing to be adopted, maybe one of the great things in the world because you were chosen, that is great.

J. LEWIS: That is right.

KING: You know, the adopted baby always wonders, who is my real mother.

J. LEWIS: I did the same thing.

KING: And your mother knows she is your real mother. Why not tell you?

J. LEWIS: I don't know. That was her choice. KING: When she finally did tell you, did you ask her why she didn't?

J. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: And?

J. LEWIS: She said that she didn't want anybody to know the truth, that this was our secret together, and that I should keep it.

KING: And you did.

J. LEWIS: And I did.

KING: Why did you finally break it?

J. LEWIS: Well, I have a daughter. And my daughter was married, and I have grandsons, two grandsons, and, it went -- the secret went through generation to generation to generation. And I just couldn't live with that.

I also didn't have any legal documents that stated that Judy Lewis existed in the world. So I had to state who I was once and for all. And that was the reason for the book.

KING: There was no adoption papers.

J. LEWIS: No, of course not.

KING: How did your mother react to the book?

J. LEWIS: Oh, well, you know how my mother reacted. We did not speak to each other for 12 long years. She was very upset.

KING: And let you know she was upset.

J. LEWIS: Oh, indeed. Mom was not quiet.

KING: You knew you had upset her?

J. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: Didn't that bother you?

J. LEWIS: Of course. But stating my story, owning who I was, was far more important to me.

KING: What finally brought you back with her?

J. LEWIS: Well, it was a sad way to come back, but it happened through the deaths of our family members. She lost her older sister, first, in January, Polly Ann (ph) died, then a couple months later, her husband John Lewis died. And then her other sister, Sally Foster, died, and then her brother, my uncle, Jack, died.

KING: All elderly, right? J. LEWIS: Oh, yeah, and all from cancer strangely enough, except John Lewis, and that happens within about a year and a half period of time. And we kept seeing each other at funerals, which was extremely difficult, for both of us.

KING: She didn't acknowledge you.

J. LEWIS: Oh, yes, she did at the funeral, but we had not spoken, other than at funerals. And after her husband died, she asked me to come down to Palm Springs, where she was living and said maybe we can heal this breach between us.

And we made an effort, but it didn't work. And then a couple months later, that year, in Christmastime, she called me and said, would you come down for Christmas? And I said, well, I'm going to spend Christmas with my daughter, but I will come down before, and I did. And we did heal our relationship and we had three lovely years together before she died.

KING: Was she a loving grandmother?

J. LEWIS: No. Not really.


J. LEWIS: Well, my daughter is very far away. She's 3,000 miles away.

KING: But she met her, didn't she?

J. LEWIS: Oh, yes sure. When she was young she was there for her, yes. Yes, they had a nice time together. Maria married -- after she went to college she married in Philadelphia, so she didn't see much of my mother.

KING: That's your only child?

J. LEWIS: That is my only child, yes.

KING: Did you get along with her husband, Mr. Lewis, whose name you took?

J. LEWIS: No. Not at all.

KING: We will pick that up in a minute. My guest is Judy Lewis --this would make quite a movie.

J. LEWIS: Yes, it would.

KING: We will be right back with Judy Lewis right after this.


KING: We are back with Judy Lewis in this incredible tale. How did your mother react to the fact that you and your stepfather didn't get along? J. LEWIS: I think it disturbed mom a lot. She did her best to protect me from him.

KING: Was he a someone who harmed you?

J. LEWIS: No. He didn't harm me. He just was emotionally a little bit abusive. I don't think he ever knew who I was, and I don't think my mother ever told him.

KING: So you think he believed you were adopted?

J. LEWIS: I'm not sure what he believed, to be honest with you. But he really, at one point, he said to my brothers she is not part of our family. She is adopted. So perhaps that was what was wrong.

KING: Your brothers were from the marriage of Lewis...

J. LEWIS: ... and my mother, yes.

KING: They how many children?

J. LEWIS: Two.

KING: Two.

J. LEWIS: Two boys.

KING: And they're your half brothers?

J. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: Do you get along with them?

J. LEWIS: Yes, I do.

KING: Do they believe your story?

J. LEWIS: Yes, they do.

KING: Your mother may have told them, too, right?

J. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: How did that marriage end, the Lewis-Young marriage?

J. LEWIS: Not well. They separated for a while and then eventually they were divorced. Tom went to New York, and my mother stayed here on the West Coast.

KING: Did she have a difficulty being Catholic and divorcing, since it's against the faith.

J. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: Well, it's against the faith to remarry.

J. LEWIS: That is correct.

KING: Not to be divorced, right?

J. LEWIS: Well...

KING: I think that's the...

J. LEWIS: ... you can be divorced but you can't remarry once you're divorced.

KING: That is what I meant, but she did remarry, later in life.

J. LEWIS: After Tom died, yes. She married Jean Louis.

KING: You can marry after the death...

J. LEWIS: Correct.

KING: Because she was very catholic.

J. LEWIS: Yes, she was.

KING: She went to mass...

J. LEWIS: Every day.

KING: Every day.

J. LEWIS: Yes, she did.

KING: Larry: why did she leave the business?

J. LEWIS: I think she got surprised that she left the business, to be honest with you. Her television series finished, went on for 10 years and then there was another series after that that went on for one year, and that was canceled, and she was 50.

KING: And a beautiful 50.

J. LEWIS: Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous.

KING: Gorgeous in 80s.

J. LEWIS: Yes, she was. And, I think she was surprised that she didn't work after that. It wasn't that she planned to retire, it just happened.

KING: You mean, the business retired her, she didn't get offers?

J. LEWIS: No, she really didn't. She went -- she had a good time. She went traveling. She said she'd never traveled before in her life. She'd gotten up at 4:00 in the morning and went to the studio since she was 6 years old, so she took some time off. And, eventually, she did two films, maybe 10, 15, years after her series. But that was it. And she really didn't miss it.

KING: What -- take us to the scene where she finally tells you the conditions of your birth.


KING: And how that hit you.

J. LEWIS: I was on a soap opera in New York.

KING: Which one?

J. LEWIS: "The Secret Storm."

KING: "The Secret Storm."

J. LEWIS: "The Secret Storm." And I had a few days leeway in there and my mother had told me she was going to go out of the country for a year. She was going to take a year off and travel around the world. And I was at a point in my life that I needed to know the truth. So I found about five days in my schedule and I flew to Los Angeles and she picked me up at the airport, and we had dinner together.

And somebody was there at dinner so I couldn't ask her at dinner. And then after dinner we went into her bedroom and she turned on the television and she knew why I was there. And I said, mom, I really have something that I want to talk to you about. She said never mind, never mind. We will watch this movie and the movie ended and finally it was about 3:00 in the morning, and I said to her, mom, this is important, I need to talk to you.

And she excused herself and went into the bathroom got stock her stomach, poor little thing. And then she came out and I sat her down and I said now, mom, I have to ask you this: Is Clark Gable my father? And she said yes. And then we spent the rest of that morning -- I heard about how she met him on the film and how they fell in love how she was pregnant and how she had to hide her pregnancy, and the whole story came out. And we talked until dawn.

KING: At the moment she finally said it, what did Judy Lewis feel?

J. LEWIS: Relieved, finally after all those years, I was in my 30s. I waited until my 30s to confront her.

KING: Why do people still question it? There are some.

J. LEWIS: Why do you ?

KING: Well, I'm asking questions, but I look at I mean it is just -- I know your mother and if your mother told you, you know.

J. LEWIS: It is all I need. That's all I need. You see, it took me as long as it did after my fiance told me because I wouldn't believe it either until I heard it from my mother's mouth. And when she told me, then I knew.

KING: Back with more of Judy Lewis, the daughter of Loretta Young, and Clark Gable after this.


KING: Judy Lewis's book, by the way, was "Uncommon Knowledge" and the book, I misspoke and said unauthorized. It was an authorized biography called "Forever Young" and that was published in 2000. In the book the author writes that Loretta Young did admit to this. Did she -- did you notice through the years her interest in Gable? For example, when Gable died suddenly of a heart attack?

J. LEWIS: Nothing. I had no reaction from her.

KING: Were you with your mother when he died?

J. LEWIS: Oh, I was, yes. He had his heart attack on my 25th birthday. He had just finished "The Misfits," and I had dinner, a birthday dinner with my mother and there was nothing. She said absolutely nothing about it.

KING: He died that day?

J. LEWIS: No. He had his heart attack on my 25th birthday and he died on my daughter's first birthday.

KING: His grand daughter.

J. LEWIS: His granddaughter, whom he never knew.

KING: And your mother said...

J. LEWIS: Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

KING: Didn't cry?

J. LEWIS: Nothing, nothing.

KING: Did she go to the Gable funeral?

J. LEWIS: No, not at all, hmm mm.

KING: Done two movies with him. Would have been logical to go to the funeral.

J. LEWIS: It would have, but she didn't.

KING: You think it was because stories would have erupted had she attended the funeral?

J. LEWIS: Yes, sure. I think so.

KING: Because Gable eventually had that great romance with Carol Lombard.

J. LEWIS: Oh, indeed he did.

KING: And then she would die. A lot of tragedy here. J. LEWIS: Yes, there is.

KING: And your mother outlives it all?

J. LEWIS: Nobody wins. Everybody loses.

KING: And how does Judy Lewis feel? You know, do you feel adopted? Because you'd been told all those years you were adopted.

J. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: You were in school, you told friends, I'm adopted.

J. LEWIS: Well, that is a wonderful story. I had a friend in high school, Mary Frances Griffin, whose mother was Irene Dunn, and she was adopted, and so she said to me one day, she said, how come you look like your mother. She said, I'm adopted and I don't look like my mother.

So I went home said to my mother, how come I look like you, mom, if I'm adopted. And she said without a breath, well, you have my mannerisms, and we live in the same house together. Mom had all the answers all the time. She diverted me, always.

KING: Did you constantly ask, who is my mother? Who is my real mother? I want to meet her.

J. LEWIS: Yes, my mother said that I kept asking her because when I finally heard the truth, I said well, mom, did I come to you and say I want to meet my real mother. I want to find my real mother. I want to know my father. She said, you used to do it all the time.

KING: And what did she tell you?

J. LEWIS: She just would divert me. I was easily diverted I guess. She always answered with, I couldn't love you any more than if you were my own child.

KING: Do you think, Judy, it was morals clause in the contract, or the Catholicism?

J. LEWIS: It was both. It was both.

KING: Because in this day and age.

J. LEWIS: Oh, I know.

KING: I mean, come on. She could have gone on this show and talked about it and the world would have thought none less of her.

J. LEWIS: I know that but she didn't know that.

KING: It is a different world.

J. LEWIS: She didn't know that. She felt -- I'm presuming -- she felt she would be judged. KING: Were you near your mother when she passed?

J. LEWIS: I was, yes.

KING: How did she die, peacefully? One hopes.

J. LEWIS: Thank god she did, yes.

KING: She had cancer?

J. LEWIS: She did. And nobody should have to go through that.

KING: Did she have pain?

J. LEWIS: Yes, terrible ordeal. And she finally was able to leave the hospital and go to her sister's house, Georgianna Montalban, and that is where she died very peacefully, thank God.

KING: Were you were with her?

J. LEWIS: I was, yes. Not at the end. I was able that night to...

KING: At the bedside?

J. LEWIS: Yes, to kiss her and tell her I loved her. And she died about five hours later.

KING: Did her faith ever waiver?

J. LEWIS: Never.

KING: Not during the pain either?

J. LEWIS: No. Never. Actually, she said she wanted to go home.

KING: Did you like her second husband?

J. LEWIS: Jean Louis, he was wonderful.

KING: I met him. He was...

J. LEWIS: Oh, he was so sweet, dear man.

KING: He was in his 90s, right, when...

J. LEWIS: No, not that old. He was 85, I think, when they married and she was 82 or -3, something like that. Courageous, I must say, to marry at that age.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) go sign a 30-year mortgage, right?

J. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: But she died peacefully?

J. LEWIS: Yes, she did.

KING: And no words at the end about Gable?


KING: Would you think, as you reflect back, that he was the love of her life? Or did she love Mr. Lewis very much even though you didn't like him?

J. LEWIS: No. I once asked my mother what was the biggest regret in her life. And she said the biggest regret was not getting your father to marry me. So I think my father was the love of her life.

KING: Did Gable try to marry her? He got -- he separated from his wife. Did they ever make an attempt at working at it?

J. LEWIS: She...

KING: She could have married him, he was divorced.

J. LEWIS: Exactly, exactly. And strangely enough they were both catholic. You see, they both had been married out of the church. Mom had been married before out of the church. So they could have gotten married as Catholics. She was so terrified that her pregnancy would be discovered that she kept pushing him away, and Carol was there, too.

KING: So, she regretted that?

J. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: Of course you think they would have married?

J. LEWIS: I would liked them to have, but that is just my dream, you know. Life is very strange. Doesn't give us at we want.

KING: As you have read "The Life Of Gable," are there are aspects of him in you? I mean you've got genes from both.

J. LEWIS: Yes, I do.

KING: Are there qualities of your personality as you read his life?

J. LEWIS: I like to think that I have his sense of humor. I love his comedies. I love his humor. It's lovely. He was warm and looked at life with a very sweet outlook.

KING: And no one like him.

J. LEWIS: I beg your pardon.

KING: There's no one like him.

J. LEWIS: Oh, no not today. KING: You can't see someone today and say, that is like Gable.


KING: We'll be back with Judy Lewis right after this.


KING: We are back with Judy Lewis. When you went into acting, did your mother like that?

J. LEWIS: Not particularly, no.

KING: Did she think the stories would come out? Or didn't like the career for you?

J. LEWIS: I don't know. Really, I think -- I think it is a mixture of both. I think she wanted me to stay away from the industry, because she knew that there were some -- it was difficult, it is a difficult life. And she had been it in since she was a youngster.

KING: A child.

J. LEWIS: Yes, a youngster. She did her first movie when she 6, and her first starring role when she was 16. I think she wanted me to have a normal, easy going life, and, acting is not that. I loved it I loved the time I was acting.

KING: You grew up in L.A..

J. LEWIS: Yeah.

KING: Went to high school.

J. LEWIS: Yes. Marymount Girls Catholic School.

KING: Normal friends.

J. LEWIS: Absolutely.

KING: Why did you leave acting?

J. LEWIS: It got to a point, I was divorced, I was living in -- Connecticut. And I came back to California with my daughter and I was a single mom. And so I was of an age where I wasn't being hired as an actress. And so I went behind the camera.

KING: And?

J. LEWIS: And I produced a soap opera, went back to New York, a new soap opera for NBC and Procter & Gamble called "Texas."

KING: I remember "Texas." You produced that?

J. LEWIS: I did, yeah, I loved it. It was a lot of fun. KING: Procter & Gamble financed that.

J. LEWIS: Yes, they owned it with NBC.

KING: Did you like producing?

J. LEWIS: I loved it. I loved it. It was lot of fun. And I had all background you see of my work as an actress on to give to producing.

KING: And then you did Broadway, too, right?

J. LEWIS: I did Broadway, two years on Broadway.

KING: Doing what?

J. LEWIS: A show called "Mary, Mary", a Jean Kerr comedy.

KING: That was a hit.

J. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: Walter, her husband couldn't review it, because...

J. LEWIS: I didn't know that. He wouldn't do it?

KING: Did you have a good time?

J. LEWIS: I loved it. I loved theater. There is nothing like it.

KING: We will be back with more of Judy Lewis on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE, right after this.


KING: We're back with Judy Lewis. You grew up in a lot of children of stars, right? Or children of producers.

J. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: The Hollywood kind of crowd.

J. LEWIS: Hollywood crowd.

KING: Did adoption play a factor in that to you?


KING: Were you treated differently?

J. LEWIS: not at all.

KING: I imagine there about were other adoptees.

J. LEWIS: There were. KING: But it was not strange to be...

J. LEWIS: Not at all. We were all, we were like a family, all of us.

KING: Spoiled?

J. LEWIS: Sure. Of course.

KING: My God, you saw actors and actress coming into the house. Did you go to the set?

J. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: Watch your mother work.

J. LEWIS: Yes, I loved that. Yeah.

KING: That had to be -- all those famous high schools here, Hollywood High, Fairfax High, where all the kids -- I mean, it's a distorted view of life, isn't it?

J. LEWIS: I think so.

KING: It's not real world.

J. LEWIS: No it isn't. No, it is make-believe.

KING: So it is harder to go out into the world.

J. LEWIS: I think so, yes.

KING: Do you have to deal with that as a therapist at times?

J. LEWIS: Well, I always check out what is fantasy and what is reality. The people don't have to come from Hollywood. Many people -- a lot of people live in a fantasy life. So I'm always checking.

KING: Your daughter is married.

J. LEWIS: She is married, very happily married.

KING: Has children.

J. LEWIS: Yes, I have two grandsons.

KING: Does she feel like the granddaughter of Clark Gable?

J. LEWIS: I don't think so. I have never asked her that. I will.

KING: And, therefore, the great grandchildren of Gable and Young.

J. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: Are around.

J. LEWIS: Yes, they are indeed they are.

KING: Are any of these kids looking like either one of their grandparents?

J. LEWIS: No, I don't think so.

KING: Is your daughter happy?

J. LEWIS: Very happy. Thank God. Yes, she married a sweetheart of a guy, they are in Philadelphia, they love it. They have a very full rich life.

KING: Did she come in for Loretta's passing?

J. LEWIS: She did. Yes, I was glad to have her, too. It was a difficult time.

KING: Is Loretta buried in Palm Springs?

J. LEWIS: No she is in Los Angeles, she is buried with her mother. That is what she wanted.

KING: You are in good health?

J. LEWIS: Yes, sir, thank God.

KING: As you look back, what a story, huh?

J. LEWIS: It is a story.

KING: Have you talked to people about doing a movie of this? I mean, everybody is gone now.

J. LEWIS: Sure.

KING: This would be a natural...

J. LEWIS: Yes, I would like it to be a film, a good one.

KING: You have to find the right people.

J. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: What a story. Growing up in a secret. I guess you would advise people now as a therapist, tell the truth.

J. LEWIS: No secrets, please.

KING: Tell the children the truth.

J. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: No matter what the story.

J. LEWIS: No family secrets, please, it is deadly.

KING: Thank you, Judy.

J. LEWIS: Pleasure.

KING: Always good seeing you.

J. LEWIS: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Judy Lewis, the daughter of Loretta Young and Clark Gable. We will spend our remaining moments talking with Judy Lewis's half- brother, Peter Lewis. How has he dealt with the whispers involving his mother and Judy's parentage. Stay tuned.


KING: We have spent most of the show with Judy Lewis. We thought it appropriate we ask Peter Lewis, her half-brother, to come in and join us, the son as well as the legendary actress Loretta Young.

Do you believe what Judy says that she is?


KING: But your mother -- did your mother ever say that to you?

P. LEWIS: Yes.

KING: Tell me the circumstances.

P. LEWIS: Finally, it was, I think on Mother's Day, I forget the year, but, I had been staying with Judy and we went over to cook some Mother's Day dinner and there was a blow-up after dinner, and so mom ran upstairs and I followed her, and tried to console her.

KING: Blow-up between Judy and her?

P. LEWIS: Sort of, after dessert, sort of, I saw it coming, because -- but I didn't expect, you know, see what I saw. Then I ran up and I tried to console her, and, I remember mom looking behind me and Judy was behind her and they had this fight.

And in the context of it, somehow I think what I gathered was that Judy was Clark Gable's daughter and then, I think a week later, I came to see mom, and I went upstairs -- she was taking a nap and she sat on her bed and I remember her, with the light coming through her sewing room door, just how her hair was, and she was talking about it. It was very sad.

KING: And you thought then that your half-sister was adopted.

P. LEWIS: I did. Everybody did.

KING: All those years. Your father, too? P. LEWIS: My father never believed her father was Clark Gable. Ever. Even though we told him, look, I was there, I heard it, he said...

KING: Why do you think she didn't ever say it?

P. LEWIS: Because it was politically -- it would have been destructive, I think as an example, you know, she thought of herself as an example. You know, always, you know, tried to, you know, to give people something positive, and I think that is -- at that point it was a mistake. She thought it was a mistake.

KING: Today, that probably wouldn't happen, right?

P. LEWIS: Today, it doesn't matter. See?

KING: So did you talk to her after learning this? Did you talk to her a lot about Clark Gable? I mean, there is one of the fascinating people in the American history of film.

P. LEWIS: I think -- we were watching, "Key To The City" once, and you know, you could tell, because there was a lot of love scenes -- and I think the funniest thing I heard -- not strange, not funny. really or strange because it made perfect sense. She told me before she died that the only time things were real to her was when they said "roll them" and then the rest of the time it was an act: acting like a mom, acting like a wife, whatever it was.

KING: Really?

P. LEWIS: I thought that made perfect sense to me. But I think she said that before we watched that -- we were watching the movie one night in Palm Springs and I was thinking, if that is true, then she really loved this guy, you know because there was this love scene where it was....

KING: He hurt her, apparently. He wanted to get divorced or something to marry her.

P. LEWIS: Yeah.

KING: They were supposedly talking about that. What was the toll do you think this took on the family in retrospect?

P. LEWIS: I think it was the toll it took on Judy, the main issue. It would have been difficult. I remember getting home after that scene at mom's house on Mother's Day and we talked about it, and she was "inconsulate," just profoundly -- now, I think she loves her father, but she is like him, I think.

KING: Looks like him.

P. LEWIS: Looks like him, and, is heroic like that. Like, he always portrayed to me these heroic characters.

KING: Does your other brother believe as well? P. LEWIS: Sure.

KING: Everybody. Those who doubt now, are just what?

P. LEWIS: Doubters.

KING: There is no doubt in your mind.

P. LEWIS: No. No.

KING: Judy though, won't take a DNA test.

P. LEWIS: Well.

KING: She said she doesn't have to prove it.

P. LEWIS: Maybe she doesn't. I think it is -- I know it is true, my mother told me it's true. She wouldn't have wanted to admit that if it was a lie. She spent her whole life covering it up.

KING: That would not be something you would admit.

P. LEWIS: Not if you thought it wasn't giving people a good example which I think was her reason for not doing it.

KING: Were you upset with Judy's book?

P. LEWIS: No. I thought it was great.

KING: Your mother was?

P. LEWIS: Yes, well, she thought of it as a betrayal. She asked Judy not to have to saying anything, I think, but that was a conundrum for Judy because she has a right to say it. If she knows something and it is true and she wants to share it with the world, why shouldn't she say it?

KING: We read earlier the statement by Clark Gable's son John that Clark had told him he never had any other children.

P. LEWIS: Well, why would he? You know, if he wasn't like proud of it? And maybe, that is what it was, how do I know? I wasn't there. You know, maybe I would have done the same thing, you know, I think maybe my mom was more inclined to tell the truth about that for some reason. Although I didn't know Clark Gable, I'm sure...

KING: As a youngster, did you ever ask your mom what she knew about Judy's parents?

P. LEWIS: No. It was just -- we were just kids together. You know.

KING: When you were born, there were already was a Judy, right?

P. LEWIS: Yeah, sure, Judy was 11.

KING: What kind of big sister was she?

P. LEWIS: She was great, beautiful. You know, the girl everybody would want to date and there's tons of guys, I remember, always coming over there. Congressman Bob Dornan, you know?

KING: Bob Dornan?

P. LEWIS: He used to date Judy.

KING: Wow, that is new to us.

P. LEWIS: Marlon Brando took her out one time. I remember him coming to the house on Florence.

KING: What do you do, Peter?

P. LEWIS: I'm a musician.

KING: Playing in...

P. LEWIS: I come from a group in San Francisco, Moby Grape from the 60s, Jefferson Airplane and all those people.

KING: You were with the Moby Grapes?

P. LEWIS: Moby Grape.

KING: Were you treated differently because of this do you think? Do you think -- did Judy get treated differently than you?

P. LEWIS: She was always a step removed from us, because when my father showed up, it was a different ball game. I think Judy felt like Cinderella, which is -- when I think of it now, she does what it seemed like.

She was there, but I remember home moves of us going to some place, San Francisco with my dad and mom and Judy was kind of waving good-bye in her Catholic girl school uniform. It was sad. When I look at it now, some of it is very sad, now that I know.

KING: Your father passed away, didn't he?

P. LEWIS: He did.

KING: What did he think of Judy?

P. LEWIS: I think he and Judy -- he loved Judy. But I think Judy and he had their -- issues, you know. And because dad came sort of like, oh, all of a sudden Judy didn't have mom's undivided attention.

KING: Always happens.

P. LEWIS: She was with mom at her absolute heyday. When it was like living in a fairy tale and being this princess.

KING: Were you with your mom when she passed?

P. LEWIS: No. I was playing music in Northern California, but I was there right before she went over to her aunt's -- my aunt's house.

KING: She was some lady, wasn't she?

P. LEWIS: Oh, boy, yeah. She sure was.

KING: You inherited a lot of her looks.

P. LEWIS: Well, thank you.

KING: Here's to your compliment.

P. LEWIS: Thanks very much.

KING: You handled this very well, Peter.

P. LEWIS: Thank you.

KING: Peter Lewis, the half-brother of Judy Lewis, our guest earlier. Thanks very much for joining us. We'll see you tomorrow night with another edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Stay tuned for "CNN TONIGHT." From Los Angeles, good night.