How Eddie Mannix Became The Fixer Of Old Hollywood
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This was 1935, and the idea of an unwed woman becoming pregnant was considered scandalous. So, Mannix and Strickling concocted a two-year plan that involved sending Young away, telling the media first that she was on vacation, but later, when her absence persisted, that she had fallen ill. Strickling eventually had an extremely pregnant sit down — or, rather, lay down — for an interview with a journalist that was also a good friend of his, per Atlas Obscura. Young laid in bed for the interview, and Strickling meticulously arranged pillows to hide her pregnant stomach. This was Hollywood after all, so there was some showiness to the whole affair. To hammer home the idea of Young being sick, a nurse was brought in to swap out fake I.V. bags.

Young eventually gave birth to a healthy baby girl, who was then kept at a house in Venice Beach, California, before she was placed in an orphanage. Young announced her intentions to adopt two orphans, but eventually one of the adoptions (the one of the non-existent second child) fell through. She officially adopted the girl — her own biological daughter — and the possible scandal was behind both Young and MGM. Young revealed the truth to her daughter in 1966, but Mannix and Strickling’s secret ruse was so under wraps that the public wasn’t made aware of until 2000, when Young discussed it in her posthumous memoir, according to Buzzfeed News.

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