There is a consistent misrepresentation in articles about Robert Taylor on the web that he was the lowest paid major MGM player during his career there. Actual data is hard to come by but every source agrees that his initial salary in 1934 was $35 a week, the lowest ever. At this point the studio had no idea what to do with Taylor but wanted to tie him to a contract. According to the New York Times (June 9, 1969) by 1937 Mr. Taylor was being paid ca.
$5,000 a week. Fan reaction had been overwhelming and he was receiving more fan mail than any other popular MGM star in 1937. According to the Quigley Poll, which has ranked box office stars since 1932, the three top stars of 1937 were Shirley Temple, Clark Gable and Robert Taylor. According to a Treasury Department report, in 1937 Clark Gable made over $4,068 a week. (Christopher J. Spicer, Clark Gable, 2002, p. 140). It seems reasonable, therefore that the Times is at least in the right ball park on Taylor’s salary. In another demonstration of MGM’s financial commitment to Taylor, the studio gave him the exclusive use of a $75,000 brand new twin-engine Beechcraft airplane (Mary Ellen Wayne, Robert Taylor the Man with the Perfect Face, 1987, p. 121.) as long as he didn’t fly it alone. Taylor worried a lot about money and financial security for his family and was constantly structuring his pay to avoid as much as possible of an income tax rate as high as 85% in his tax bracket.