Robert Taylor: Lowest Salary?

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.

It better be more than $35 a week next time!

$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.

About giraffe44

I became a Robert Taylor fan at the age of 15 when his TV show, "The Detectives" premiered. My mother wanted to watch it because she remembered Mr. Taylor from the thirties. I took one look and that was it. I spent the rest of my high school career watching Robert Taylor movies on late night TV, buying photos of him, making scrapbooks and being a typical teenager. College, marriage and career intervened. I remember being sad when Mr. Taylor died. I mailed two huge scrapbooks to Ursula Thiess. I hope she got them. Time passed, retirement, moving to Florida. Then in 2012 my husband Fred pointed that there were two Robert Taylor movies that evening on Turner Classic Movies--"Ivanhoe" and "Quentin Durward." I watched both and it happened all over again. I started this blog both for fans and for people who didn't know about Robert Taylor. As the blog passes 200,000 views I'm delighted that so many people have come by and hope it will help preserve the legacy of this fine actor and equally good man.
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