Alexander, Linda J. Reluctant Witness: Robert Taylor, Hollywood, and Communism. Tease Publishing, LLC, 2008.
Quirk, Lawrence. The Films of Robert Taylor. Lyle Stuart, 1979.
Thiess, Ursula. …but I have promises to keep. XLibris Corporation, 2007.
Tranberg, Charles. Robert Taylor: a Biography. BearManor Media, 2010.
Wayne, Jane Ellen. Robert Taylor: the Man with the Perfect Face. St. Martin’s Press, 1989.
These books are all worth reading and they are the source of many of the quotations below. Apologies for not citing pages for Tranberg or Alexander. I read them on a Kindle which doesn’t have page numbers.
Edwin Knopf, producer. “Those character traits (normalcy and decency) which are so inbred communicate themselves to the audience. Audiences sense the fine qualities and like them. In addition, he’s a fine artist, a no-nonsense guy who studies his script more thoroughly than any actor I know. (Wayne, p. 206)
Henry Koster, director. “He was really easy to work with, and a wonderful gentleman. The only trouble with him was that he couldn’t give up smoking. He tried and tried and told me the old joke of Mark Twain, about how giving up smoking was easy. Mark Twain had done it twice a week. Robert Taylor tried twice a week, and finally gave up and said he couldn’t help it. He hoped that nothing would happen. But it did happen, and he died. Very young, and a truly nice, charming, handsome man…….Robert Taylor I guess was the handsomest actor there ever was. But he always said, ‘I’m not an actor. I don’t know what I’m doing.’ I’d say, ‘Robert, you did Camille with Greta Garbo.’ He said ‘Believe me, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. But a beautiful director, George Cukor, told me what to do. He acted it and I just copied him, and out came a good performance. You show me what to do and I’ll do it.’ I think Robert Taylor had talent. Maybe he was not a genius like the other great actors, but he grew into a talent. I think you can learn by learning how to relax and not being afraid of the camera. (Tranberg.)
Harry Lauter, actor. “Robert Taylor was a very dear friend of mine, one of the nicest men in the business. I did one of his last pictures (Return of the Gunfighter). He was very ill, and I knew it. They came in on a close-up on me, and they say, ‘We’ll get Mr. Taylor.’ He was lying down in his bungalow, and I said, ‘No, don’t bother him. Let the script girl read the lines.’ I usually liked the actors there—but in this case, and gosh, I looked up and there he was. I said, ‘Bob, you don’t have to.’ He said, ‘No, you deserve the courtesy as an actor for me to be here and read the lines, just as well off camera as on.’ That’s one of the things you don’t get anymore from people. I’ll never forget that.” (Tranberg)
Janet Leigh, actress. “My swan song (with MGM-Rogue Cop) was not too memorable except that it paired me with Robert Taylor. He was a beautiful man, always modest and self-effacing.” (Tranberg)
Robert Loggia, actor. “Bob was an extremely talented artist. He was also the ultimate gentleman and a true professional who followed the rules of the day—arrive on time, know your lines and be willing to do what had to be done to make the picture successful. Here was a guy who could convincingly play the romantic lead opposite Garbo in a picture like Camille and be just as convincing playing a cowboy. Now that’s range, but the critics really never gave him his due.” (Tranberg)
Ed Nelson, actor. “Robert Taylor was one of the few people who was a regular guy who had been under to the studios. Most of them were pampered and acted like it on the set, but not Bob Taylor. When he came to television, he didn’t act like he was too big for the small screen. Many of those film stars were babysat and pampered for years by the studios and would look down their noses when they were working in television, but Taylor was an exception.” (Tranberg)
Lloyd Nolan, actor. “I think Bob Taylor had to fight two things—his great beauty as a man (which he couldn’t help), and his lack of confidence in his talent as an actor.” (Wayne, p. 110)