Robert Taylor’s legacy has been nearly erased by those on the left who, even to this day, cannot forgive Taylor and other men and women who opposed international communism. Mr. Taylor’s contribution was to speak out when doing so was physically and professionally dangerous. Through the Screen Actors Guild, the Motion Picture Alliance for American Ideals and the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings he made clear his opposition to the Soviet goal of world domination. He also campaigned for like-minded political candidates. Robert Taylor was a close friend of Ronald Reagan and very likely influenced the future President Reagan’s move from liberal Democrat to Conservative Republican. This three part article attempts to clear away the misunderstandings regarding Mr. Taylor and his opposition to communism and its consequences.
I am not the first to do this. Linda J. Alexander’s excellent book Reluctant Witness: Robert Taylor, Hollywood and Communism (Tease Press, 2008) covers the subject in great detail. I highly recommend the book. Nonetheless, the ideas in this article are mine and Ms. Alexander is in no way responsible for my views nor for any errors.
Hollywood has an obligation, I believe, to atone for its treatment of Mr. Taylor. I would suggest an honorary Oscar for life achievement or an American Film Institute Life Achievement Award like that given to Barbara Stanwyck in 1987. Even without the political aspect, Mr. Taylor’s films merit either or both of these awards.
Love watching Robert Taylor films although I consider his style as stiff as any tin man actor of his gen. HUAC and it’s ilk were a stain on America’s history. This article leads with RT speaking out about communism at a time when it was “dangerous to him”. That’s laughable! The hundreds perhaps thousands of innocent Americans who’s lives were RUINED by these witch hunt conservatives shows how any party given enough power will seek to corrupt our constitution. The fact that he was party to it’s overreach gives me doubt about his character. Scores of true American Patriots were lost in talent, careers, and even their lives due to these self appointed witch hunters. The political time in which we find ourselves in currently has sparked a flood of ridiculous revisionists who wish to rewrite history to fit their ideology. HUAC and actors like RT and the snitches like Elia Kazan and others may have had great filmography but they were no American Patriots. Check out John Garfield’s war record and then what HUAC did to him. Then check out John Wayne’s “lack” of a war record and his involvement in HUAC! I do not hold grudges with any actor for or against HUAC and I enjoy the work of all but the real disaster to American culture is the loss of what those men and women could of continued to achieve if only the power hungry fear mongers had been stopped as they should of been in our democracy. With that said, RT’s films have always been enjoyable but Knowing his involvement in this stain of American history causes me to rethink his character.
I completely disagree with you but you are entitled to your opinion. Judith
I totally agree with your excellent series of articles regarding Robert Taylor and Communism. It is a great pity that more people do face facts on this whole issue, instead of glossing over the threat of communism in Hollywood.
You are so right, Jeffrey. Look at what Russia is up to now–and China–and the Hollywood “useful idiots” are running around supporting the enemy. Thanks for writing, Judith.