Robert Taylor: Vitality is The American Look

Robert Taylor: Vitality is the American Look
Chicago Tribune, March 20, 1963
Robert Taylor, guest columnist for Arlene Dahl, stars in Cattle King
Let’s Be Beautiful (column name)


Robert Taylor and Arlene Dahl in “Ambush,” 1950.

Writing columns is hardly my line of work, but I have always found it difficult to refuse a beautiful woman’s request. So here is my guest column for Arlene Dahl:

In my travels around the world, I have always been aware of how American women enjoy the unique distinction of being immediately identified as such. Across a street, across a room, you don’t have to meet a woman from the united States in order to know that she is from home. Why is this?

I think it is largely a matter of grooming, of the type of clothes she wears, and that assurance that goes with The American Look. There is an air of independence, of vitality and making the very best of what beauty is hers, that is the unique brand of a lady from the states.

Throughout most foreign lands, even in France where woman-worship is something of a cult, The American Look sets a standard of excellence that is anxiously sought after and copied by women in almost every station of life.

It is something of an achievement for the “New World” that in so much of the “Old,” The American Look has become an international status symbol. It is as noticeable in Tokyo as it is in Vienna—and yet the bona-fide States-side female is always recognizable.

Robert Taylor With His Wife

Robert and Ursula Taylor at home, 1963.

Why? I asked my wife Ursula about it. She, a German girl, who acted and modeled in Berlin before she became one of the beauties of the American screen, should be a good authority on the subject. She said that the look is traceable to the awareness that American women have of themselves as such.

Even little girls become aware of the emphasis placed on grooming and beauty here. As she grows up, the social necessity of cleanliness, of skillfully “gilding the lily.” of making the most of what she has in the way of looks, is borne out in every magazine she reads, every contact in life.


Robert Taylor and his well-groomed daughter, 1961.

As she grows up, this becomes a social urge that puts its stamp upon nearly every American woman. Busy as she may be with careers, housework, motherhood and bridge parties, she takes time to dress and groom herself as best she can. Attention to her appearance is almost as important to her as food and drink.

American women have been described as slaves to themselves, and criticized for putting too much emphasis upon what they wear and for the artifices they use to present their best face to the world. But this is an age-old custom which outdates Cleopatra. It probably began when Eve used snake oil as a beauty aid.

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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1 Response to Robert Taylor: Vitality is The American Look

  1. Thanks for finally writing about >Robert Taylor: Vitality is
    The American Look | Robert Taylor Actor <Loved it!


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