Robert Taylor Letter To Actress Virginia Grey

This letter from Robert Taylor to Virginia Grey was written in 1952. Ms. Grey was one of his many lady friends between marriages to Barbara Stanwyck and Ursula Thiess. Eleanor Parker, co-star of the film, was another. Given Mr. Taylor’s complaints, she had probably finished up and left the set. The tone of the letter is warm and folksy. The “country boy” spellings are part of a persona Robert Taylor assumed for friends.


ROBERT TAYLOR (letterhead)
March 11 [1952]

Hi Honey–
And thanks for your letter. It was wonderful hearing from you even though you didn’t sound like the happiest, gayest, carefree-est kid in the world when you wrote it. The rough trip may have had something to do with your outlook however; sorry I wasn’t unemployed at the time to give you a free ride on the “Taylor airline.” I find it to be much more reliable and punctual than the Commercial variety and the “crew” is much more anxious to please! If you don’t become a confirmed New Yorker please accept a rain check!


Virginia Grey

This picture continues to be a completely new experience for me. It’s a glowing example of how pictures are, but should not necessarily be, made. Everyone here in Tucson, including the Air Force and Old Man Weather, has finally become disgusted with us and no longer cooperate. We should have been finished here by last Saturday. However, the two Boy Geniuses whom we laughingly [unclear], have wasted so much time and [unclear] that it’s now extremely unlikely that we’ll finish before Thursday next. Today has been an almost complete loss because of weather and it seems disinclined to cooperate.

And it all continues dull! Tucson was never the gayest spot in the world and it keeps [unclear] good eating places are rare [unclear] thing they’ve never even heard of. Our hotel is strictly an Old Ladies Home—every guest is pushing 90 and the biggest concession in town is the one which does the embalming at the El Con. I’m considering opening a Bar in the lobby to sell plasma and intravenous injections.

Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker on the set of "Above and Beyond."

Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker on the set of “Above and Beyond.”

Last Sunday morning Ralph** (my pilot) and I flew into L.A. And returned that night. It was better than sitting around here with nothing to do. And, besides, Ralph was getting a bad “swelling” in the back of his neck; he’d been away from home almost a week and his comb was turning definitely red. I figgered it was time for him to get bred. Unfortunately the “flag” was up at home so he was still frustrated. The secretary who works for Panama and Frank flew down with us and I suspected, even hoped, that he’d score there. However, nothing developed. Me, I ain’t been out with anyone, ain’t even seen anyone to go out with, in a Helluva long time; Gettin’ now so I don’t even miss it. I’m just anxious to finish this friggin’ picture* and get a-goin’ somewhere.

The studio, prior to my leaving for Tucson, sent two scripts for my perusal but they both stank and I turned them down. I naturally won’t know until I get home whether or not the will accept my “no” as final but I’m hoping. In any case, unless I find something more to my liking and assuming they won’t force me to do one of these, I’m still planning on going back to Paris as soon as they give me the “no retake” sign. I’ll probably stay there until something worthwhile comes up—maybe two or three months. I’d like to do another picture during the summer months so that I’ll be free for some hunting and fishing this Fall but it seldom works out that way. Maybe I’ll be lucky this year.

And how goes the battle with you honey? I hope that everything is on the up-grade and that life in New York has started being a little more pleasant for you. It’s a lonely place, I know, but maybe you’ve met some people who can brighten it up for you a bit.

And when will you be home? Or do you know yet? I should finish the picture, unless

The Taylor airline.

The Taylor airline.

something else goes wrong, sometime between March 25th and April 1. It will probably be necessary to stick around here for at least two weeks thereafter so, If you’re home by then, I’ll be seeing you. If not I’ll see you when I go through N.Y. on my way to Europe. In any case I’ll see you—right? Unless, of course, you’ve acquired a new chum by then and want no part of me. I could understand too.!

Anyhow—let me hear from you when you have the time. My address at mother’s is best [unclear]  there will reach me no matter where I might be.

Be good, make [unclear]–and write! And things will be better for me next time we can cook some chow together and listen to a few records at your li’l Plantation In the Valley. Until then—love–

Bob (signature)

*The movie in question is Above and Beyond.
*Ralph Couser, pilot and friend.

Virginia Grey
Born into a show-business family–her father was a director and her mother was a film cutter–Virginia Grey made her film debut at age 10 as Eva in Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1927). After a few more films as a child actress, she left the business to finish her schooling. Returning to films as an adult in the

Virginia Grey

Virginia Grey

1930s, she started out getting extra work and bit parts, but soon graduated to speaking roles and was eventually signed to a contract by MGM. The studio gave her leading parts in “B” pictures and supporting roles in “A” pictures. She left MGM in 1942 and went out on her own, working at almost every studio in Hollywood. She worked steadily in both films and TV, and retired from the business in 1970. – IMDb Mini Biography By:

Ms. Grey died in 2004.

From Jane Ellen Wayne, Robert Taylor: the Man with the Perfect Profile, NY, St. Martin’s, 1973, 1987, pages 156-158):

One of Taylor’s secret dates was the well-known honey blonde actress Virginia Grey. She had been Clark Gable’s ‘favorite’ for 7 years until he eloped with Lady [Sylvia] Ashley. Several days after his marriage had been announced, Virginia received a call from a friend who asked if it was all right to give Robert Taylor her phone number and she agreed.

He called her and said he would bring over some steaks, wine and records. It was obvious to her he did not want to be seen in public, so they spend their evenings at her place……

[Ms. Grey] explained that [Mr. Taylor] was a complete mystery to her. After spending their first evening together she left the room for a minute and when she returned he had disappeared. Taylor had simply decided that it was time to go home, and that’s exactly what he did. When he telephoned her a week later he never mentioned the incident, but he would do this often.

She said Bob had a helplessness about himself–always wanting or starting to say something, but could put words on paper better than speak them because of his shyness. He feared rejection, one of the reasons he had someone else call for her telephone number, rather than just introducing himself.

“But Bob was warm and wonderful,” Miss Grey said. “When we were together I forgot he was Robert Taylor. He made me interested because he was so unpredictable. Also, I don’t think Bob liked himself very much and was not a happy man when I knew him. He was a real introvert when it came to a man and woman relationship.”

From the IMDb:

Ms. Stanwyck expresses displeasure.

Ms. Stanwyck expresses displeasure.

Virginia Grey on Barbara Stanwyck and Crime of Passion (1957) “We filmed in 1956. This was five years after I dated Bob [Robert Taylor] and she filed for divorce. I accidentally put my coat on her chair and she tore into me with a vengeance in front of everyone. She never mentioned Bob, but she resented me for going out with him. She had no other reason for hating me.”

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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2 Responses to Robert Taylor Letter To Actress Virginia Grey

  1. June says:

    What very interesting reading. It is no surprise that all who knew him were of one accord… he was such a nice guy. I guess that if Ursula had not persisted in forcing him to finally propose to her, he may not have overcome his reluctance to make such a move. By all acounts, if she had not already been in love with him, he may well have lost her by his indecision to act.
    Aagin a big thank you Judith for finding these treasures


    • June says:

      What very interesting reading. It is no surprise that all who knew him were of one accord… he was such a nice guy. I guess that if Ursula had not persisted in forcing him to finally propose to her, he may not have overcome his reluctance to make such a move. By all acounts, if she had not already been in love with him, he may well have lost her by his indecision to act.
      Aagin a big thank you Judith for finding these treasures


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