Taylor and Stanwyck in Italy, 1950

Robert Taylor was in Italy from May to November of 1950, filming Quo Vadis.  Barbara Stanwyck, in Hollywood, began to hear reports that he was dating an extra from the film.  Always jealous, she flew to Italy and stayed for six weeks.  By some accounts, during that stay she asked for her freedom from the marriage despite not really wanting a divorce.  Mr. Taylor, however, agreed to give her what she said she wanted and they divorced in 1951.  During their Italian stay the Taylors were photographed in both Venice and Rome.  Here is a sample of those photographs.

Original caption for the pictures:

Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck visit Venice, Italy. In Rome for six months to portray the leading role in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s Technicolor production of Quo Vadis, Robert Taylor was joined by his wife, Barbara Stanwyck, who traveled by Italy by plane as soon as she had completed her latest film assignment opposite Clark Gable in M-G-M’s To Please a Lady. On the first Saturday the actor had free from filming the picture, he and Miss Stanwyck boarded another plane and made the one-and-a-half hour flight to Venice. For two days they rode the waterways in the ancient gondolas (which haven’t changed in design for centuries), they strolled the few streets which are located on land and, in general, acted like any other American tourists visiting this most colorful of cities for the first time. The only difference was that wherever the two stars went they were trailed by dozens of natives who had no difficulty recognizing them.

On one of the small streets leading off St. Mark’s Square, they stroll and window shop. Tourists provide Venetians with their principal source of income.

They stayed at the luxurious Gritti Palace Hotel, right on the Grand Canal.

The Gritti Palace HotelRT14D (7)RT14D (2)
L to R: The Gritti Palace Hotel, the lobby of the Gritti Palace, the living room of the Redentore Suite, where the Taylors may have stayed.

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L to R. The terrace belonging to the Redentore suite. Mr. Taylor and Ms. Stanwyck on the terrace. Dining on the terrace.

L to R. At the landing stage outside of the hotel. Posing in front of the Gritti Palace.

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Taking the traditional gondola ride with Helen Ferguson, their joint publicist, and another woman.

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L to R. Passing the Doge’s palace at Piazza San Marco. Along the Grand Canal.

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Out for a night on the town in Venice. The other woman is Helen Ferguson.

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Everyone seems to be having a good time.

Dressed formally in Venice. The church of San Giorgio Maggiore is in the background of the first two photos.

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L to R. Strolling around Venice with a crowd of onlookers. Feeding the pigeons in Piazza San Marco. Stopping for a cold drink.

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Ms. Stanwyck is having custom sandals made.

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Ms. Stanwyck having a portrait modeled as her husband watches.

Clowning around in a taxi: Venice or Rome.

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L to R. Visiting the Colosseum in Rome. An Italian couple isn’t impressed by movie stars.The Roman Forum.

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L to R.The Appian Way outside of Rome. Sightseeing. At the airport. Dining at Il Vero Alfredo’s Ristorante in Rome.


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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6 Responses to Taylor and Stanwyck in Italy, 1950

  1. dianne345 says:

    They seemed to be happy & affectionate, having a good time. Perhaps they were still considering staying together. I think Ursula was a much more suitable wife for him, & that he loved her more than he ever loved Barbara, but you can see that there were still deep feelings between the first Mr. & Mrs.Taylor at the time of their Roman holiday. I’ve never been to Venice, but I have been to Rome & Florence, & there is magical quality about Italy, at least if you stay in the tourist areas.


  2. giraffe44 says:

    I love the pictures of them clowning around in the taxi. They do seem to be having fun and I do think they cared for one another, just not as husband and wife. Ursula, as you say, was the perfect spouse for Mr. T. I’ve been to Rome, Florence, Venice and Naples/Pompeii. I loved Italy and this was years ago. I suppose it’s changed now but I’ll always have wonderful memories. Once Fred and I were in Rome when they were on the verge of having a riot. There was a line of police with big plexiglass shields on one side and a crowd of shouting, stone throwing rioters on the other. We stood there, not knowing what do. Just like that, they stopped and we walked very quickly down the middle and across to our destination. As soon as we were safe, they started up again. It seems very Italian, somehow. Good to hear from you again



    With reference of your article I have the pleasure to tell you the history of my grandfather Alfredo Di Lelio, who is the creator of “fettuccine all’Alfredo” in 1908 in restaurant run by his mother Angelina in Rome, Piazza Rosa (Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna / Sordi).
    Alfredo di Lelio opened the restaurant “Alfredo” in 1914 in Rome, after leaving the restaurant of his mother Angelina.
    In 1943, during the war, Di Lelio sold the restaurant to others outside his family.
    In 1950 Alfredo Di Lelio decided to reopen with his son Armando his restaurant in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 “Il Vero Alfredo” (“Alfredo di Roma”), whose fame in the world has been strengthened by his nephew Alfredo and that now managed by his nephew Ines, with the famous “gold cutlery” (fork and spoon gold) donated in 1927 by two well-known American actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks (in gratitude for the hospitality).
    See also the site of “Il Vero Alfredo” .
    I must clarify that other restaurants “Alfredo” in Rome do not belong to the family tradition of “Il Vero Alfredo – Alfredo di Roma” in Rome.
    I inform you that the restaurant “Il Vero Alfredo –Alfredo di Roma” is in the registry of “Historic Shops of Excellence” of the City of Rome Capitale.
    Best regards Ines Di Lelio


  4. sandy says:



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