Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor
Ranch Living and Beverly Hills Glamour for the Stars of Stella Dallas and Ivanhoe
Text by Richard Schickel
Scandal! It was January 1939 and suddenly there was Photoplay, one of the fan magazines usually dependent on the studios for access to the stars and therefore usually afraid to dish the dirt about them, startlingly on the stands with an article called “Hollywood’s Unmarried Husbands and Wives.” It reported that Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor, along with Charles Chaplin and Paulette Goddard, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, and several couples the world had been led to believe were chastely “dating,” were actually…well…living together.
It seems merely quaint nowadays that the article caused the stir it did–and caused the studios to order those over whom they exercised control to either marry or break up. What must seem far more curious to anyone recalling their screen images, screen achievements and what little has been reliably recorded about their personal is that Stanwyck and Taylor were in this company–or, indeed, knew each other at all. That in part because of the article they decided to marry and managed to stay together for twelve years continues to bemuse.
They divided their time between their Beverly Hills residence and a ranch house in the San Fernando Valley. Their shared taste for a rural lifestyle was authentic–they had lived on adjacent ranch properties before their marriage, and the ranch itself was a working one.
[At this point the article descends into Taylor hating. I published the later part in Taylor Haters (I) Richard Schickel on 4/10/2014. I thought the pictures made this part worth publishing.]
The following are more photos from the ranch: