Un-Dedicated Actor

Un-Dedicated Actor

I don’t know the source of this, but it is from a movie magazine from the early 1962 or 1963.

It’s a top-flight shindig when the handsome Robert Taylors. . .

He became a movie star because he “just happened” to join a college acting group. He was lonely, he says, and thought he might meet more girls that way. Some twenty-five years later, he became a TV star because he “just happened” to live across the road from Dick Powell. When the fellow from Nebraska and the one from Arkansas got together, they didn’t spend much time discussing the crops. Dick was already up to his neck in TV, and thought Bob should be too. The result was “Robert Taylor’s Detectives,” now in its third season. It’s being seen on NBC Fridays at 8:30 ET this winter, in a new hour-long version.

With him on the show again this year is Ursula Thiess, the German-born actress to whom he’s been happily married since May 24, 1954. Up to now, their two children—Terence, born on June 18, 1955, and Tessa, who arrived on August 16, 1959—have kept their amateur standings. Since Bob has often said that he is an actor because that’s the only way he knows how to make a living, and Ursula is an even more un-dedicated actress, it’s doubtful that the kids get any encouragement to follow in their parents’ footsteps.

The man who was to become one of Hollywood’s all-time greats was born in Filley,

“Robert Taylor’s Detectives”

Nebraska on August 5, 1911 and registered in the county courthouse as Spangler Arlington Brugh. His father, a grain merchant, took up the study of medicine when his wife became ill with a heart ailment, and later practice in Crete, Nebraska. Bob went to high school there and then on to Doane College, transferring later to Pomona,, in California, on the heels of his cello teacher. It was there that he joined up with the dramatic group and caught the eye of a talent scout. After Bob was graduated, he was signed to a studio contract at a flashy $35 a week salary.

He made his first movies, five of them, in 1934, and less than two years later had become one of Hollywood’s brightest stars, with thousands of teen-age girls drooling over him, and fan mail coming into the studio by the truckload. With the exception of three years in the Navy during World War II—he was discharged as a lieutenant, senior grade—Bob remained at MGM until 1958, making a total of more than fifty movies.

In two of them he co-starred with Barbara Stanwyck, an association which led to their marriage on May 14, 1939. Twelve years later, on February 21, 1951, they were divorced.

Mr. & Mrs. Taylor doing a Maxell House coffee commercial, around 1962.*

One of the handsomest men ever to step in front of a camera—it’s impossible, cameramen say, to photograph him at a “bad” angle—Bob is a six footer who keeps his weight at 175. At fifty, he has lost the “pretty boy” tag which was pinned on him early in his career and nobody could be happier about it than he. A rugged outdoor type who likes hunting and fishing, he’s been flying his own plane for years; uses it to zip to a hunting lodge he owns in the Northwest when he has a few days leisure.

Otherwise, the Taylors stay pretty much at home, on their 113 acre farm, a lot fancier than those in Nebraska, in Mandeville Canyon. There, in addition to their children—Ursula has two by her previous marriage—they have ten quarter horses, nine dogs, four cats and fifty-five chickens. There Bob gets into a pair of jeans and takes over the chef’s job, along with a considerable number of the chores. Basically modest, he has never considered himself any great shakes as an actor, but as a coffee-maker….there, he admits, he excels

*You can see this commercial on You Tube.

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 Un-Dedicated Actor

  1. June Alexander says:

    Another well sourced article Judith. So nice to read. Thank you so much….again.


  2. Hi, June, funny thing is, I was typing this and all of a sudden Barbara Stanwyck turned up and it seemed that I had clipped two articles together. Hope all is well down under. Judith


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