August 5 Is Robert Taylor’s Birthday

Robert Taylor was born on August 5, 1911.  2019 is the 108th anniversary of his birth.  Mr. Taylor died on June 8, 1969 from lung cancer.

Robert Taylor was one of the most talented and versatile actors of Hollywood’s Golden Age.  He was a star from the 1930s to the 1960s. For those of you who want to know more about Mr. Taylor, I have listed  number of books, in chronological order.

Jane Ellen Wayne, Robert Taylor: the Man with the Perfect Face, New York, St. Martin’s Press, 1973, 1987.  Ms. Wayne had the advantage of actually meeting Mr. Taylor.  She also talked to his colleagues at MGM after his  death.  Ms. Wayne repeats stories she’s heard quite uncritically.  Nonetheless, it’s the closest to Mr. Taylor’s lifetime and  fun read.

Lawrence J. Quirk, The Films of Robert Taylor, Citadel Press, 1975. From the introduction: “[Robert Taylor] was a true gentleman and a finer artist than he would admit to himself or others.  He was well-educated, socially tactful and highly intelligent.” Each of the Taylor films is discussed in depth and with numerous black and white illustrations.

Ursula Thiess, “but I have promises to keep.” My Life Before, With & After Robert Taylor. Xlibris Corporation, 2007.  Published three years before Ms. Thiess’ death, this is a highly personal reminiscence of a strong and courageous woman.  The bulk of the book is about her courtship and marriage to Robert Taylor. Sometimes the lack of dates is frustrating, but the book is both fascinating and moving.

Tranberg, Charles, Robert Taylor: a Biography. BearManor Media, 2011.  This is a well researched book with footnotes and a bibliography.  Mr. Tranberg concentrates on Robert Taylor’s films more than his personal life. The book contains a great deal of information and is worth reading. There are a few mistakes and many proofreading errors which detracted from my enjoyment of the book.

Linda Alexander, Reluctant Witness: Robert Taylor, Hollywood and Communism. 2nd edition, BearManor Media, 2016.  If you’re going to read only one, this is the one it should be.  Ms. Alexander worked on the book for years and had access to the Taylor family: Ursula, daughter Tessa and  son Terry.  The book deals with both Mr. Taylor’s personal life and his films. There are numerous photos in this edition.

Gillian Kelly, Robert Taylor: Male Beauty, Masculinity and Stardom in Hollywood. University of Mississippi, 2019.  This book is based on a PhD thesis Ms. Kelly wrote for the Unversity of Glasgow.  Ms. Kelly is a thorough researcher, a perceptive viewer and, when she’s not using academic jargon, a good writer.  There is a lot of jargon, especially in the introduction and conclusion. The rest of the book is well worth your time.

 

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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8 Responses to August 5 Is Robert Taylor’s Birthday

  1. June Alexander says:

    Excellent information for anyone who is a Robert Taylor fan. All these books are excellent and I have them all except the last one by Gillian Kelly. As you know this day is extra special to me as I was able to visit America and attend his 100th birthday celebration in Beatrice. I hope someone reads your post and benefits from your always informative comments. June

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  2. Lina says:

    Hello, dear Judith! Thank you very much for a wonderful post for the Birthday of our favorite actor and a wonderful man – Robert Taylor! I always follow Your publications about him , his films, his life. Thank You very much for the unique and detailed information about Robert Taylor. I am also in memory of Robert (birthday and his angel day) are placed in different sites to your drawings with portraits of Robert Taylor. Today, on His birthday, she did it, too. Robert Taylor is forever in my heart! With great respect to You and thanks for Your website – Lina Volotskova.

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  3. giraffe44 says:

    Hi, Lina. It’s good to hear from you. I’m glad you like the post. If you have more drawings, I’d be happy to put them up. Judith

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  4. myra4019 says:

    Thank you for your kind words, Judith! Some of my drawings You already have in “Fan art” (Lina from Moscow). One of these days I will send to Your e-mail your drawings with portraits of Robert Taylor. I’ve been drawing it since I was a kid when I saw his movies. Yours Lena.

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  5. myra4019 says:

    With respect Lina Volotskova.

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  6. I really love Robert Taylor. I have seen all his movies over and over again and I think he is the most natural and gifted actor. I have read three of his bio books, The one by his second wife, But I have Promises to Keep, which I found to be a bit confusing at times. I read Charles Transberg’s bio book that I thought was wonderful and very clear and honest. The last was Reluctant Witness and it too was well written and informative. I have also as a writer done much research on Robert Taylor. I feel as If I know him. I wish I would have known him. I am so glad for this blog and thank you for helping to keep his memory and movies alive. Regards, Linda Doty

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    • giraffe44 says:

      Thanks so much for your kind comments. I’ve been in love with Mr. Taylor for a very long time. There’s also a new book out called “Robert Taylor: Male Beauty, Masculinity and Stardom in Hollywood” by Gillian Kelly. It’s Ms. Kelly’s doctoral thesis. You can get it on Amazon. Judith

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