The Gage County Museum in Beatrice, Nebraska is holding a celebration to celebrate the 110th Anniversary of Robert Taylor’s birth on August 20-22. Guests will include Mr. Taylor’s biographers Linda Alexander and Charles Tranberg. Other guests, including Terry Taylor, Mr. Taylor’s son, will be appearing virtually. There will be film showings. Contact the Museum via their website for more information.
Robert Taylor was born in 1911. He died from lung cancer in 1969. In his short life he made 77 films, starred in a two TV shows, Robert Taylor’s Detective and Death Valley Days, served in World War II, married twice (Barbara Stanwyck and Ursula Thiess) and fathered two children. If he had lived, I believe he would have eventually moved into character parts. He was embarrassed by being paired romantically with women young enough to be his daughter. Mr. Taylor’s peers thought highly of him:
Elizabeth Taylor, actress
“He is just as wonderful as everyone in Hollywood told me he was. I have to admit I did get nervous when he took me in his arms and made love to me, but the director said I shouldn’t be upset.”(Wayne, p. 142)
Richard Thorpe, director.
“He’s a rarity. A lot of big stars are really heels off screen and the public doesn’t know it at first. It takes them awhile to discover it. But Bob is really a nice guy and it comes through on screen. Also, he’s a rugged, handsome man and they’re pretty few and far between these days.” (Wayne, p. 206)
William Wellman, director
“I was crazy about Bob Taylor…..I think Bob Taylor’s probably one of the finest men I’ve known in my whole life. And he was an actor. And he was probably the handsomest one of them all. He did everything I asked him to. He was wonderful.” (William A. Wellman by Frank Thompson.)
Edwin Knopf, producer.
“Those character traits (normalcy and decency) which are so inbred communicate themselves to the audience. Audiences sense the fine qualities and like them. In addition, he’s a fine artist, a no-nonsense guy who studies his script more thoroughly than any actor I know.” (Wayne, p. 206)
Robert Loggia, actor.
“Bob was an extremely talented artist. He was also the ultimate gentleman and a true professional who followed the rules of the day—arrive on time, know your lines and be willing to do what had to be done to make the picture successful. Here was a guy who could convincingly play the romantic lead opposite Garbo in a picture like Camille and be just as convincing playing a cowboy. Now that’s range, but the critics really never gave him his due.” (Tranberg)
Harry Lauter, actor.
“Robert Taylor was a very dear friend of mine, one of the nicest men in the business. I did one of his last pictures (Return of the Gunfighter). He was very ill, and I knew it. They came in on a close-up on me, and they say, ‘We’ll get Mr. Taylor.’ He was lying down in his bungalow, and I said, ‘No, don’t bother him. Let the script girl read the lines.’ I usually liked the actors there—but in this case, and gosh, I looked up and there he was. I said, ‘Bob, you don’t have to.’ He said, ‘No, you deserve the courtesy as an actor for me to be here and read the lines, just as well off camera as on.’ That’s one of the things you don’t get anymore from people. I’ll never forget that.” (Tranberg)
For many more quotes, see “What His Peers Said” on this blog.
That last part, Robert Taylor coming out of his trailer to run lines. I got really teared up! You just now immensely fatigued he was due to illness – and yet he made an effort “for the team”. Thanks so much for this post. Happy Birthday, Robert Taylor!
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Martha, you hear over and over what a fine and decent man he was, as well as a very talented actor. I love Harry Lauter’s comment, it kind of sums up Robert Taylor. Judith
Forgot to say, he looks great in that last photo!! 😍
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Doesn’t he? Judith
OMG Judith, has it been 10 years when I decided to jump on a plane and fly half way across the world to meet Janie for the first time and then the two of us flying from Nevada to Nebraska to
celebrate Robert Taylor’s 100 Birthday in Beatrice? Meeting his son and daughter as well as Linda Alexander was and remains a highlight of my life. Seems like yesterday and just appreciate the wonderful posts you put on your blog.
Time does go fast, doesn’t it, June. We’ve now lived in Florida for 10 years which I find hard to believe. I’m so glad you got to enjoy the 100th birthday celebration. It must have been very special. Best wishes, Judith.