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.