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Robert Taylor

Filmography

1934     

Handy Andy                       

The Spectacle Maker

 There’s Always Tomorrow

A Wicked Woman

Crime Does Not Pay #1: Buried Loot        

 

1935     

Society Doctor   Dr. Ellis

Times Square Lady            

West Point of the Air       

Murder in the Fleet          

Broadway Melody of 1936

 

1936     

Magnificent Obsession

Small Town Girl                 

Private Number                              

His Brother’s Wife                          

The Gorgeous Hussy                     

Camille                               

 

1937     

Personal Property             

This Is My Affair                 

Broadway Melody of 1938                          

 

1938     

A Yank at Oxford  

Three Comrades                

The Crowd Roars             

 

1939     

Stand Up and Fight           

Lucky Night      

Lady of the Tropics        

Remember?  

 

1940     

Waterloo Bridge                

Escape     

Flight Command               

 

1941     

Billy the Kid         

When Ladies Meet  

 

1942     

Johnny Eager       

Her Cardboard Lover  

Stand By for Action           

 

1943     

Bataan  

The Youngest Profession

 

1944     

Song of Russia    

The Fighting Lady              

 

1946     

Undercurrent     

 

1947     

High Wall                            

 

1949     

The Bribe              

Conspirator          

 

1950     

Ambush                

Devil’s Doorway                 

 

1951     

Quo Vadis  

Westward the Women  

 

1952     

Ivanhoe                 

Above and Beyond         

The Hoaxters    

 

1953     

I Love Melvin    

Ride, Vaquero!                

All the Brothers Were Valiant       

Knights of the Round Table                         

 

1954     

Valley of the Kings          

Rogue Cop          

 

1955     

Many Rivers to Cross     

The Adventures of Quentin Durward       

 

1956     

The Last Hunt     

 D-Day the Sixth of June  

The Power and the Prize             

 

1957     

Tip on a Dead Jockey  

 

1958     

The Law and Jake Wade                 

Saddle the Wind  

Party Girl                           

 

1959     

The Hangman     

The House of the Seven Hawks  

 

1960     

Killers of Kilimanjaro                      

 

1963     

Miracle of the White Stallions      

Cattle King          

 

1964

A House Is Not a Home  

 The Night Walker             

 

1966     

Johnny Tiger        

Savage Pampas                 

 

1967     

The Glass Sphinx                              

Return of the Gunfighter  

 

1968     

The Day the Hot Line Got Hot  

Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows          

Awards

Robert Taylor was never nominated for an Academy Award.

Acting is the easiest job in the world, and I’m the luckiest guy. All I have to do is be at the studio on time, and know my lines. The wardrobe department tells me what to wear, the assistant director tells me where to go, the director tells me what to do. What could be easier? ~ Robert Taylor

Robert Taylor: Learn more about him, review his filmography and more

Actors, Biographies

Robert Taylor was born Spangler Arlington Brugh in Filley, Nebraska, he was the only child of Ruth Adaline (née Stanhope) and Spangler Andrew Brugh, a farmer turned doctor.

As a teenager, Taylor was a track star and played the cello in his high school orchestra. Upon graduation, he enrolled at Doane College in Crete, Nebraska. While at Doane, he took cello lessons from Professor Herbert E. Gray, whom he admired and idolized. After Professor Gray announced he was accepting a new position at Pomona College in Los Angeles, Brugh he moved to California and enrolled at Pomona. He joined the campus theater group and was eventually spotted by an MGM talent scout in 1932 after production of Journey’s End.

He signed a seven-year contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer with an initial salary of $35 a week, which rose to $2500 by 1936. The studio changed his name to Robert Taylor. He made his film debut in the 1934 comedy Handy Andy, starring Will Rogers (on a loan-out to 20th Century Fox). His first leading role was in an MGM short subject called Buried Loot. Irene Dunne requested him for her leading man in Magnificent Obsession. Camille opposite Greta Garbo followed.

After three years of dating, Taylor married Barbara Stanwyck on May 14, 1939 in San Diego, California. Zeppo Marx’s wife, Marion, was Stanwyck’s matron of honor and her godfather, actor Buck Mack, was Taylor’s best man. Stanwyck divorced Taylor (reportedly at his request) in February 1951. The couple had no children

Throughout the late 1930s, Taylor appeared in films of varying genres including the musicals Broadway Melody of 1936 and Broadway Melody of 1938, and the British comedy A Yank at Oxford with Vivien Leigh. In 1940, he re-teamed with Leigh in Mervyn LeRoy’s drama Waterloo Bridge.

After being given the nickname “The Man with the Perfect Profile”, Taylor began breaking away from his perfect leading man image and began appearing in darker roles beginning in 1941. That year he portrayed Billy Bonney (better known as Billy the Kid) in Billy the Kid. The next year, he played the title role in the film noir Johnny Eager opposite Lana Turner. After playing a tough sergeant in Bataan in 1943, Taylor contributed to the war effort by becoming a flying instructor in the U.S. Naval Air Corps. During this time, he also starred in instructional films and narrated the 1944 documentary The Fighting Lady.

After the war, he appeared in a series of edgy roles, including Undercurrent and High Wall. In 1949, he co-starred opposite Elizabeth Taylor in Conspirator. In 1950, Taylor landed the role of General Marcus Vinicius in Quo Vadis opposite Deborah Kerr. The epic film was a hit, grossing US $11 million in its first run. The following year, he starred opposite Elizabeth Taylor in the film version of Walter Scott’s classic Ivanhoe, followed by 1953’s Knights of the Round Table and The Adventures of Quentin Durward, all filmed in England. Taylor also filmed Valley of the Kings in Egypt in 1954.

Taylor met German actress Ursula Thiess in 1952. They married in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on May 23, 1954. They had two children together, son Terrance (born 1955) and daughter Tessa (born 1959). Taylor was also stepfather to Thiess’ two children from her previous marriage.

By the mid-1950s, Taylor began to concentrate on westerns, his preferred genre. He starred in a comedy western Many Rivers to Cross in 1955 co-starring Eleanor Parker. In 1958, he shared the lead with Richard Widmark in the edgy John Sturges western The Law and Jake Wade. Also in 1958, he left MGM and formed his own production company, Robert Taylor Productions, and the following year, he starred in the ABC hit television series The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor (1959–1962). Following the end of the series in 1962, Taylor continued to appear in films and television including A House Is Not a Home and two episodes of Hondo.

In 1964, Taylor co-starred with his former wife Barbara Stanwyck in William Castle’s psychological horror film The Night Walker. In 1965, after filming Johnny Tiger in Florida, Taylor took over the role of narrator in the television series Death Valley Days, when Ronald Reagan left to pursue a career in politics. Taylor would remain with the series until his death in 1969.

In October 1968, Taylor underwent surgery to remove a portion of his right lung after doctors suspected that he had contracted coccidioidomycosis (known as “valley fever”). During the surgery, doctors discovered that he had lung cancer. Taylor, who had smoked three packs of cigarettes a day since he was a boy, quit smoking shortly before undergoing surgery. During the final months of his life, he was hospitalized seven times due to infections and complications related to the disease. He died of lung cancer on June 8, 1969, at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.

Taylor’s funeral was held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, in Glendale, California. Long-time friend Ronald Reagan (who was then the governor of California) eulogized Taylor. Among the mourners were Robert Stack, Van Heflin, Eva Marie Saint, Walter Pidgeon, Keenan Wynn, Mickey Rooney, George Murphy, Audrey Totter and Taylor’s ex-wife Barbara Stanwyck.

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Robert Taylor: A Biography