Here he is (above) during his early years when he started as a handsome “juvenile” lead. He developed into an ultra-handsome Hollywood figure — known informally as “the man with the perfect profile” — and one of MGM’s biggest stars.
Still in all, Robert Taylor remains a bit off-putting. He often comes across as an overly manicured and wooden actor, perhaps a slightly senior version of an early Gregory Peck (five years younger than Taylor).
Offsetting that impression, however, is the range of roles the actor took on. Especially in some very good crime dramas, notably the film noir High Wall opposite Audrey Totter.
As as often happens with handsome leading men, Taylor (as did Peck) got better as he got older. His career was a long one, nearly 80 movie and tv credits over a 35-year span. And Taylor had considerable success starring in various roles in war movies, elaborate costume dramas, noirs and even as an American Indian fighting in the Civil War.
By all accounts Taylor disliked the “pretty boy” tag that dogged him throughout much of his career, and often pushed for challenging parts. The evidence is that he succeeded both in the movies and later on television. A heavy smoker, Taylor died young in 1969 of lung cancer at age 57 .
Ok, let’s see how much you know about Robert Taylor. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question –Although considered a crature of big-studio Hollywood, Taylor was born and raised in England. a) True; or b) False?
2) Question: Which one of the following was Taylor’s first wife? a) Irene Dunne; b) Barbara Stanwyck; c) Ursula Thiess; or d) Luise Rainer.
3) Question: Taylor didn’t marry but had affairs with which of the following? a) Virginia Bruce; b) Eleanor Parker; c) Virginia Gray; or d) Irene Hervey.
4) Question: Taylor disliked fellow MGM stalwart Clark Gable, and was proud that his studio tenure outlasted that of “the King’s.” a) True; or b) False.
5) Question: Taylor’s personal favorite movie of all his pictures was a) 1942’s Stand By For Action; b) 1955’s Quenton Durward; c) 1952’s Ivanhoe; or d) 1940’s Waterloo Bridge.