He had one of the longest careers in Hollywood, starting as a male lead in the 1930s, segueing to roles in B pictures, re-emerging as a leading man again in the 1940s and eventually becoming one of the biggest stars on television with 2 hit series.
Talk about roller-coaster resumes. Young started out in movies in the early Thirties under the aegis of MGM, the studio which more or less nourished his fledgling career. That worked out pretty well, with Young costarring with some of MGM most glamorous costars.
Then a partial fade-out to independent films, some of which are better than what MGM had offered.
By the late Forties, Young’s career as a leading man was in eclipse, rescued by a radio version of what became his signature tv series, Father Knows Best. In the late Sixties and Seventies came another smash series, with Young as paternalistic Marcus Welby, M.D.
Young is most recalled today for those two tube series, despite a feature film dossier that stands up today. And he was the personification of the Hollywood adage that actors are NOT in private what they appear to be onscreen.
Ok, let’s see how much you know about Robert Young. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: Not many realize that during his years at MGM, Young costarred in a leading role in one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best British-made thrillers. Which one? a) Blackmail; b) The Man Who Knew Too Much; c) Lord Camber’s Ladies; or d) Secret Agent.
2) Question: Although the image of cheery paternalism on television, Young battled depression and alcoholism, and at least once tried to kill himself. a) True; or b) False?
3) Question: Which of the following leading ladies did Young NOT costar with? a) Katharine Hepburn; b) Hedy Lamarr; c) Luise Rainer; or d) Helen Twelvetrees.
4) Question: Which of the following provided Young crucial acting support on his hit tv series, Father Knows Best and Marcus Welby, M.D.? a) Red Buttons; b) Jane Wyatt; c) James Brolin; or d) Barbara Payton.
5) Question: Young always nurtured a bit of an inferiority complex when it came to the leading roles he played. Why? a) He often felt he was only offered roles after the likes of Robert Montgomery turned them down; b) He really was an inferior actor; c) Young was continually underpaid; or d) none of the above.