EDITOR’S NOTE: Before we get to our Robert Taylor Quiz today, we offer appreciative farewells to actor Martin Landau and director George Romero. We shall never forget Landau’s Oscar-winning performance as an aged and drug-addled Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s superb 1994 biopic, Ed Wood. For better or worse (mostly the former, we think) Romero’s 1968 “march of the zombies” Night of the Living Dead set the bar for horror films for ensuing decades. Landau was 89, Romero was 77. Rest In Peace.
How much did you know about one of the top stars of Hollywood’s Golden era?
Did you know, for example, that he was notoriously underpaid at MGM even during his peak years?
Why? Well, Robert Taylor liked his job and, as improbable as this sounds today, also liked his studio bosses. He was pretty much a happy camper. (Would the same could be said for Taylor’s first of two wives, Barbara Stanwyck, pictured below.) He remained at MGM for a remarkably long period, 24 years from 1934 to 1958.
Although his manicured good looks made him a star, his glossy appearance seemed to get in his way as an actor. To his credit, he took on some tough roles (as the amnesiac, suspected killer in 1947’s noir thriller, High Wall) as well as all those costume dramas (eg. 1952’s Ivanhoe and 1953’s Knights of the Round Table).
Late in his career he put on some weight, which helped in his role as Captain Matt Holbrook on the successful television series, The Detectives, which ran on ABC from 1959 to 1962. Appearing in the cast were Adam West and Ursula Theiss, Taylor’s second wife.
Ok, let’s get to the answers to our Robert Taylor Quiz. As usual, to review the questions just scroll down to the blog below. Here we go:
1) Answer: b) False. Yes, Taylor’s had the good looks and scrubbed manner of a classic British stage actor. But he was anything but. He was born Spangler Arlington Brugh in 1911 in the plains of Nebraska, and always described himself as a proud Cornhusker.
2) Answer: As mentioned above, Taylor’s first marriage was to Barbara Stanwyck. It lasted from 1939 to 1952.
3) Answer: Oops. This is another of our trick questions. Taylor romanced all of these women. The guy really got around offscreen.
4) Answer: b) False. Taylor and Clark Gable got along well. They were lifelong friends, and Taylor was a pallbearer at Gable’s funeral in November 1960.
5) Answer: Taylor’s personal favorite of his movies was (d) 1940’s Waterloo Bridge, a classic melodrama about a World War I soldier and a fallen ballet dancer. Taylor’s costar is Vivien Leigh. Worth a look.