What Robert Taylor’s peers thought of him

Alexander, Linda J. Reluctant Witness: Robert Taylor, Hollywood, and Communism. Tease Publishing, LLC, 2008.
Quirk, Lawrence. The Films of Robert Taylor. Lyle Stuart, 1979.
Thiess, Ursula. …but I have promises to keep. XLibris Corporation, 2007.
Tranberg, Charles. Robert Taylor: a Biography. BearManor Media, 2010.
Wayne, Jane Ellen. Robert Taylor: the Man with the Perfect Face. St. Martin’s Press, 1989.

These books are all worth reading and they are the source of many of the quotations below.   Apologies for not citing pages for Tranberg or Alexander. I read them on a Kindle which doesn’t have page numbers.

What his peers said:

Anonymous: “He hurts you, but you can’t help liking him, because he does it in a nice way.” (Quirk, p. 20)

James Arness. actor. “MGM cast me in the western Many Rivers to Cross, starring Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker. I had a good part, so Taylor and I worked together a lot. He was the opposite of (Spencer) Tracy–easy going, friendly. Usually he just kicked back when we weren’t doing a scene. (James Arness: an Autobiography, p. 120)

Kaye Ballard, actress. “On the first day of shooting I was surprised that Robert Taylor’s hands were shaking. I said, ‘Mr. Taylor, you’re not nervous, are you?’ ‘Oh yes, Kaye, ‘he answered. I’m always a nervous wreck on the first day of shooting.’ Can you imagine? Robert Taylor! He held Garbo in Camille, for God’s sake—and he’s nervous.” (Tranberg)

Don Burt, horse trainer. “Naturally the conversation on the way home always centered on how fantastic Mr. Taylor was; a regular guy not effected by his star status (one of the many things that made him special)…….(In business Bob) advised me to be honest and above board with all clients. (Don Burt, Horses and other Heroes, CT, The Lyons Press, 2002.)

Martha Crawford Cantarini, stunt woman. “He was one of the legendary faces in motion picture history, but I knew him as a quiet, shy, educated gentleman whose honesty was reflected in that famous face. Early in his career, he once told me, he had vowed to always appear in movies that the whole family could see and had endeavored to keep that promise. A gentle human being, Bob loved his horses just as he did his family. He had an extraordinary quarter horse named Tommy whom I also loved from my first day on the set. (Martha Crawford Cantarini, Fall Girl: my life as a western stunt double. page 168)

Cyd Charisse, actress. “From Rock Hudson to Robert Taylor, I worked with two of the handsomest—and nicest—of men in successive pictures. (Taylor) was a very pleasant man, but kept himself aloof on the set, just palling around with his cronies. He drank coffee all day long and chain smoked. I have a hunch that, around four or five, there was something in the cup besides coffee. It didn’t effect him; he was always a gentleman on the set and a thoroughly professional artist.” (Charisse, Martin and Kleiner, The Two of Us, Mason/Charter, 1976)

Linda Christian, actress. “(Bob) was so natural whenever he spoke his lines, he never seemed to be acting. He impressed me so much with his talent. He also made all the other actors feel comfortable, which is also important.” (Tranberg)

An old cowboy. “Now there’s one movie star who never growed himself an ego.” (Thiess, p. 155)

Joan Crawford, actress. “Robert Taylor will always remain one of the beautiful people in my life. (Wayne, p. 50)

RT and Joan Crawford in “The Gorgeous Hussy.” 1936

Johnny Crawford, actor. “I looked around and he wasn’t on the set, so I thought he was probably back in his trailer. This was in Old Tucson, Arizona. There was one old guy there that had a long face, but good features. He looked like the kind that hung around Hollywood and if the breaks had been better he could have been somebody. He was talking to people, and as time went by the assistant director said, ‘Mr. Taylor, come on in.’ That old guy was Robert Taylor…..He could have been excused to lie down in the trailer and rest until his next shot, but he wouldn’t do that. And when they called him, he went on a dead run just like a new kid and did not hold you up.” (Tranberg)

George Cukor, director. “Robert Taylor was my favorite actor. He was a gentleman. That’s rare in Hollywood.” (W.F. Buckley, “MGM Moles Dig Themselves a Hole,” Column, Jan 30, 1990)

George Cukor, Robert Taylor, Greta Garbo on the set of “Camille” 1936

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About giraffe44

I became a Robert Taylor fan at the age of 15 when his TV show, "The Detectives" premiered. My mother wanted to watch it because she remembered Mr. Taylor from the thirties. I took one look and that was it. I spent the rest of my high school career watching Robert Taylor movies on late night TV, buying photos of him, making scrapbooks and being a typical teenager. College, marriage and career intervened. I remember being sad when Mr. Taylor died. I mailed two huge scrapbooks to Ursula Thiess. I hope she got them. Time passed, retirement, moving to Florida. Then in 2012 my husband Fred pointed that there were two Robert Taylor movies that evening on Turner Classic Movies--"Ivanhoe" and "Quentin Durward." I watched both and it happened all over again. I started this blog both for fans and for people who didn't know about Robert Taylor. As the blog passes 200,000 views I'm delighted that so many people have come by and hope it will help preserve the legacy of this fine actor and equally good man.
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