What his peers said (part 2)

Alexander, Linda J. Reluctant Witness: Robert Taylor, Hollywood, and Communism. Tease Publishing,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.

Publicity photo with Arlene Dahl

Arlene Dahl, actress. “Fred Astaire and Bob Taylor were the two gentlemen of Hollywood…..Bob made me feel at home. He was my confidant. Just a sweet, wonderful man.” (Tranberg)

Arlene Dahl, actress. She raved about (Taylor) and told him that two years prior she had received his autograph, printed by the studio. The next morning he presented her with four dozen yellow roses, a big silver framed photograph of him and a little package. She read the card before opening it and it read: “Garbo gave me this on the set of Camille to bring me luck and I’m giving it to you for the same reason. Love, Bob.” “And it was an ivory carved Buddha and I still a have it …that was the kind of man he was…” (Garboforever.com)

Chad Everett, actor. “(Bob) taught me verbally and by example. (He) never got the credit he deserved from the critics…….though the public was always with him.” (Tranberg)

Greta Garbo, actress. “He was a very well brought up young man, a bit shy perhaps. He did everything to make me feel better. I was often actually rather ill during filming. He used to have a gramophone with him that he would play because he knew I like music. It helped distract me.” (Alexander)

Ava Gardner, actress. Gardner recalled Bob as a “warm, generous, intelligent human being.”  Ava Gardner, Love Is Nothing. (Tranberg)

Robert Taylor and Ava Gardner in “The Bribe,” 1949.

Ava Gardner, actress. (In The Bribe) my job was to take one quick at Mr. Taylor…and fall into his arms. This time, it not only happened on screen, it happened for real. There’s no rhyme or reason about a love affair. In those days, I was in constant proximity with some of the most handsome, romantic figures on earth, and they didn’t move me one little bit. ….I had to like a man one hell of a lot to let him disturb my sleep. …And Bob Taylor surely fit the bill for me, and I did the same for Bob…Our love affair lasted three, perhaps four months. A magic little interlude. We hurt no one because no one knew…I’ve never forgotten those few, hidden months….Bob, despite his efforts, couldn’t break the mold of the beautiful lover. The film world remembers him that way, and I have to say that I do too. (TCM article The Bribe.)

Tay Garnett, director, “(Taylor) was one of the world’s great gentlemen….He was serious minded, hard working and keen. In spite of his astounding good looks, he was determined to be a fine actor, and not merely a star.” (L.J. Quirk, The Films of Robert Taylor, 1975, p. 102)

Janet Gaynor, actress. (Taylor was) “a dream—just a dream.” (Quirk, p. 15.)

Mark Goddard, actor. “I knew that (Bob) was the ultimate professional and that I would learn a lot from him. I was very happy and very fortunate to work with him for three years.” (Tranberg)

Virginia Grey, actress. “”Bob was warm and wonderful. When we were together I forgot he was Robert Taylor. He made me interested because he was so unpredictable. Also, I don’t think Bob liked himself very much and was not a happy man when I knew him. He was a real introvert when it came to a man and woman relationship.” (Wayne, p. 157)

Robert Taylor and Katharine Hepburn in “Undercurrent,” 1946.

Katharine Hepburn, actress. “I never got to know him very well, but I considered Bob one of the underrated actors in the business.” (Wayne p. 123)

Darryl Hickman. actor. “Taylor was a real nice man and he wasn’t condescending to kids like some actors were. He treated me as an equal.” (Tranberg)

Arthur Hiller, director. “It was a tremendous relationship (on Miracle of the White Stallions). I liked him a lot personally, too. He always wanted more direction than he really needed. He would say, ‘Should I do this or that?’ and I would assure him that what he was doing was fine. He was aware that he wasn’t a great actor, but within his range he was quite an effective actor. He always gave me everything I wanted. He was a very intuitive actor and went a great deal by feel. It was a pleasure to work with him and that entire cast.” (Tranberg)

Arthur Hiller, director. “(Bob) had it in his contract for television that he would not film after six p.m. and he stuck to that. Well, on one of the shows (The Detectives) I did with him, I needed another fifteen minutes to get the scene just right. I told the producer that I was going to ask Taylor if he would give us about fifteen more minutes. I was told he would never agree to this, that he was out at six no matter what. So I go to him and I explain to him that if we get another fifteen minutes the scene would be right and we wouldn’t have to re shoot it the next day. And he was fine with that.” (Tranberg)

Marcia Mae Jones, actress, The Youngest Profession. “The day Mr. Taylor was to arrive, they said we should rehearse the scene beforehand. I was supposed to believe that he was not going to arrive so when we rehearsed I opened the door and there he stood. I couldn’t remember my lines as he was the most handsome man I had ever seen. Everybody broke out laughing, even Mr. Taylor. (Tranberg)

Robert Taylor and Deborah Kerr keep up on the news from home while making “Quo Vadis.”

Deborah Kerr, actress. “When one thinks of his extraordinary good looks, he had every right to be a bit spoiled, but not Bob. He was unassuming, good natured and had a wonderful sense of humor…I felt he was a much better actor than he was given credit for.” (Tranberg)

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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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One Response to What his peers said (part 2)

  1. iheartingrid says:

    Love the Garbo quote:-)

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