Robert Taylor’s legacy has been nearly erased by those on the left who, even to this day, cannot forgive Taylor and other men and women who opposed international communism. Mr. Taylor’s contribution was to speak out when doing so was physically and professionally dangerous. Through the Screen Actors Guild, the Motion Picture Alliance for American Ideals and the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings he made clear his opposition to the Soviet goal of world domination. He also campaigned for like-minded political candidates. Robert Taylor was a close friend of Ronald Reagan and very likely influenced the future President Reagan’s move from liberal Democrat to Conservative Republican. This three part article attempts to clear away the misunderstandings regarding Mr. Taylor and his opposition to communism and its consequences.
I am not the first to do this. Linda J. Alexander’s excellent book Reluctant Witness: Robert Taylor, Hollywood and Communism (Tease Press, 2008) covers the subject in great detail. I highly recommend the book. Nonetheless, the ideas in this article are mine and Ms. Alexander is in no way responsible for my views nor for any errors.
Hollywood has an obligation, I believe, to atone for its treatment of Mr. Taylor. I would suggest an honorary Oscar for life achievement or an American Film Institute Life Achievement Award like that given to Barbara Stanwyck in 1987. Even without the political aspect, Mr. Taylor’s films merit either or both of these awards.