Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck at Home

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Barbara Stanwyck, who was nominated four times for the Best Actress Oscar and received an honorary reward in 1981, lived with (husband) Robert Taylor on their San Fernando Valley ranch as well as in a house in Beverly Hills from 1939-1951.

Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor
Ranch Living and Beverly Hills Glamour for the Stars of Stella Dallas and Ivanhoe
Text by Richard Schickel
Architectural Digest
April 1990

Scandal!  It was January 1939 and suddenly there was Photoplay, one of the fan magazines usually dependent on the studios for access to the stars and therefore usually afraid to dish the dirt about them, startlingly on the stands with an article called “Hollywood’s Unmarried Husbands and Wives.”  It reported that Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor, along with Charles Chaplin and Paulette Goddard, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, and several couples the world had been led to believe were chastely “dating,” were actually…well…living together.

It seems merely quaint nowadays that the article caused the stir it did–and caused the studios to order those over whom they exercised control to either marry or break up. What must seem far more curious to anyone recalling their screen images, screen achievements and what little has been reliably recorded about their personal is that Stanwyck and Taylor were in this company–or, indeed, knew each other at all.  That in part because of the article they decided to marry and managed to stay together for twelve years continues to bemuse.

They divided their time between their Beverly Hills residence and a ranch house in the San Fernando Valley.  Their shared taste for a rural lifestyle was authentic–they had lived on adjacent ranch properties before their marriage, and the ranch itself was a working one.

[At this point the article descends into Taylor hating.  I published the later part in Taylor Haters (I) Richard Schickel on 4/10/2014.  I thought the pictures made this part worth publishing.]

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“If you happened to drop in at the ranch, you wouldn’t feel comfortable unless you came dressed to romp with the dogs, go riding in the hills or walking through the alfalfa,” reported a 1939 press release. Stanwyck, in 1946, arranges apples in an oak centerpiece. Her collection of English plates is displayed in the Welsh dresser behind her.

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A crossbeam wood ceiling, deep archways and simple furnishings lent an air of solidity to the Beverly Hills living room, which was featured in “Architectural Digest” in the 1940s.

The following are more photos from the ranch:

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1937-38ST18 (6)ST18 (5)ST18 (3)

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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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12 Responses to Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck at Home

  1. Photo Robert and Barbara look happi but is it really? Information about his very controversial. I watched the video “The great Romances of the twentieth century. Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor” – they say that” …their marriage was a sham and concludet on demand MGM: Robert Taylor was a “gardboard” husband in the movie “Her gardboard lover” and that it was necessary for the career of Taylor. He got the role of “tough guys”…”. Personaly i think they are all verry different peaple and in appearance and i character and attitude to marriage. And career in the movie Mr. Taylor would still be successful ,because by 1939, he was already a global superstar! Judith what is Your opinion?

    • giraffe44 says:

      I think they were happy at first but grew apart quite quickly. Supposedly Mr. Taylor asked for a divorce when he was in love with Lana Turner but didn’t get one. I don’t agree that the marriage was a sham nor was he a “Cardboard Lover.” They just grew further and further apart and he asked for his freedom. Thanks for writing.

  2. Hello,Judith! Thanks for the reply. The Love affair betweesen Robert Taylor and Lana Turner is very famous.If don’t mind -please tell us about the relationship between Robert Taylor and Susan Peters. They played together in the film “Song of Russia”.It is known that this film brought Robert Taylor a lot of trouble. On Russian tv “Culture” told that between Robert and Susan was Love,not only screen but in real life.They wanted to get married and Robert asked Barbara divorce,but she divorce has not given. Susan got in a car accident and became disabled, but Robert never left it and continued to love her and even was looking for her roles in movies girls with disabilities. Barbara,seeing the generosity and love of Robert to Susan, gave a divorce, but Susan died. What is the truth and what is not? You would not be able to devote to this film”Song of Russia” and the subject of a separate note. With respect . Lina

    • giraffe44 says:

      Hi, Lina. I’ve never heard the story about Susan Peters before. If I do find out something, I’ll let you know. I did know about the car accident and I know that Mr. Taylor worked with Ms. Peters on the radio afterwards. He was a kind man and I’m sure he felt badly for her. Judith

  3. Hello,Judith. Thanks for the Reply. I trust Your information about Robert Taylor. I will be very grateful if You write about the film “Song of Russia” – ” backstage” and about Susan with Robert. I want to know the Truth. Good Luck! Lina.

  4. David Foe says:

    Great pictures. They certainly looked happy early on in their marriage. In later years they never looked very happy together.

  5. SusanaG says:

    Thank you for the photos Judith, many of which I had never seen before. Too bad such critics like this Schickel person wasted their time bashing Robert Taylor, particularly in an article where he addresses B&B’s ranch life… half a century after, no less! But I think this is on purpose after all. Wasn’t this article written at the time they removed RT’s name from that building in Culver City?

  6. giraffe44 says:

    You’re right, Susana, it was the peak of Taylor-hating and Schickel was one of the main mischief makers. I can’t understand the hatred unless it’s political fanaticism. Younger people don’t seem to give a darn about HUAC, which is a good things. I recently bought some great Taylor photos. I’ll send them to you with my Verizon account. Thanks so much for writing.

    • dlin389 says:

      Thank you for your posts and the photos Judith! You recently bought some great Taylor photos. Can you also send them to me at dlin389@gmail.com? Is there a way I can write to you casually in private?
      dlin389

  7. giraffe44 says:

    I’m glad you enjoy my posts. It’s great to be able to share them with fellow fans. Are you on Facebook? We could communicate that way. Thanks for writing. My name is Judith Hanhisalo.

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