Robert Taylor Enjoying Most Enviable Position
The Evening Independent August 23, 1947
by Bob Thomas
Bob, an honest and likeable guy, was relaxing between takes of High Wall and ruminating on the current state of his career.
“I never was happier making pictures,” he said, “I don’t have to worry about fans chasing me all over town. I don’t have to fret about publicity and fan mail–although I don’t mean that’s not important. If I turn a picture down, that’s that–the world doesn’t come to an end.
“Al I have to do is make a picture now and then. The rest of the time I can spend hunting and flying and doing other things I want to do.”
Bob has earned the leisure. He started in pictures in 1934 when he was 23 and within two years was a top box-office star. He has been in the screen prominence ever since, except for his wartime hitch in the navy. He described the three phases of an actor’s professional life.
“First you shoot upward fast,” he said. The studio puts you in 16 pictures a year and you might as well do what the bosses say. It doesn’t matter how good the pictures are because they’ll sell anyway. But then the hysteria wears off.”
“Then,” said Bob, comes the danger period. The actor’s popularity, as judged by the theater receipts, takes a sharp decline.
“You suddenly find out you can’t play juvenile roles all your life,” he said. “You’ve got to find good roles or your your career will continue to drop.”
Bob found himself in such straits after a series of successful but undistinguished roles such as A Yank at Oxford. He figures he started coming out of the decline about the time of Waterloo Bridge. He is now comfortably situated on that profitable plateau of popularity with such companions as Gable, Grant, Tracy, Bogart, Cooper, Power and MacMurray.
That, then is the Shangri-La for all male movie stars. Each must find it eventually, or perish. For example, a guy like Van Johnson, although his popularity may now be at its peak, will some day have to seek that prized level.