Robert Taylor Was Born 104 Years Ago Today

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Happy Birthday Robert Taylor

Robert Taylor was born on August 5, 1911 in Filley Nebraska.  Originally named Spangler Arlington Brugh, he became Robert Taylor at MGM.  During his much-too-short life he brought happiness to millions of people through his films.  He was an actor, father, husband, son, friend, pilot, outdoorsman, fisherman, patriot and all around good guy.  Mr. Taylor’s fans still miss him.

A life in words and pictures:

6 months

1911. 6 months

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)

1929. Freshman, Doane College, Crete, Nebraska.

1929. Freshman, Doane College, Crete, Nebraska.

Arlene Dahl, actress. [co-star in Ambush, 1951] 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

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1936. His Brother’s Wife with future wife Barbara Stanwyck.

Ava Gardner, actress. Gardner recalled Bob as a “warm, generous, intelligent human being.” ….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.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. Ava Gardner, Love Is Nothing, p. 158.

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1947 Promo, High Wall.

Henry Koster, director. “He was really easy to work with, and a wonderful gentleman. The only trouble with him was that he couldn’t give up smoking. He tried and tried and told me the old joke of Mark Twain, about how giving up smoking was easy. Mark Twain had done it twice a week. Robert Taylor tried twice a week, and finally gave up and said he couldn’t help it. He hoped that nothing would happen. But it did happen, and he died. Very young, and a truly nice, charming, handsome man…….Robert Taylor I guess was the handsomest actor there ever was. But he always said, ‘I’m not an actor. I don’t know what I’m doing.’ I’d say, ‘Robert, you did Camille with Greta Garbo.’ He said ‘Believe me, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. But a beautiful director, George Cukor, told me what to do. He acted it and I just copied him, and out came a good performance. You show me what to do and I’ll do it.’ I think Robert Taylor had talent. Maybe he was not a genius like the other great actors, but he grew into a talent. I think you can learn by learning how to relax and not being afraid of the camera. (CharlesTranberg, Robert Taylor: a Biography, BearMedia Press, 2011, page 283).

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1954. Rogue Cop set with Janet Leigh, Anne Francis and George Raft.

Robert Loggia, actor. “Bob was an extremely talented artist. He was also the ultimate gentleman and a true professional who followed the rules of the day—arrive on time, know your lines and be willing to do what had to be done to make the picture successful. Here was a guy who could convincingly play the romantic lead opposite Garbo in a picture like Camille and be just as convincing playing a cowboy. Now that’s range, but the critics really never gave him his due.” Tranberg, page 335.)

1961 Wyoming

1961 Wyoming. Mr. Taylor with 2nd wife Ursula and children Terry and Tessa

Ralph, actor, stand-in for Taylor on The Detectives. “I’m often asked what was Bob like or what was it like to work with him. As huge as he was on screen, on the set his presence was equally imposing. An aura of self-assurance and kindness coupled with incredible stage presence and talent is one recollection….he went out of his way to relax any day player who showed signs of nervousness or stage fright brought on by working with him; extremely courteous to all around him. Unlike other big stars I worked with, Bob never lost his cool or showed any signs of anger.”  ralphm1999@wordpress.com

1969??

1967 or 1968

William Wellman, director. “I was crazy about Bob Taylor…..I think Bob Taylor’s probably one of the finest men I’ve known in my whole life. And he was an actor. And he was probably the handsomest one of them all. He did everything I asked him to. He was wonderful.” William A. Wellman by Frank Thompson.

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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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3 Responses to Robert Taylor Was Born 104 Years Ago Today

  1. Hello,Judith! I congratulate You and all the fans with Robert Taylor 104-th Birthday of Your idol Robert Taylor! Thank You,Judith, for Your work to memory of R.T. I am an artist and drew portraits of movie stars, including portraits of his favorite actor – Robert Taylor. There is a site”schoolmates “,which contains all the countries of the world,including the USA. I post portrait of Robert Taylor,videos and movies that are seen by millions of people. This is my humble tribute to memory of R.T. (Please forgive my bad English because i am Russian) Sincerely Lina.

  2. giraffe44 says:

    Hi, Lina. I’m glad you like the birthday posting. I’ve tried to get on “Schoolmates” but haven’t been able to do so. Your English is a lot better than my Russian! Thanks for writing.

  3. dianne345 says:

    In the section on Ava Gardner, I think what she said (read this somewhere) was that he was “unable to break (rather than make) the mold of the beautiful lover.” Anyway, thanks for this posting.

    TCM has once again overlooked him for “Summer Under the Stars,” as they did even on his 100th birthday in 2011. They did honor Lucille Ball for her 100th the next day. And this year, they have some very obscure actors that they are honoring – Rex Ingram, Mae Clarke, Warren Oates, Virginia Bruce (at least obscure to me). Oh well, RT is in 6 of the movies honoring other actors, & he was Star of the Month in April 2010 & September 2001 (when probably no one was watching – I couldn’t even get TCM until late 2003, anyway),

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