Robert Taylor and Friends (Part 1)

Robert Taylor was well-liked in Hollywood.  Mr. Taylor had a wide circle of social and professional acquaintances as well as colleagues and a small circle of real friends.  He was easy to work with though formal on the set, at least in later years. Mr. Taylor was visited on the set by celebrities from around the world.  He also knew and socialized with various political figures.  Here is a sampling of friends, colleagues and acquaintances.

Edward Arnold, Lucille Ball and Gene Kelly.

RT4696Edward Arnold worked with Robert Taylor on several pictures: Johnny Eager (1941), The Crowd Roars (1938) and The Youngest Profession (1943.  They played well off of each other with  Mr. Arnold as the good guy in Johnny Eager and a crook in The Crowd Roars. Mr. Taylor, conversely, went from villain to hero.  Lucille Ball and Mr. Taylor never worked together but  Mr. Taylor played a part in I Love Lucy.  In one episode “Robert Taylor is down by the hotel pool.  Ethel points to his feet sticking out under an umbrella to Lucy.”  In another episode, Lucy has an orange Mr. Taylor squeezed at the Farmer’s Market. Later Lucy wants to RT4660steal a Richard Widmark lemon to go with her Robert Taylor orange. Lastly, Lucy’s Robert Taylor orange has shriveled and it now looks like it says Wobert Tawler. Here Mr. Arnold, Mr. Taylor, Lucille Ball and Gene Kelly seem to be setting off on a trip. Lucy also visited the set of Bataan, 1943 as you can see in the second picture.

Anne Aubrey

RT7992Robert Taylor worked with British actress Anne Aubrey and actor John Dimech in Killers of Kilimanjaro (1959).  Mr. Taylor was 48, Ms. Aubrey 22.  As Mr. Taylor aged, he kept being paired with much younger women.  He disliked pretending to be younger and turned down scripts for Death Valley Days because the synopsis referred to his character as being in his twenties.  The producer  immediately changed that to forties and Mr. Taylor accepted more roles.  He was actually in his fifties at the time.  Robert Taylor said about that time:  “My days in the boudoir are over,” pause, “on screen.”

Max Baer

RT5751Max Baer??(February 11, 1909 – November 21, 1959) was an American boxer of the 1930s (one-time Heavyweight Champion of the World) as well as a referee, and had an occasional role on film or television.  In 1938 Robert Taylor played a boxer in The Crowd Roars.  Max Baer is thought to have helped train Mr. Taylor for the role of reluctant fighter  Kid McCoy.  They seem to be having fun here.  Both were also involved in War Bond tours during World War II. The lower picture here shows both of them.  Mr. Taylor is second from the right, Mr. Baer fourth from the left.  The man seated at the desk is Congressman and future President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Binnie Barnes

RT2125Ms. Barnes was imported from England by MGM and had a lengthy Hollywood career, although she never became a top star.  Here she and Robert Taylor are enjoying La Fiesta de Santa Barbara, 1935, a promotional short film for the studio.  They also worked together in There’s Always Tomorrow, Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937), Small Town Girl (1936) and Where Angels Go Trouble Follows (1968). The lower photo shows them on the set of Angels the year before Mr. Taylor’s death.

RT6864

Freddie Bartholomew

ca. 1936 --- Original caption: Freddie Bartholomew, actor, and Robert Taylor, actor --- Image by © Condé Nast Archive/CorbisFrederick Cecil Bartholomew (March 28, 1924 – January 23, 1992), known for his acting work as Freddie Bartholomew, was an English-American child actor. One of the most famous child actors of all time, he became very popular in 1930s Hollywood films. His most famous starring roles are in Captains Courageous (1937) and Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936).  This photo looks like it was taken at MGM in 1936.  Mr. Taylor had no experience with children personally at that time but worked well with them.  Child actor Darryl Hickman said:  “Taylor was a real nice man and he wasn’t condescending to kids like some actors were. He treated me as an equal.”

Jack Benny

RT7111Robert Taylor and Jack Benny were good friends.  They socialized with wives Barbara Stanwyck and Mary Livingstone.  Mr. Taylor also appeared several times on Mr. Benny’s radio show, once playing the cello in a duet with Mr. Benny and once as substitute host.  Mr. Taylor was also a guest at the wedding of  Joan Benny and Seth Baker in 1954, as was George Montgomery.

March 9, 1954; wedding Joan Benny and Seth Baker

Joan Blondell

RT5065I have no idea what’s going on in this photo. They both had nice teeth, though.

Humphrey Bogart

RT3273Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor at a public occasion.  Mr. Taylor and Mr. Bogart were political polar opposites and not close. Mr. Bogart once said: “I’m not good-looking. I used to be but not any more. Not like Robert Taylor.”

 Pat Boone

RT2370MGM liked to have its stars photographed at social events.  Robert Taylor, looking elegant in his tux, is joined by singer Pat Boone at a formal occasion.  They both looked delighted about something.  Mr. Taylor had no use for rock and roll so he probably approved of Mr. Boone.

Claudette Colbert

RT4057The New York Times, March 21, 1937, reported that seniors at the New York University School of Commerce, displaying excellent taste, voted Robert Taylor and Claudette Colbert their favorite movie stars.  Although they were not close friends, the two could obviously share a good laugh.

James Cagney

RT3836This picture was probably taken in England in the early 1950s.  Robert Taylor’s beard is for Quentin Durward.  They seem relaxed and comfortable with one another.  The bottom shows Lt. Taylor, looking incredibly young, on leave from the Navy.  Around him are, clockwise, James Cagney, Judy Garland, bandleader Kay Kyser, Fred Astaire and Harpo Marx.

RT5806

 Jack Conway, Frank Borzage

 RT178

Frank Borzage, right, directed Robert Taylor in Three Comrades.  Jack Conway, left, directed him in PrivateProperty, Lady of the Tropics and A Yank at Oxford.

Unlike many actors, Robert Taylor usually got along well with his directors.  These three look like good friends here on the set of Three Comrades.  Below, Jack Conway directs A Yank at Oxford. This looks like the de-bagging scene.

yank02 (2)

Sources:

Alexander, Linda J. Reluctant Witness: Robert Taylor, Hollywood, and Communism. Tease Publishing, LLC, 2008. (2nd edition due in 2016)
Sheridan, James and Barry Monush. Lucille Ball FAQ Applause Theatre Cinema Books 2011
Tranberg, Charles. Robert Taylor: a Biography. BearManor Media, 2010.
Wikipedia

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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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4 Responses to Robert Taylor and Friends (Part 1)

  1. dianne345 says:

    The beard would be for “Quentin Durward,” the last of the 3 “knight” roles, since he’s wearing a wedding ring.

  2. giraffe44 says:

    Good point. I’ll change it. You are so good at spotting these things! Thanks for writing.

  3. Desirée says:

    Thanks! I’m 50 now, Sigh, he was My first crush! It would have bene wonderful to have Internet those days: how much more news and photos and films!

    • giraffe44 says:

      Yes, it’s hard to imagine how we got along without the internet,isn’t it? I used to watch Robert Taylor movies on late night TV with a flashlight so my parents wouldn’t catch me. Thanks for writing.

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