Robert Taylor died on June 8, 1969 at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica after a long battle with lung cancer.
Governor Ronald Reagan gave the eulogy. Here are some of the things he said:
“How to say farewell to a friend named Bob. He’d probably say, ‘Don’t make any fuss. I wouldn’t want to cause any trouble’…..how to speak of Robert Taylor–one of the truly great and most enduring stars of the golden era of Hollywood.
“MGM was a giant and the home of giants. It had the greatest stars in an era when Hollywood was a Mount Olympus peopled with godlike stars…..Bob Taylor became of the all-time greats of motion picture stardom. Twenty-four years at that one studio, MGM, alone. Thirty-five years before the public. His face, instantly recognizable in every corner of the world. His name, a new one–a household word.
“Perhaps each one of us has his own different memory, but I’ll bet that somehow they all add up to ‘nice man.’
Mervyn Leroy, who directed so many of his great pictures, speaks of his always showing consideration for everyone who worked with him. Artie Deutsch said he never worked in a company where he wasn’t well-loved, well-liked, even beloved by cast and crew.
“He loved his home and everything it meant. Above all he loved his family and his beautiful Ursula; the lovely Manuela, all grown up; little Tessa; Terry, a young man in whom he had such great pride.
[To the family] “As the years go by you will be very proud. Not so much of the things we have talked about here–you are going to be proud of simple things. Things not so stylish in certain circles today, but that just makes them a little more rare and of greater value. Simple things like honor and honesty, responsibility to those he worked for and who worked for him, standing up for what he believed, and yes, even a simple old fashioned love for his country, and above all, an inner humility.” (Quoted in Ursula Thiess, My Life Before, with & After Robert Taylor, XLibris Corporation, 2007)
Robert Taylor’s death certificate. The date was originally listed as June 7, then changed to June 8.