Actor Robert Taylor was born on August 5, 1911 in Filley, Nebraska. As a teenager, he was a track star and played the cello in his high school orchestra. Upon graduation, he enrolled at Doane College in Crete, Nebraska to study music.While at Doane, he took cello lessons from Professor E. Gray, a man whom he admired and idolized. After Professor Gray announced he was accepting a new position at Pomona College in Los Angeles, Taylor moved to California and enrolled at Pomona. He joined the campus theatre group and was eventually spotted by an MGM talent scout in 1932.After signing a seven-year contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Taylor made his film debut in the 1934 comedy, Handy Andy, opposite Will Rogers. After appearing in a few small roles, he appeared in one of his first leading roles in Magnificent Obsession, with Irene Dunne. This was followed by Camille, opposite Greta Garbo.
Throughout the late 1930s, Taylor appeared in films of varying genres including the musicals Broadway Melody of 1936 and Broadway Melody of 1938, and the British comedy A Yank at Oxford with Vivien Leigh. In 1940, he reteamed with his A Yank at Oxford co-star Vivien Leigh in Mervyn LeRoy's drama Waterloo Bridge. Taylor would say that Waterloo Bridge was his favorite film. After being given the nickname "The Man with the Perfect Profile,” Taylor began breaking away from his perfect leading man image and began appearing in darker roles beginning in 1941. That year he appeared in Billy the Kid and the next year, he played the title role in the film noir, Johnny Eager opposite Lana Turner. After playing a tough sergeant in Bataan in 1943, Taylor contributed to the war effort by becoming a flying instructor in U.S. Naval Air Corps. During this time, he also starred in instructional films and narrated the 1944 documentary The Fighting Lady. Robert Taylor first appeared with actress Elizabeth Taylor in the 1949 movie Conspirator. Taylor (38 at the time) was somewhat uncomfortable with Elizabeth Taylor being sixteen and his love interest. The age difference was mentioned in the film, when they made Elizabeth state her age as eighteen years old to Robert's age of 31 years of age.
In 1950, Taylor landed the role of General Marcus Vinicius in Quo Vadis, opposite Deborah Kerr. The following year, he starred opposite Elizabeth Taylor in the film version of Walter Scott's classic Ivanhoe, followed by 1953's Knights of the Round Table and The Adventures of Quentin Durward, all filmed in England. By the mid-1950s, Taylor's career began to wane. He starred in a comedy western in 1955 co-starring Eleanor Parker called Many Rivers To Cross. In 1958 he shared lead with Richard Widmark in the edgy John Sturges western, The Law and Jake Wade. In 1958, he formed his own production company, Robert Taylor Productions, and the following year, he starred in the ABC hit television series The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor (1959–1962). Following the end of the series in 1962, Taylor continued to appear in films and television including A House Is Not a Home and two episodes of Hondo. In 1964, he co-starred with his former wife, Barbara Stanwyck, in William Castle's psychological horror film The Night Walker, from a novel by Robert Bloch. In 1965, after filming Johnny Tiger in Florida, Taylor took over the role of narrator in the television series Death Valley Days, when Ronald Reagan left to pursue a career in politics. Taylor would remain with the series until 1969 when he became too ill to continue working.
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