After Taylor`s battle with lung cancer was publicly disclosed in the autumn of 1968, he admitted in interviews that he had started smoking in his early teens, and had often smoked three packets of cigarettes a day as an adult.
He starred in the first pro-Indian movie of the American cinema: Devil`s Doorway (1950) first Anthony Mann`s western, although Broken Arrow (1950) was released one month before. Devil`s Doorway was completed first but held back from release due to the nervousness of MGM`s studio brass over the subject matter.
After their divorce, his wife Barbara Stanwyck auctioned off the $100,000 large home at 423 North Faring Road, in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles, and all its furnishings, and collected 15 percent of Taylor`s earnings until he died in 1969.
Robert Taylor was terribly keen on classical music, learning appreciated by among others Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo. He had a huge collection of first-class works. He was a music major from 1929 to 1931 playing the cello in Doane String Quartet, the trio "The Harmony Boys" and in Doane Symphony Orchestra in Nebraska. In California he used to have a gramophone with him that he would play every time he could on set filming and he never missed the concerts given each year at the Hollywood Bowl.
In a feature in the May 21, 1961 Family Weekly magazine, Taylor stated he became a hunter during his more mature years after he met actor Gary Cooper at Sun Valley, Idaho in 1939. Occasional hunting companions of note were novelist Ernest Hemingway and actors Wallace Beery, Clark Gable, Robert Stack and John Wayne.
He gave Elizabeth Taylor her first screen kiss in Conspirator (1949).After the first kiss scene was completed, she went to her dressing room, flopped in chair and said to her hairdresser: "I`ve just been kissed by Robert Taylor!".
He was diagnosed with lung cancer in the spring of 1968, having been feeling increasingly breathless and tired for some time. He immediately underwent cobalt treatment, however he did not give up smoking until shortly before undergoing major surgery to remove his entire right lung on 8 October 1968.
His lifelong hobbies included hunting, fishing, flying and writing letters. The last one became a life-long activity appreciated by many.
The twelve-mile section of U.S. Highway 136 between Beatrice and Filley was officially designated as the Robert Taylor Memorial Highway in 1994.(source: Gage County Historical Society of Beatrice, Nebraska).
His flying interest emerged after the movie Flight Command (1940), when he bought a single-engine plane and took lessons for a pilot`s license. After World War II, when he served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1945 as a flight instructor and narrator of 17 trainings films, MGM bought him a twin-engine Beechcraft which he flew regularly until the early 1960s.
He inspired the fictional character called Diabolik (1968), an anti-hero featured in Italian comics. Diabolik was created by sisters Angela and Luciana Giussani in 1962, and his features was graphically inspired by Taylor: dark hair with a distinctive widow`s peak, and striking blue eyes and eyebrows.
He left his signatures, footprints and handprints in the cement in the forecourt of Grauman`s Chinesse Theater in Hollywood, together with Barbara Stanwyck, on June 11, 1941.
He was ranked fourth in Box Office appeal in 1936, third in 1937 and sixth in 1938.
He was the first American actor to appear in film made in England - A Yank at Oxford (1938).
In 1954, he was named most popular star abroad by the Hollywood Foreign Press Correspondents Association representing 500 million moviegoers worldwide.
He and Clark Gable were very good friends, and Taylor was one of the active pallbearers at Gable`s funeral in November 1960.
His second favorite movie was Camille (1936)and his favorite co-worker was Greta Garbo.
Supported Thomas E. Dewey in the 1944 and 1948 presidential elections, and Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1952 and 1956 elections.
Four episodes of "The Robert Taylor Show" had been produced and a fifth was in line at the time of the sudden cancellation of the unaired series in the summer of 1963. Scripts had been written by Bruce Geller, Leonard Freeman, Tom Seller, and Lawrence Edward Watkin. NBC felt the new series was too controversial.
Following the success of Knights of the Round Table (1953) Taylor`s movie career declined. He managed to remain at MGM until 1958, when he signed for his own television series, "The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor" (1959).
Actively supported his best friend Ronald Reagan`s campaign to become the Republican Governor of California in 1966.
After the war he joined The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals founded in February of 1944 by Sam Wood and Walt Disney.
He was romantically involved with actresses v*rginia Bruce, Irene Hervey, Lia Di Leo, v*rginia Grey and Eleanor Parker.
After studying at Doane University, he followed his cello teacher to study at Pomona College, California, where he began acting and was encouraged to join MGM`s acting school before signing a seven-year contract with the studio initially at $35 a week. This is said to have set the stage as being the lowest-paid major star in the history of Hollywood; he remained at MGM for twenty-four years.
After Taylor died of lung cancer - he was a chain smoker - at the age of 57, he was interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, in Glendale, California. Many Hollywood celebrities attended his funeral, and his best friend Ronald Reagan, the Governor of California, gave the eulogy.
The favorite of all his films was Waterloo Bridge (1940).
Is portrayed by Terrence E. McNally in The Silent Lovers (1980) (TV)
He was called "The New King", after Clark Gable`s departure from MGM in 1953.
His mother had been an invalid since she was a teenager and was only able to get out of bed for 1 hour a week. Doctors predicted she would die before 30. Despondent over his wife`s condition, Robert`s father decided to take matters into his own hands. He enrolled in medical school and, soon after graduating, he cured his wife.
Right-handed Taylor spent weeks perfecting his ability to draw a gun with his left hand in preparation for his role in Billy the Kid (1941).
He holds Hollywood record for longest contract with one studio (mgm) 24-25 years from early 1934 to late 1958 and he holds Hollywood record for lowest contract salary ($35 a week in 1934).
The son of a country doctor.
2 children with Ursula Thiess: Terrance (b. June 18, 1955) and Tessa (b. 1959)
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1970.
MGM`s publicity department released these measurements for Robert Taylor in 1938: Chest 43" / Waist 30" / Hips 37" / Thighs 23" / Calf 15" / Biceps 14.75" / Forearm 12" / Wrists 7" / Neck 16"
Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, USA, in the Garden of Honor, Columbarium of the Evening Star. (Not accessible to the general public).
Directed 17 United States Navy training films during World War II.
Named lots of names to the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC).