Robert Young (actor)
from Journey for Margaret (1942)
|Born||Robert George Young
February 22, 1907
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||July 21, 1998
Westlake Village, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale|
|Spouse(s)||Betty Henderson (1933–1994; her death; (1910-1994) 4 children)|
Robert George Young (February 22, 1907–July 21, 1998) was an American television, film, and radio actor, best known for his leading roles as Jim Anderson, the father character in Father Knows Best (NBC and then CBS), and the physician Marcus Welby in Marcus Welby, M.D. (ABC).
Born in Chicago, Young was the son of an Irish immigrant father, Thomas E. Young, and an American mother, Margaret Fife. When Young was a child, the family moved to different locations within the U.S.: Seattle, followed by Los Angeles, where Young became a student at Abraham Lincoln High School. After graduation, he studied and performed at the Pasadena Playhouse while working at odd jobs and appearing in bit parts in silent films. While touring with a stock company producing The Ship, Young was discovered by a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer talent scout with whom he subsequently signed a contract. Young made his sound film debut for MGM in the 1931 Charlie Chan film, Black Camel.
Young appeared in over 100 films between 1931 and 1952. After appearing on stage, Young was signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and, in spite of having a “tier B” status, he co-starred with some of the studio’s most illustrious actresses, such as Katharine Hepburn, Margaret Sullavan, Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Helen Hayes, Luise Rainer, Hedy Lamarr, and Helen Twelvetrees. Yet, most of his assignments consisted of B movies, also known as “programmers,” which required two to three weeks of shooting (considered very brief shooting periods at the time). Actors who were relegated to such a hectic schedule appeared, as Young did, in some six to eight movies per year.
As an MGM contract player, Young was resigned to the fate of most of his colleagues—to accept any film assigned to him or risk being placed on suspension—and many actors on suspension were prohibited from earning a salary from any endeavor at all (even those unrelated to the film industry). In 1936, MGM summarily loaned Young to Gaumont British for two films; the first was directed by Alfred Hitchcock with the other co-starring Jessie Matthews. While there he surmised that his employers intended to terminate his contract, but he was mistaken.
He unexpectedly received one of his most rewarding roles late in his MGM career, in H.M. Pulham, Esq., featuring one of Hedy Lamarr’s most effective performances. He once remarked that he was assigned only those roles which Robert Montgomery and other A-list actors had rejected.
After his contract at MGM ended, Young starred in light comedies as well as in trenchant dramas for studios such as 20th Century Fox, United Artists, and RKO Radio Pictures. From 1943, Young assayed more challenging roles in films like Claudia, The Enchanted Cottage, They Won't Believe Me, The Second Woman, and Crossfire. His portrayal of unsympathetic characters in several of these later films—which was seldom the case in his MGM pictures—was applauded by numerous reviewers.
Not surprisingly, and despite a propitious beginning as a freelance actor without the nurturing of a major studio, Young’s career began an incremental and imperceptible decline. Still starring as a leading man in the late 1940s and early 1950s, but only in mediocre films, he subsequently disappeared from the silver screen, only to reappear several years later on a much smaller one.
Today, Young is most remembered as the affable insurance salesman in Father Knows Best (1949–54 on radio, 1954–60 on television), for which he and his co-star, Jane Wyatt, won several Emmy Awards. Elinor Donahue (“Betty”), Billy Gray (“Bud”), and Lauren Chapin (“Kathy”) played the Anderson children in the television version.
Until the late 1980s he also made numerous television commercials in which he persuaded edgy people to drink Sanka coffee.
Personal life and death
Young was married to Betty Henderson from 1933 until her death in 1994. They had four daughters, Carol Proffitt, Barbara Beebe, Kathy Young, and Betty Lou Gleason. They also had six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Despite his trademark portrayal of happy, well-adjusted characters, Young’s bitterness toward Hollywood casting practices never diminished, and he suffered from depression and alcoholism, culminating in a suicide attempt in January 1991. Later, he spoke candidly about his personal problems in an effort to encourage others to seek help. The Robert Young Center for Community Mental Health, in Rock Island, Illinois, is named after Young in honor of his work toward passage of the 708 Illinois Tax Referendum, which established a property tax to support mental health programs in his home state.
|1931||Black Camel, TheThe Black Camel||Jimmy||Film debut; a Warner Oland / Charlie Chan film|
|1931||Sin of Madelon Claudet, TheThe Sin of Madelon Claudet||Dr. Lawrence Claudet||Alternative title: The Lullaby|
|1931||Guilty Generation, TheThe Guilty Generation||Marco Ricca—aka John Smith|
|1932||The Wet Parade||Kip Tarleton|
|1932||The Kid from Spain||Ricardo|
|1932||New Morals for Old||Ralph Thomas|
|1932||Strange Interlude||Gordon Evans as a Young Man||Alternative title: Strange Interval|
|1933||Men Must Fight||Lt. Geoffrey Aiken|
|1933||Today We Live||Claude|
|1933||Hell Below||Lieutenant (JG) Ed "Brick" Walters|
|1933||Tugboat Annie||Alexander “Alec” Brennan|
|1933||The Right to Romance||Bobby Preble|
|1934||Death on the Diamond||Larry Kelly|
|1934||House of Rothschild, TheThe House of Rothschild||Captain Fitzroy|
|1934||Lazy River||William “Bill” Drexel|
|1935||West Point of the Air||Little Mike Stone|
|1935||The Bride Comes Home||Jack Bristow|
|1936||It’s Love Again||Peter Carlton|
|1936||Secret Agent||Robert Marvin|
|1936||The Bride Walks Out||Hugh McKenzie|
|1937||I Met Him in Paris||Gene Anders|
|1937||Emperor's Candlesticks, TheThe Emperor's Candlesticks||Grand Duke Peter|
|1937||Bride Wore Red, TheThe Bride Wore Red||Rudi Pal|
|1937||Navy Blue and Gold||Roger “Rog” Ash|
|1937||Dangerous Number||Henry 'Hank' Medhill|
|1938||Paradise for Three||Fritz Hagedorn||Alternative title: Romance for Three|
|1938||Three Comrades||Gottfried Lenz|
|1938||Toy Wife, TheThe Toy Wife||Andre Vallaire|
|1938||Shining Hour, TheThe Shining Hour||David Linden|
|1938||Rich Man, Poor Girl||Bill Harrison|
|1939||Honolulu||Brooks Mason/George Smith|
|1939||Maisie||Charles "Slim" Martin|
|1939||Miracles for Sale||Michael "Mike" Morgan|
|1940||Northwest Passage||Langdon Towne|
|1940||Mortal Storm, TheThe Mortal Storm||Fritz Marberg|
|1941||Western Union||Douglas “Doug” Lamont|
|1941||Lady Be Good||Edward “Eddie” Crane|
|1941||Journey for Margaret||John Davis|
|1941||H. M. Pulham, Esq.||Harry Moulton Pulham|
|1941||Married Bachelor||Randolph Haven|
|1942||Cairo||Homer Smith, aka Juniper Jones|
|1943||Slightly Dangerous||Bob Stuart|
|1943||Sweet Rosie O'Grady||Sam MacKeever|
|1944||Canterville Ghost, TheThe Canterville Ghost||Cuffy Williams|
|1945||Enchanted Cottage, TheThe Enchanted Cottage||Oliver Bradford|
|1945||Those Endearing Young Charms||Hank Travers|
|1946||Lady Luck||Larry Scott|
|1947||They Won’t Believe Me||Larry Ballentine|
|1948||Sitting Pretty||Harry King|
|1949||That Forsyte Woman||Philip Bosinney||Alternative title: The Forsyte Saga|
|1949||And Baby Makes Three||Vernon “Vern” Walsh|
|1949||Bride for Sale||Steve Adams|
|1950||The Second Woman||Jeff Cohalan|
|1951||Goodbye, My Fancy||Doctor James Merrill|
|1954||Secret of the Incas||Stanley Moorehead|
|1954||The Ford Television Theatre||Tom Warren||1 episode|
|1954–60||Father Knows Best||Jim Anderson||203 episodes|
|1955||Climax!||Lieutenant Commander Knowles||1 episode|
|1961||Window on Main Street||Cameron Garrett Brooks||17 episodes|
|1965||Dr. Kildare||Dr. Gilbert Winfield||1 episode|
|1965||Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre: The Admiral||Admiral Matt Callahan||1 episode|
|1968||Name of the Game, TheThe Name of the Game||Herman Allison||1 episode|
|1969–76||Marcus Welby, M.D.||Dr. Marcus Welby||170 episodes|
|1977||Father Knows Best: Home for Christmas||Jim Anderson||Television film|
|1978||Little Women||Grandpa James Lawrence||Television film|
|1984||Return of Marcus Welby, M.D., TheThe Return of Marcus Welby, M.D.||Dr. Marcus Welby||Television film|
|1987||American Masters||Edward “Eddie” Crane||1 episode|
|1987||Mercy or Murder?||Roswell Gilbert||Television film|
|1987||Conspiracy of Love, AA Conspiracy of Love||Joe Woldarski||Television film|
|1988||Marcus Welby, M.D.: A Holiday Affair||Dr. Marcus Welby||Television film|
Awards and nominations
|Year||Award||Result||Category||Film or series|
|1979||BAFTA Award||Won||Best Specialised Film||Twenty Times More Likely|
|1956||Emmy Award||Nominated||Best Actor - Continuing Performance||Father Knows Best|
|1957||Won||Best Continuing Performance by an Actor in a Dramatic Series||Father Knows Best|
|1958||Won||Best Continuing Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic or Comedy Series||Father Knows Best|
|1959||Nominated||Best Actor in a Leading Role (Continuing Character) in a Comedy Series||Father Knows Best|
|1970||Won||Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Series||Marcus Welby, M.D.|
|1971||Nominated||Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Drama||Vanished|
|Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Series||Marcus Welby, M.D.|
|1972||Nominated||Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Series||Marcus Welby, M.D.|
|1970||Golden Globe Award||Nominated||Best TV Actor - Drama||Marcus Welby, M.D.|
|1971||Best TV Actor - Drama||Marcus Welby, M.D.|
|1972||Won||Best TV Actor - Drama||Marcus Welby, M.D.|
|1973||Nominated||Best TV Actor - Drama||Marcus Welby, M.D.|
|1974||Best TV Actor - Drama||Marcus Welby, M.D.|
|2003||TV Land Award||Nominated||Classic TV Doctor of the Year||Marcus Welby, M.D.|
- Jackson, Kenneth T.; Markoe, Arnie; Markoe, Karen (1998). The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives. Simon and Schuster. p. 645. ISBN 0-684-80663-0.
- Newcomb, Horace (2004). Encyclopedia of Television (2 ed.). CRC Press. p. 856. ISBN 1-57958-411-X.
- "Robert Young, 83, Attempted Suicide by carbon monoxide with his automobile. Chicago DJ Garry Meier quipped "kitten, get me my slippers and tail pipe" in a poor attempt at humor. Authorities Reveal".
- "About the Robert Young Center for Community Mental Health". Trinity Regional Health System. Retrieved 2007-06-14.
- "'Marcus Welby' actor Robert Young dies". cnn.com. 1998-06-22. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
- Robert Young. Los Angeles Times Starwalk Project Retrieved 2010-09-04.
- Eames, John Douglas (1986). The MGM Story. New York City: Crown Publishers. ISBN 0-517-52389-2.
- Gartside, Michael (2000/2001). Robert Young's British Films (no 23). Muscatine, IA: Films of the Golden Age. Check date values in:
- Jewell, Richard B.; Harbin, Vernon (1982). The RKO Story. New York City: Crown Publishers.
- Katz, Ephraim (1981). The Film Encyclopedia. New York City: Harper Perennial.
- Shipman, David (1970). The Great Movie Stars: The Golden Years. New York City: Bonanza Books.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to:|
- Robert Young at the Internet Movie Database
- Robert Young at the TCM Movie Database
- Robert Young at The New York Times
- Robert Young at Find a Grave
- Literature on Robert Young