Robert Young (actor)
Young in a publicity photo (1957)
Robert George Young
February 22, 1907
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||July 21, 1998 (aged 91)|
|Resting place||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 film, television, and radio actor, best known for his leading roles as Jim Anderson, the father character in Father Knows Best (CBS, then NBC, then CBS again), 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 Fyfe. When Young was young, 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 ended at MGM, 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 had 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.
Young's career began an incremental and imperceptible decline, despite a propitious beginning as a freelance actor without the nurturing of a major studio. He continued starring as a leading man in the late 1940s and early 1950s, but only in mediocre films, then 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 (1949–1954 on radio, 1954–1960 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 for Sanka coffee.
Personal life and death
Young was married to Betty Henderson for 61 years 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 Community Mental Health Center 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. The Center started in Rock Island, Illinois and now has sites in both Iowa and Illinois, as part of the Quad-City Metro Area
|1931||The Black Camel||Jimmy||Film debut; a Warner Oland / Charlie Chan film|
|1931||The Sin of Madelon Claudet||Dr. Lawrence Claudet||Alternative title: The Lullaby|
|1931||The 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||The House of Rothschild||Captain Fitzroy|
|1934||Lazy River||William "Bill" Drexel|
|1934||Paris Interlude||Pat Wells|
|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||The Emperor's Candlesticks||Grand Duke Peter|
|1937||The 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||The Toy Wife||Andre Vallaire|
|1938||The 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|
|1939||Bridal Suite||Neil McGill|
|1940||Dr. Kildare's Crisis||Douglas "Doug" Lamont|
|1940||Northwest Passage||Langdon Towne|
|1940||The Mortal Storm||Fritz Marberg|
|1941||Western Union||Richard Blake|
|1941||Lady Be Good||Edward "Eddie" Crane|
|1941||H. M. Pulham, Esq.||Harry Moulton Pulham|
|1941||Married Bachelor||Randolph Haven|
|1942||Cairo||Homer Smith, aka Juniper Jones|
|1942||Journey for Margaret||John Davis|
|1943||Slightly Dangerous||Bob Stuart|
|1943||Sweet Rosie O'Grady||Sam MacKeever|
|1944||The Canterville Ghost||Cuffy Williams|
|1945||The 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|
|1949||Adventure in Baltimore||Dr. Andrew Sheldon|
|1950||The Second Woman||Jeff Cohalan|
|1951||Goodbye, My Fancy||Doctor James Merrill|
|1952||The Half-Breed||Dan Craig|
|1954||Secret of the Incas||Stanley Moorehead|
|1954||Ford Television Theatre||Tom Warren||1 episode|
|1954–1960||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||The Name of the Game||Herman Allison||1 episode|
|1969–1976||Marcus Welby, M.D.||Dr. Marcus Welby||170 episodes|
|1977||Father Knows Best Reunion||Jim Anderson||Television film|
|1977||Father Knows Best: Home for Christmas||Jim Anderson||Television film|
|1978||Little Women||Grandpa James Lawrence||Television film|
|1984||The 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||A Conspiracy of Love||Joe Woldarski||Television film|
|1988||Marcus Welby, M.D.: A Holiday Affair||Dr. Marcus Welby||Television film|
|1949–1954||Father Knows Best||Jim Anderson|
|1943||Suspense||Episode: "A Friend to Alexander"|
|1946||Suspense||Episode: "The Night Reveals"|
|1952||Suspense||Episode: "The Frameup"|
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.
- Kazmin, Amy Louise (January 20, 1991). "Robert Young, 83, Attempted Suicide, Authorities Reveal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
- "A Safety Net in Peril: The State of Public Mental Health in the Quad-Cities" (PDF). 2018-01-13.
- "'Marcus Welby' actor Robert Young dies". cnn.com. 1998-07-22. Retrieved 2017-07-20.
- Robert Young; Los Angeles Times Hollywood Star Walk Retrieved 2017-07-20.
- Blackstone Audio 'Suspense' Vol. 2 issued 2015
- Kirby, Walter. "Better Radio Programs for the Week".
- Kirby, Walter (March 23, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 44. Retrieved May 21, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- 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. Muscatine, IA: Films of the Golden Age.
- 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.
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