Robert Young

Robert Young, Candid Portrait By Clarence Sinclair Bull, 1930’s

Quiet soft spoken Robert grew up in California and had some stage experience with the Pasadena Playhouse before entering films in 1931. His movie career consisted of characters who were charming, good looking and bland as ever. In fact, his screen image was such that he usually never got the girl. Louis B. Mayer would say “He has no sex appeal”, but he had a work ethic that prepared him for every role that he played. And he did play in as many as eleven films per year for a decade starting with ‘The Black Camel’ in 1931. He had some note as the spy in Hitchcock’s ‘Secret Agent’ in 1936, but it would be in the forties before he would have some of his best roles. Some of them were ‘Northwest Passage (1940)’; ‘Western Union (1941)’; and ‘H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941)’. Good roles followed from the husband of Dorothy McGuire in ‘Claudia (1943)’ to the detective in ‘Crossfire (1947), but the good roles were few. In 1949, Robert started a radio show called “Father Knows Best” where he played Jim Anderson, an average father with average situations – which was tailor made for him. Basically retiring from films, this program ran for five years on Radio before it went to Television in 1954. After a slight falter in the ratings and a switch from CBS to NBC, it would be a mainstay of television until it was cancelled in 1960. He would continue making guest appearances on various television shows and work in television movies. In 1969, he starred as Dr. Marcus Welby in the TV movie “Marcus Welby, M.D.”. This show would become his new series and run from 1969 through 1976 and also feature James Brolin as his assistant, Dr. Steven Kiley – the doc with the bike. After that, Robert, who by now was in his seventies, would finally lick the 30 year battle that he had with alcohol. He would occasionally appear in television movies through the eighties.

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