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HOLLYWOOD GOLD

February 22, 2014

HAPPY NATAL DAY, ROBERT YOUNG

young color

young color

Actor Robert Young was born on this day, February 22, 1907 in Chicago, Illinois.

Though born in the Windy City, Young actually grew up in California. He began acting with the Pasadena Playhouse and segued into movies in 1931.

At prestigious MGM, Young starred with almost their entire roster of glamorous leading ladies–Crawford, Shearer, Powell, Sothern, and many others. He was usually cast as the second-lead, which meant he rarely got the girl in the final reel.

 

Young on the set of one of his most popular films, Claudia, with Dorothy McGuire. At left is famous director Edmond Goulding. (c) 20th Century-Fox

Young on the set of one of his most popular films, Claudia, with Dorothy McGuire. Seated on couch is famous director Edmond Goulding. (c) 20th Century-Fox

 

Young lacked the strong sex-appeal of most of his contemporary male players. But he could be counted on to deliver a solid, dependable performance in any role he played.

The actor worked steadily from the early ’30s to the ’50s, where he became one of the earliest big-screen stars to enter the world of television with the hit sitcom, Fatther Knows Best. Not only did he star as the bland, insurance-salesman father of his video brood, but he also owned a piece of the show. It made him a very wealthy man.

Young with dancing star Eleanor Powell from the 1940 film, Honolulu. The movie was an embarassment for both of them. (c) MGM

Young with dancing star Eleanor Powell from the 1940 film, Honolulu. The movie was an unpleasant experience for both of them. (c) MGM

 

After a hiatus he went on to become Marcus Welby, M.D. in 1969. The drama about a medical practitioner who took an inordinate interest in his patients and their problems made him a big attraction all over again. The series was as realistic as an episode of Batman, but audiences ate up the exploits of the kindly old doc who was never too busy to make a house call or dispense sage advice.

After the series ended, Young continued to make the occasional TV movie, reprising the role of Jim Anderson and Welby in a variety of reunion shows.

young port

 

Young suffered from crippling bouts of depression, and could be a bit cantankerous in his advancing years. A local radio host always tells the story of watching the elderly actor appearing at a local St. Louis TV station to film some promos for syndicated reruns of the Welby series. Every time Young would fluff a line, he would reportedly let loose of a string of expletives that could peel the wallpaper.

Robert Young passed away on July 21, 1998 at age 91.

 






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