Robert Taylor Poster

Quotes (30)

  • Acting is the easiest job in the world, and I'm the luckiest guy. All I have to do is be at the studio on time and know my lines. The wardrobe department tells me what to wear, the assistant director tells me where to go, the director tells me what to do. What could be easier?
  • For 17 years it was Mr. Mayer [MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer] who guided me, and I never turned down a picture that he personally asked me to do.
  • I was this punk kid from Nebraska who had an awful lot of the world's good things tossed in his lap.
  • I must confess that I objected strenuously to doing Song of Russia (1944) at the time it was made. I felt that it, to my way of thinking at least, did contain Communist propaganda.
  • It's happens that I like the people of Nebraska. They're the best, the most hospitable, the most honest, the most trustworthy people in our whole darned country. And you lucky Nebraskans who are still living there just believe me. I've been a lot of places, and I have met a lot of people, and I still say Nebraskaland has the best hunting and the best people in the whole country.
  • [about his childhood in Nebraska] I was not--I still am not--gregarious. I was then, as I am now, uneasy when I am with more than one person. I preferred being alone on the prairie or in the woods, to playing football with the gang. After school I didn't play with the other kids. I liked to be alone by myself. And I was alone. I never ran with a group. I wasn't unhappy. On the contrary, I read a lot. I wasn't at all the dreamy sort. I had my horse. I had my bike. I always had a flock of animals to care for. I just had enough to do on my own and that's how I preferred to do and be.
  • I got $35 a week and my mother, grandmother and I had to live on it. There was that awful night when I realized we had one thin dime in the world. I had been studying hard at the studio, trying to do everything they told me. But I seemed to be getting nowhere, and getting there fast. I had nothing and no prospects of ever getting anywhere. I hadn't any chance of being a success in this business but I had confidence in myself. I knew I could land something--maybe a salesman's job--and make more money than I had been getting. We would be all right, then. In the morning I went to Mr. Louis B. Mayer and asked him to release me from my contract . . .
  • In my freshman year [1929] I played the leading role in the campus performance "Helena's Boys", greatly to the disgust of Professor Gray [Herbert B. Gray. Taylor's cello teacher from 1925-31], who wanted to know why I fiddled about with such nonsense. He said that I should concentrate on the cello, that I had the makings of a concert artist, what had I to do with "playacting"? I couldn't tell him. I didn't know myself. I don't know now. I only know that there was something in the musty smell of backstage that I like.
  • [about his role in Devil's Doorway (1950)] I admired the characterization because of the fact that the Indian, previously considered the "heavy" in early Westerns, is a regular guy. For once he gets a chance to tell his side of the story.
  • [October 23, 1947, on Communist "influence" in Hollywood] I can name a few who seem to sort of disrupt things once in awhile. Whether or not they are Communists I don't know . . . One chap we have currently, I think, is Mr. Howard Da Silva. He always seems to have something to say at the wrong time. Miss Karen Morley also usually appears at the guild meetings.
  • [about the House Un-American Activities Committee investigations into Communist "influence" in Hollywood] These investigations, the way they are being run in Washington at the moment, remind me more of a three-ring circus than of a sincere effort to rid the country of a real threat. There's nothing any of us are going to tell them in Washington that the FBI didn't know five years ago. Maybe it's easier to call 20 friendly names from Hollywood than to have a look at the FBI files! Maybe it's better publicity for the home-state electorate, too!
  • A screen metamorphosis is more psychology than histrionics. The thing is to analyze the character you are playing and then the various stages of self-development become a logical outgrowth of that individual finding himself.
  • When I went to college at Pomona, California, I still had no clear idea as to what I wanted to do. The operation on the settler must have made some sort of imprint on my mind, for I remember playing about with the idea of studying medicine. But I soon changed my mind, and, throwing overboard all intentions of wielding a scalpel, I took up economics! Sounds strange, doesn't it? And, from economics, I drifted to psychology, where, for the first time, I "took root". The subject interested me, and in a very short time I found myself studying it pretty deeply. But fate was already mapping out a different sort of career for me.
  • I do remember one event during this time [1923] that seemed to me then to be some sort of landmark. This occurred when I was 12, an emergency operation had to be performed on a snow-bound settler. The temperature was 12 below zero, but that didn't matter. A man's life was at stake--and so the operation had to go on. The kitchen table of the settler's humble home was our operating table, and it fell to my lot to assist my father by getting the hot water ready, and sterilizing the instruments, after which there was nothing left for me to do except to watch, in a sort of half-hypnotized way, as the delicate incisions were made and the operation duly completed successfully.
  • [on Vivien Leigh] She was one of the most beautiful and talented ladies ever to grace a motion picture screen.
  • [on ex-wife Barbara Stanwyck] She is one of the finest actresses in show business. A lot of young actors and actresses could have profited then and now from a few "seminars" with "Missy" on their professional attitudes--their regard for the business of being an actor--on their on-stage and off-stage deportment, as it were, because I doubt that there ever has been, or ever will be, a greater "pro" than Barbara.
  • "Know yourself", said the wise old Greeks. That is the simple but profound maxim which, I am convinced, has been largely responsible for my feet stepping firmly up the movie ladder. Unless you do know yourself, your capabilities, and--what is perhaps more important still--your limitations, then opportunity will go on knocking on your door in vain. If you analyze yourself and find out your own strength and weaknesses, then you have taken the first step towards understanding others and being able to interpret them. In its more direct application to the film business this will result in there being less likelihood of any miscasting. And, by carrying out these principles I very soon learned to resist the temptation of "flying high" and playing roles for which I was temperamentally and physically unsuited.I have rigorously kept to that rule of only playing roles for which I know myself to be fitted.
  • [on Gary Cooper, after his death] Coop was the handsomest man--certainly one of the two or three best actors--ever to honor the ranks of the motion picture business. He was a very special man, darling, a very talented man, and probably felt forgotten. You can't afford to get old in this business. It just walks away from you.
  • Looks are good or bad, according to taste. My appearance doesn't fascinate me. But I'm not the one who has to be pleased, either. It's a big help to an actor if people like to look at him but it has nothing to do with acting.
  • Working with Greta Garbo during the making of Camille (1936) was an inspiring experience I'll never forget and that, doubtless, will leave its mark.
  • My metabolism doesn't lend itself to the [Bette Davis-James Cagney] brand of high-pressure careering. I stayed with one studio for 20 years, took what they gave me to do, did my work. While I wasn't happy with everything, I scored pretty well.
  • People seem to think I'm a millionaire, but I'm not. I've saved a little money but every time a chance came along to strike it rich outside the movie business, like the real estate deals of some stars, I was always a dollar short or a day late. It's the story of my life.
  • If I didn't need the money I make on TV, I tell myself I'd hunt and fish all the time. Ernest Hemingway and Gary Cooper got me interested in it years ago, and looking forward to hunting and fishing has often, in this business, kept me from going nuts.
  • [about MGM chief Louis B. Mayer] Some writers have implied that Mayer was tyrannical and abusive, and a male prima donna who out-acted his actors. As I knew him, he was kind, fatherly, understanding and protective. He gave me picture assignments up to the level that my abilities could sustain at the time and was always there when I had problems. I just wish today's young actors had a studio and boss like I had. It groomed us carefully, kept us busy in picture after picture, thus giving us exposure, and made us stars. My memories of L.B. will always be pleasant. and my days at MGM are my happiest period professionally.
  • The Middle East is going to get us into the third world war.
  • However, any time any of the left-wing press or individuals belonging to the left wing or their fellow-traveler groups ridicule me, I take it as a compliment because I really enjoy their displeasure.
  • Believe me, I didn't know what the hell I was doing. But a beautiful director, George Cukor, told me what to do. He acted it and I just copied him, and out came a good performance. You show me what to do and I'll do it.
  • I'm not an actor. I don't know what I'm doing.
  • [his last words] Art, I wish I would have quit sooner.
  • [after naming names] I don't mind this type of adoration, if that's what you call it. Folks would come over and talk to me about how they felt concerning world problems or about a relative who had been killed in the war. I sat over many a cold steak, but being admired for just standing up for what I believed was right, seemed normal to me - but a big thing to them.