(August 5, 1911 - June 8, 1969) U.S.A.
He was born in Filley, Nebraska, as Spangler Arlington Brugh, the son of a Nebraska doctor. In high school, he participated on the track team, won oratory awards, and played the cello in the school orchestra. He studied music at Doane College in Nebraska. He went to California in the early 1930s and while attending Pomona College to study medicine, he became involved in student theatricals. He was frequently given leading roles due to his uncommon handsomeness.
Spotted by an MGM talent scout, he signed a contract in 1934. Robert was loaned out to Fox for his first film, Handy Andy (1934). Robert was given a publicly distributed "screen test" in MGM's Buried Loot, part of the "Crime Does Not Pay" series of shorts, playing a handsome gangster who tries to avoid arrest by disfiguring his face with acid. He was loaned out to Universal for Magnificent Obsession (1935), which propelled Robert to matinee-idol status.
Good looks were also a curse of sorts for Robert. He was considered too "pretty" to be taken seriously by the critics and had to endure some horrible reviews during his first years in films; even when delivering a perfectly acceptable performance. When he portrayed Armand in Camille (1936), Robert received little praise. He was nicknamed "The Man with the Perfect Profile".
Robert married with Barbara Stanwyck in 1939 - it was a "lavender marriage", designed to conceal the fact that both were homosexual. After her death, biographies began to report these rumors as fact, with several sources who had known both Stanwyck and Taylor willing to go on record and verify these claims. They divorced in 1951.
He contributed greatly to the war effort, serving as a flight instructor for the Naval Air Transport division, narrating the 1944 documentary The Fighting Lady and directing 17 United States Navy training films during World War II.
Robert married again, to Ursula Thiess (1954-1969, his death). He had two children with Thiess, a son Terrence born in 1955, and a daughter Theresa born in 1959. Robert died ten years later, in Santa Monica, California, of lung cancer. He is interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, in the Garden of Honor, Columbarium of the Evening Star.
Jane Ellen Wayne wrote a biography titled Robert Taylor: The Man With the Perfect Face.