91 (passed away Jul. 21st, 1998)
Feb. 22nd, 1907
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Robert Young's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1954 - Secret of the Incas
1949 - That Forsyte Woman
1947 - Crossfire
1947 - They Won't Believe Me
1945 - The Enchanted Cottage
1944 - The Canterville Ghost
1942 - Journey for Margaret
1942 - Cairo
1941 - Lady Be Good
1941 - Western Union
1940 - The Mortal Storm
1936 - Stowaway
1936 - Secret Agent
1931 - The Black Camel
Guest TV Roles
Himself - Host
Dr. Gilbert Winfield
Jim Anderson - Father Knows Best
Man on TV
Himself - Host
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 playing characters who were charming, good-looking--and bland. 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 (1931). He was notable as the spy in Alfred Hitchcock (I)'s Secret Agent (1936), but the '40s was the decade in which he was to have most of his best roles. These included 'Northwest Passage' (Book I -- Rogers' Rangers) (1940); Western Union (1941); and H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941). Good roles followed, from the husband of Dorothy McGuire (I)in Claudia (1943) to the detective in Crossfire (1947), but they were becoming scarce. In 1949, Robert started a radio show called "Father Knows Best" wherein he played Jim Anderson, an average father with average situations--a role which was tailor-made for him. Basically retiring from films, he starred in this program 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 became a mainstay of television until it was canceled in 1960. He continued making guest appearances on various television shows and working in television movies. In 1969, he starred as Dr. Marcus Welby in the TV movie Marcus Welby, M.D. (1969) (TV). The Marcus Welby series that followed ran from 1969 through 1976 and featured James Brolin as his assistant, Dr. Steven Kiley--the doc with the bike. After the series ended, Robert, now in his seventies, finally licked his 30-year battle with alcohol and occasionally appeared in television movies through the 1980s.
- Following his sobriety, he was once chosen Honorary Chairman of National Health Week.
- Was employed as a bank clerk and a reporter during his fledgling actor days and even found extra work in Keystone Cops movies.
- His Irish Protestant carpenter father abandoned the family when Robert was 10 years old. He was a newspaper boy during this time in order to help the family income.
- Jim Anderson, Young's character on _"Father Knows Best" (1954)_ (qv), was ranked #6 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" [20 June 2004 issue].
- MGM talent agents spotted him in a 1931 touring stage production of "The Ship" and signed him up.
- In later years, Robert and Elizabeth lived in a house in Westlake Village, California called "The Enchanted Cottage," named after the 1945 film in which he starred with 'Dorothy McGuire (I)' (qv).
- Originating his _"Father Knows Best" (1954)_ (qv) role on radio, he was the only member of the radio cast to transfer his role to TV.
- Did not renew his MGM contact after filming _The Canterville Ghost (1944)_ (qv) and chose to free-lance instead. After a great start in post-war pictures, his film career declined rapidly and he wisely moved to radio in 1949 and eventually TV.