Robert George Young

Robert George Young

American actor
Date of Birth: 22.02.1907
Country: USA

  1. Robert Young: The Accomplished American Actor
  2. Early Career and Breakthrough at MGM
  3. Transition to Television and Success
  4. Personal Life and Legacy

Robert Young: The Accomplished American Actor

Robert George Young was an American actor known for his iconic roles as Jim Anderson in the sitcom 'Father Knows Best' and as Dr. Marcus Welby in the television series 'Marcus Welby, M.D.' He was a three-time Emmy Award winner and had over 100 roles to his credit. Young was born on February 22, 1907, in Chicago, Illinois. His mother, Margaret Fife, was American, while his father, Thomas E. Young, was an Irish immigrant. The family moved to Seattle and later Los Angeles when Robert was a child.

Robert George Young

Early Career and Breakthrough at MGM

After graduating from high school, Young studied at the drama studio of the Pasadena Playhouse, where he also performed while working odd jobs. He landed small roles in silent films and caught the attention of a scout from MGM during a theater tour. Young signed a contract and made his film debut in the detective thriller 'The Black Camel' in 1931. Although he was never considered a major star, Young worked alongside renowned actresses at MGM, including Margaret Sullavan, Joan Crawford, Helen Hayes, and others. However, the majority of his films were B-movies that required only a few weeks of shooting compared to the six to eight films per year workload of other actors.

Robert George Young

Transition to Television and Success

Young's career in film gradually declined without the support of a major studio. In the early 1950s, he started appearing in leading roles, but in mediocre films, eventually disappearing from the big screen. However, television became a new avenue for Young's acting career. His most prominent role on TV was as the father in the series 'Father Knows Best,' in which he appeared in 195 episodes from 1954 to 1960. Prior to that, he portrayed the same character in the radio adaptation from 1949 to 1954. Young also served as an actor, creator, and producer of the series 'Window on Main Street.' His next successful role came in the medical drama 'Marcus Welby, M.D.,' which aired on ABC from 1969 to 1976. Two television movies about Dr. Welby, featuring Young, were released in 1984 and 1988.

Robert George Young

Personal Life and Legacy

In 1933, Young married Betty Henderson, who was three years his junior. They met in high school when Robert was 17 years old and Betty was 14. The couple had four daughters together. Despite usually playing happy, good-natured, and balanced characters, Robert Young was a painfully shy and self-doubting individual. He suffered from depression, and his drinking at social events led to alcoholism, which he battled for over 30 years. In 1991, he attempted suicide, but with the support of his wife and specialized organizations, he overcame his alcoholism. Young openly shared his struggles to encourage others facing similar difficulties.

Robert Young passed away on July 21, 1998, at the age of 91, in his Westlake Village, California home. The Robert Young Center for Community Mental Health, located in Rock Island, Illinois, is named in his honor for his contributions to the state's public life. Additionally, his home hosted meetings for Alcoholics Anonymous. Young's contributions to the film and television industry are commemorated with two stars bearing his name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.