Hollywood Remains to Be Seen

Robert Young
1907 - 1998

Forest Lawn Glendale

Robert Young is best known for his television roles in "Father Knows Best" and "Marcus Welby, M.D."

Throughout his career, Young played characters who were wholesome, charming, soft-spoken and decent, but rarely got the girl in the end. MGM studio chief Louis B. Mayer once said Young, "has no sex appeal." But Young's relatively bland characters were popular in supporting roles in more than 100 films during his 60-year career.

Born in Chicago, Young moved to California at an early age, and began appearing in stage plays. His film debut was a small role in "It Is The Law" (1924), but his first significant roles were in "The Black Camel" (1931), starring Warner Oland and Bela Lugosi, and "The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931), starring Helen Hayes and Lewis Stone. Young was a busy actor after that, appearing in dozens of films in the 1930s and 1940s, usually in supporting roles, including "Strange Interlude" (1932), "Tugboat Annie" (1933), "Spitfire" (1934), "Secret Agent" (1936), "Stowaway" (1936), "Northwest Passage" (1940), "Western Union" (1941), "Lady Be Good" (1941), "Claudia" (1943), "The Canterville Ghost" (1944) and "Crossfire" (1947).

In 1949, Young starred as Jim Anderson, the wholesome and decent father in the radio program, "Father Knows Best." After five years on radio, the show moved to television in 1954, as viewers watched Young and his television family face the crises of jobs, dating and other familiar family traumas. "Father Knows Best" ran until 1962, and continues to live on in syndication. From 1969 to 1976, Young starred as wholesome and decent Dr. Welby in the television series, "Marcus Welby, M.D." For the 1970-71 season, "Marcus Welby, M.D." was the top-rated show on television, according to the Nielsen Media Research ratings. Young was nominated for an Emmy award in 1956 for his role in "Father Knows Best," and was nominated for the Golden Globe award as best actor in a television drama for five consecutive years for "Marcus Welby, M.D.," from 1970 to 1974. He won only once, in 1972.

In his later years, Young revealed that his public image was a direct contrast to his private live, which included a 30-year battle with alcoholism and depression, resulting in a suicide attempt in 1991. After he discovered that he was suffering from a chemical imbalance, Young began to speak publicly about the issues and problems related to alcohol and depression, and his personal struggles. In appreciation for the help he was given by a psychiatrist in Illinois, Young made a donation to the Franciscan Medical Center in East Moline, IL, to open the Robert Young Center for Community Mental Health.

Young is buried next to his wife, Elizabeth Louise Henderson Young (1910 - 1994). They were married for 61 years, from 1933 until her death.

Young was born Robert George Young on Feb. 22, 1907, in Chicago, IL. He died on July 21, 1998, in Westlake Village, CA.

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