Robert Taylor holds the record of having the longest running contract with one studio, i.e. MGM, having been on their payroll from 1934 to 1958. Dubbed "The Man with the Perfect Profile" by the studio's publicity department, Taylor appeared in films of different genres in the 1930s, always playing a nice guy. Moving into the next decade, MGM decided Taylor needed an image change, so the 1940s saw him tackle more gritty parts, including a criminal on parole in Mervyn Leroy's Johnny Eager (1941) and Katharine Hepburn's villain husband in Undercurrent (1946).
In a letter to an admirer dated 15 September 1941, Taylor, who was in the midst of filming Johnny Eager, talks about this transition from "college boy" type of roles to "more mature" roles and about being recognised by one's peers. In the end, Taylor would never receive the ultimate peer recognition, i.e. an Oscar or a nomination. The only recognition he did receive during his career was the Golden Globe Henrietta Award for World Film Favorites in 1954, a prize he shared with Alan Ladd.
|Robert Taylor: The Man with the Perfect Profile|
|Robert Taylor and Van Heflin in a scene from Johnny Eager. While Taylor delivered a fine performance, it was Van Heflin who stole the show with his Oscar-winning performance as Eager's loyal and sensitive friend.|