Stanwyck & Taylor – a Lavender Marriage?

When it came to questions about her sexuality, Barbara Stanwyck was the old studio days’ equivalent of today’s Tom Cruise. Any mention of her sexual preferences would immediately bring forth veiled threats of litigation should the subject be pursued. Cruise does the same thing today. Mention his name in connection with homosexuality or bisexuality and he will threaten to sue. I recently read a book in which he was continually referred to as ‘the heterosexual Tom Cruise’ throughout, perhaps a hundred times. The sarcasm was obvious but, apparently, the writers felt it necessary just to keep on the safe side.

Stanwyck & Webb in Titanic (1953)

There is enough evidence about Miss Stanwyck to be able to state with some certainty that she was either a lesbian or bisexual. Of course, that does not make her in any way unique in Hollywood. Far from it. Actor Clifton Webb described her as, ‘My favourite Hollywood lesbian’. Her husband, Robert Taylor, told Shelley Winters over dinner that Barbara was a lesbian and that they had separate beds. Theirs was just one of dozens of ‘lavender’ marriages in the movie community. Barbara’s own biographer, Axel Madsen, wrote that ‘people would swear that she was Hollywood’s biggest closeted lesbian’.

Looking back, it is perfectly understandable why these ‘marriages of convenience’ were necessary. Homosexuality, bisexuality and lesbianism were illegal in every state of the union. Anyone publicly identified as gay would not only lose their career, but run the real risk of spending time in the ‘slammer, making little rocks out of big ones. It was a most serious issue. Like many lesbians, Stanwyck was not averse to experimenting with the opposite sex from time to time, especially in a community inhabited by so many ‘beautiful people’ of both sexes. She and Taylor probably consummated their relationship on occasion, but neither had much interest in the opposite sex. Having said that, after their divorce in 1952 she embarked on a four year affair with the much younger Robert Wagner, beginning when they appeared together in Titanic.

Wagner & Stanwyck in Titanic

Stanwyck was born Ruby Stevens in Brooklyn, New York City, in 1907. Her mother died when she was four, and her father took off to help build the Panama Canal and was never seen again. He may have simply ‘shot through’, or he may have become one of the thousands of Yellow Fever casualties on the project. Of the 26,000 workers on the canal 21,000 were hospitalized for either Yellow Fever or Malaria. We will never know. Ruby and her brothers and sisters were fostered out several times. She left school at 14, gained work as a dance instructor at Texas Guinan’s lesbian speak-easy, where she met Joan Crawford and Tallulah Bankhead who were regulars. Bankhead said she slept with Stanwyck in the 20’s. Crawford, Garbo and Dietrich were also lovers shared by Bankhead and Stanwyck.

In 1928 Barbara married vaudevillian Frank Fay. They left for Hollywood to try their luck. Whenever he beat her up, which was often, she found solace in the arms of Crawford. When Eddie Mannix referred to Barbara as Fay’s ‘dyke wife’ one night at the Brown Derby, a fistfight ensued and Mannix punched Fay out.

Frank & Barbara Fay

They adopted a son in 1932, Barbara lost interest in him almost at once, and they remained estranged throughout their lives. ‘Some kids are born with bad blood’, she said by way of explanation. ‘Just like horses. When a parent has done everything possible, the only solution is to save yourself.’ In truth, her career was all she cared about. When a drunken Fay threw the toddler in their pool during an argument, Barbara decided it was time to jettison her family. She divorced him in 1935.

Barbara & Joan Crawford

Robert Taylor was an only child, born Spangler Arlington Brugh, in 1911 in Nebraska. He was a coddled, spineless mama’s boy. When his music teacher, Hubert Gray, left for Hollywood he was inconsolable, telling friends ‘his world fell apart’. He soon followed, moving in with Gray. Before long, Taylor’s mother moved in with both of them.

Robert Taylor circa 1932

Joining the Pasadena Playhouse Repertory Company, he soon became a ‘favourite of notoriously gay director Gilmor Brown. Every year Brown chose a ‘protégé’. That year it was Taylor. A year later it would be Tyrone Power. Everybody in the company knew that ‘protege’ meant private ‘rehearsals’ in overnight stays at the director’s home.

Gilmor Brown

Throughout his long career at MGM, Taylor trusted LB Mayer implicitly. Consequently, Mayer took advantage of that trust, and Bob remained the lowest paid of all the studio’s major stars. He always felt fortunate to be on their books, however. Hence, he remained with MGM until the demise of the studio system in the late fifties, a record 24 years in all. He had only good things to say about his boss.

Stanwyck signed non-exclusive contracts with both Columbia and Warner Bros, and freelanced with MGM. When rumours about Barbara’s and Robert Taylor’s sexuality became rife, MGM heads virtually ordered them to marry before their careers were permanently torpedoed. Taylor reluctantly agreed because he was afraid of losing his career. Stanwyck agreed because she knew not to cross LB Mayer. He could be extremely vindictive.


Just married

They married on May 13, 1939 in San Diego. Taylor declined to kiss his bride for the photographers. He went home to his mother’s that night. She had to be sedated when she learned he was no longer single. Barbara went back to her ranch. They were rarely together. Taylor spent his weekends with his gay pilot chum flying planes. When they were together Barbara called the shots. Taylor was just too timid. She bullied him in front of his family and friends. One evening he was drinking with John Wayne and others, when she came down the stairs and said: ‘Send your friends home. It’s time for bed.’ He meekly complied. Even so, she had feelings for him, which explains why they remained together for 13 years.


Turner & Taylor in Johnny Eager

In 1941, he made Johnny Eager opposite man-eater Lana Turner, who was at the peak of her beauty. She went after him with a vengeance. Most historians (and Barbara) believed she got him into the sack. Surprisingly, Barbara slashed her wrists over the affair. MGM told the press she was attempting to open a stuck window and it shattered, cutting her arms. The couple were rarely (if ever) intimate, but they did grow closer together over the years.


Joan & Barbara

Barbara’s publicist, Helen Ferguson, lived with her for 27 years, being paid just $400 a month. The amount never varied in all that time. They both swore like troopers, told similar risqué, foul jokes, but nobody knows for certain if they were intimate. Barbara, a chain-smoker, died in 1990 from emphysema. No funeral, no grave, as per her instructions. Taylor was also a chain-smoker. Lung cancer claimed him at 57 in 1969.


  1. The sodomy laws should be reinstated and all gays locked up. It is unnatural, illogical and sinful behavior. It should be shunned and shamed not celebrated! Pride is one of the 7 deadly sins!

  2. Too many homophobes out here thinking they personally knew Barbara Stanwyck. Write your own article if you don’t believe this one.

  3. “There is enough evidence about Miss Stanwyck to be able to state with some certainty that she was either a lesbian or bisexual.”

    WHAT EVIDENCE? There only has been rampant, unsubstantiated speculation. She had many liaisons with men after her divorce, with such people as Glenn Ford, who knew his way around with women. Robert Taylor had affairs with Turner and Gardner, and was happily married to Ursula Theis. Hardly the stuff of a “lavender” man.
    Cite your sources, next time.

  4. Seems the men that screwed Barbara over or was screwing someone else over for her, met tragic ends.. That’ll teach ya bums! 😉

  5. John Curran wrote –

    The Jewish Communist infiltration of movies

    Do you mean to say the

    “SUPPOSED Jewish Communist infiltration of movies by right wing anti Jewish loons”

    or is what you wrote what you believe? It’s unclear.

    • I could have been clearer myself when I wrote –
      “SUPPOSED“SUPPOSED Jewish Communist infiltration of movies by right wing anti Jewish loons” right wing anti Jewish loons”

      What I want to know is, is it your position that there was
      “Jewish Communist infiltration of movies”

      which position would mean you are a right wing anti Jewish loon.
      Hopefully that is not what you meant.

      • I apologize for the above, too bad one can’t go back and edit.
        I am dealing with cataracts and it’s a problem to see.
        The “Jewish Communist infiltration of Hollywood” line
        is offensive.
        I was wondering if Mr. Curran meant to agree with that idea or was
        citing it.

  6. I suggest you read Barbara Stanwyck: True Steel by Victoria Wilson which completely debunks the Stanwyck-Taylor marriage as being fake. Far from it. If the head of the Mattachine Society, Harry Hay, said Robert Taylor wasn’t gay or bisexual – he wasn’t. And what a nerve stating that “I never said he was gay” after telling that ridiculous story about the Pasadena Playhouse.

    There’s a great story in the book about Taylor and Stanwyck coming home after an anniversary dinner. She went upstairs, having no idea he had a surprise party planned and there were people there. She appeared at the top of the stairs, nude, and said, “Okay, buddy, come and get it.” Her biggest heartbreak was the loss of his letters in a fire. I can attest to this because I read several letters she wrote talking about it. Also Taylor had an affair with Lana Turner during Johnny Eager. Turner said she and Barbara were once staying in the same hotel and Turner called her. Barbara wouldn’t speak to her and never spoke to her again. When she found out he was cheating on her in Rome, it was the last straw, and they divorced.

    I don’t understand spreading these stupid rumors about people you didn’t know, based on bad research, when Victoria Wilson interviewed dozens upon dozens, going back to her childhood. Now, this is not to say Barbara was NOT bisexual. But to state her marriage to Taylor was a lavender one is incorrect. Just because they’re both dead, that doesn’t make telling untruths right. Also, no one made Barbara get married. Taylor was engaged to someone, which the studio was NOT happy about, and broke it off when he met Barbara.

    Also, if you want to know why they didn’t have children, Barbara had a botched abortion at a very young age.

    • Thankyou for your informative comments, Pietra. No doubt, you know far more about their marriage than I, and I bow to your balanced and logical assessment. I asked the question about their union being ‘lavendar’, simply because numerous sources have claimed it was. Unfortunately, Hollywood history is riddled with falsifications and statements made by individuals with hidden (some not so hidden) agendas, and it is very difficult to arrive at any level of absolute certainty. Personally, I think Barbara was indeed bi-sexual, but her adoration for her husband seems undeniable. Bob Taylor’s record of female lovers would surely indicate he was heterosexual, although it was not uncommon for straight men to indulge in acts contrary to their nature in order to advance up the Hollywood totem pole. Claudette Colbert once said that the only WOMAN she knew in the movie business who did not use the ‘casting couch’ to get ahead was Bette Davis. And that included herself. One wonders how many straight men reached the top via the same route of expediency. The articles I write are simply my paltry attempts to unravel the many mysteries of the business. If I err (and no doubt I do from time to time), I apologise unreservedly. Thankyou again for your candid responses, Pietra.

    • Well written people pour over stories of their celebrities and love to smear them in any way that will seem sensational…oh well cannot worry about them now but loved her acting and all movies and in the end the Big Valley series…

    • I seriously don’t believe the great Barbara Stanwyck was bisexual or a lesbian! She was a master actress with great taste in gorgeous men like Taylor! If she lived with Ferguson, so what! That doesn’t mean they were gay! Ridiculous! They were dear friends, period!!

    • Victoria Wilson may have gotten some of her information from my book, “Reluctant Witness: Robert Taylor, Hollywood, & Communism.” I am one of Robert Taylor’s primary biographers. I interviewed Harry Hay personally, a protege of Gilmor. He sheepishly stated that the commentaries of Taylor’s homosexuality were nothing more that rumors. There was no proof. There had never been proof. Gilmore had WANTED it to be true so he’d perpetrated it as such. Period. He’d wanted Taylor. It was that simple.

      As for Barbara, there’s very little likelihood that she was a lesbian. The stories I’ve been told, which I’ll never share publicly because my book was about Bob, not her, paint her as quite the heterosexual. Let’s leave it at that.

  7. What I think is most interesting about Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Taylor is that she was, indisputably, a stupendous actress (and unfortunately never the winner of “Best Actress” since there always seemed to be somebody else who was a teeny bit better! I have a problem with those awards for that reason–and for school awards too. There should be “several” winners of “best actor” or “best French student”–all sharing the glory, not just one.) But back to Stanwyck and Taylor, Robert Taylor was absolutely one of the most mediocre actors who ever lived–and he knew it, and that was why he was happy with never a salary increase. His only asset was his beauty, and he knew it, and he was glad to be kept on board because of it. When the studio paired him with Greta Garbo in Camille, nobody could keep silent about his lousy acting compared with hers. But American women were nuts about him, so it was good for the studio to have him around.

    I have never seen a bad Stanwyck performance, nor a good Taylor one. If it was in fact a “lavender marriage,” I’m not surprised. He did have a sickening mother who flipped out when he got married, but there were lots of mothers like that in those days–and they got away with it because they were “mothers.” A woman who was terrified that her son was getting married earned sympathy from millions of other American mothers instead of the condemnation they would receive today. So he had one of “those” mothers. And let’s not forget that he followed his cello teacher to California–despite not being a major musical genius or a seriously devoted cellist himself–and actually camped with him, along with his mama.

    I think probably he was gay and it was kept secret for all the right reasons–illegal, immoral, perverted–depending on whether you were talking about law, religion or science–so if he was gay and kept it a secret, he had a right to. It would be stupid and self-destructive to “come out” as gay before about 1980 (no, make that 2000).

    The studio did try to present him as a “real man” (which, in the low-class American mind, is a guy who solves problems with other people by using his fists–in “A Yank at Oxford”–a lousy movie that assured people that a hairy chest proves a man’s heterosexuality. It was a major farce. And Taylor himself once “proved” his heterosexuality by exhibiting the hair on his chest to somebody who asked if he was “queer.”

    But all that aside and, in the end, there was no way to compare the two of them in acting. She was magnificent from the beginning of her career to the end; he was never anything but a pretty face. When the face got slightly mature, they shifted him into cowboy roles.

    I have watched Double Indemnity and Sorry Wrong number and The Strange Love of Martha Ivers a hundred times each and I can’t find a single syllable or facial expression of Stanwyck’s that isn’t perfect. I don’t care about her sexuality. I can wallow in her acting till the day I die.

    • We are in complete agreement, James. I think Barbara was wonderful and I class Taylor in the same group as an actor as Mel Gibson. Spud ordinary. And like you, I have no interest in the sexuality of either. Thankyou for your most informative and balanced comments.

    • With all due respect James, while Stanwyck was indeed a great actress — one of the best — she had a bad habit of rushing her lines during argumentative moments, almost to the point of stumbling over them — and made them far more melodramatic than they should be.

      She also had this odd habit of adding “Oh Gaawwd!” to some of her dialogue, which crept into her public speeches as well.

      Having said that, she was indeed great in the movies you mentioned, and was so skilled that she was one of a very few who could not only cry genuine tears on cue, but could give you one tear or two, depending on what was needed.

      And if you want to see her in action, check out the sequence in ‘Forty Guns’ where she’s thrown off a horse and dragged. Her stunt woman refused to do it, so Stanwyck did it herself. And you can see that indeed, it’s her, during the 20-30 second sequence.

      As for Robert Taylor, despite his beauty — especially pre-1940 — he was definitely prettier than Stanwyck, there’s never been any fire in the midst of all the so-called smoke. Still, Farley Granger told the following story in interviews and in his autobiography:

      “I had just returned from working in Europe, and I wasn’t up on the latest,” he says. After he asked Stanwyck how her husband, bisexual actor Robert Taylor, was doing, Granger says, “She just stared at me very coldly and said, ‘You mean Mr. Taylor? He’s left me. For a woman!’”

      He also chain-smoked more vigorously than Bette Davis — so much so that he looked 10 years older than his age by 1950, and about 20 years older than his age when he died at only 57 years old. And he also drank. People turn to addictions like that for a reason, and who knows…maybe living a lie was one of them?

  8. I will make some assertions here:
    OK the reality is that circa 50% of all men and women are basic bisexuals. The remaining 50% is roughly split between being exclusively heterosexual or exclusively homosexual. This ties in neatly with known facts (facts!) about the animal kingdom’s sexual proclivities. In other words, homosexuality and bisexuality are perfectly normal manifestions of sexuality evident across the human and animal kingdoms. It is then not unreasonable to assume that evidence suggests that non-breeding animals and kingdom are all a normal part of life and even birth control. But, religion, philosophy, the law and organisations around the world have a real issue with being bisexual or gay. However, we must conclude that this flies in the face of de facto evidence that homosexuality is absolutely not abnormal, and that society must allow people the right to be different within a world of prejudice, persecution, proesecution and cruel discrimination. Human rights must trump the ignorance and intollerances of the human judges.
    Thanks for reading this.

    • Thankyou for that lesson on sexuality, Keith. I cannot tell if you are having a dig at me for writing the article on Stanwyck & Taylor or merely enlightening me. In the past I have been labelled homophobic by readers who delight in pinning labels on writers the moment they pen something about someone’s sexuality. If I write a piece about gay actors I do so because their sexuality is of interest to a proportion of readers and because I enjoy setting the record straight, given the decades of lies told by the studios about their stars. Personally, I have the same level of interest if someone is gay or not, right-handed or left-handed, redhead or blonde, Jew or Gentile. My only interest (as a historian) is in getting the facts right, and if that makes me homophobic in the eyes of some readers, well, so be it.

      • Hi Alan

        Well, honestly, no, I was not at all addressing the post to you personally – not at all. It was addressed to your readers – or the folk out there. I have not been given the impression that you are a homophobe!
        We both know Stanwyck lived in an era of extreme homophobic ethos; even today remnants of this miasma of prejudice still persists – sadly. As a Human Rights activist, and an Historical Novelist, I take a special interest in the contextual nuances and moral coding that the past still regales the present with; the social inheritance and generational idioms, ideology and all that. And the consequent contribution of scientific fact and discovery that informs our world of knowledge, continually.
        Anyways – sorry I gave you an impression I was not intending you to percieve!
        Best Wishes

        • Thankyou for, Keith, for setting me straight on that. My sincere apologies. I have been on the receiving end of some pretty vicious accusations since starting this site and have become a little gun shy of late. I welcome your comments and will read them in the spirit they are written from now on. I hope I hear from you again.

        • What a load of steamin’ crap Mr. Warwick. There’s absolutely no science to back up you claim that FIFTY percent of the population are bisexual. That’s both hilarious and nonsensical at the same time.

    • You are full of crap in your assertions that 50% are bisexual. Everything you said are liberal and leftist talking points.

  9. Thanks for your response, Alan. Gary Cooper? He sure got around, Mr. Kiss-and-Tell, the heel.

    In any event, Barbara Stanwyck has to be on the short list of the greatest Hollywood performers to never win an Oscar. I suppose the closest she came was for Double Indemnity in 1944, when Ingrid Bergman won for Gaslight.

    • I watch ‘Double Indemnity two or three times a year. I love the atmosphere of the picture and all three principals are fabulous. I have never thought much of ‘Gaslight’. Babs wuz robbed.

    • An odd thing for him to say. He openly confirmed that he experimented with homosexuality himself, but just once. He did not enjoy it, he said, so surely he could not class himself as bisexual.

  10. My Uncle Jack Burke was Mickey Redstone’s attorney for 30yrs. He litigated the government breakup of the studio-theatre monopoly. The Jewish Communist infiltration of movies,……etc. What he did behind the scenes was squash blackmail of gay pedophiles, underworld gambling debts, arrests on morals charges by vice cops and on and on.My mother was his legal secretary. Connie Hines of ‘Mr Ed’ worked in his office for a while before leaving for Hollywood. The studios were afraid of Hoover and the new medium of TV. When my great uncle died in 1974. My mother took custody of his files with no instructions as to what should be done.My mother died in 2008 and I currently possess them. There are 66 cases from mediations to bag jobs. Fred Otash background checks and photos used quite often for 6 yrs to a falling out.LB Mayer’s leased safe house under an alias for ailing stars and families while they dried out or electroshocked to cure ‘Homosexual pedophilia’ at nearby ‘Westwood Lodge’ where Judy Garland was treated. Much is coded for obvious reasons.Many of the troubled high earners would be blackmailed by studio heads.My uncle noted that this action could backfire .I couldnt help think of Taylor taking less money for 24 years!!!!! I am researching what to do with. All clients are deceased

    • Thank you for your most interesting comment, John. You appear to be in possession of data that would make for a fascinating and revealing book should you decide to use it. I hope you do. Few of us get the opportunity to alter history (or at least the world’s perception of it), and you seem to be in a position to do so. I truly hope you do it and I wish you every success. I feel certain that any major publishing house would jump at the chance to utilise what you have and pay you handsomely for the privilege.My one piece of advice would be – tread carefully and be sure to deal with someone you can genuinely trust.

  11. Very interesting article. I saw Barbara at the Governors Ball after the 1977 Oscars. She sat at a table near the dance floor, staring across the room at William Holden, whose career she saved when he was about to be fired from Golden Boy. I will always regret not walking over and talking to her. I was 32 and shy.

    No matter what, she was a great actress and a fascinating person.

    • Sorry if my question appears so late after your post about Barbara Stanwyck. It suggests that she sat alone, which I would feel is tragic. I wonder if she ever was truly comfortable in her own skin outside of a movie set, although Victoria Wilson claims she was great company and had many loyal friends. Personally, I feel that her life ultimately was a triumph, but no one could have emerged from that life without terrible scars. And in her final years, repeated tragedies haunted her – Holden’s death, the horrific home break-in, the house fire, all of which apparently turned her into a frightened recluse at the end. Best wishes.

      • I think that Barbara and William Holden were in love he was truly shocked when he read that she married Robert Taylor it was 1939 and the studio wanted them married and I think she did that to save Robert Taylor’s career cuz he was a lousy actor

  12. I don’t know where the mention of Helen Ferguson living with Stanwyck was originally made but it’s not true. After the divorce from Taylor, the only person that lived with her was her “Uncle Buck,” James Mack, who had known her since her days as a chorus girl in NYC. He lived with her until his health deteriorated to the point that he had to be moved to an assisted-living type place. After that, she always lived alone; she didn’t even have a live-in maid (she had a couple of bad experiences with them and didn’t try again). I’ve researched Stanwyck extensively and would say that the most reliable resource on her is Victoria Wilson’s biography. I assume you got most of your information from Axel Madsen’s biography; most of the stories in it have been heavily disputed by those who actually knew Stanwyck.
    Just so I don’t come across as a know-it-all, I’ve gotten most of my information from Wilson’s bio and from a good friend of Larry Kleno, who was Stanwyck’s publicist and close friend for the latter 25 years or so of her life.

    • Thank you for your interesting views on Miss Stanwyck, Rhonda. You may well be right about Miss Ferguson. I read so many pieces and books on Stanwyck, it is quite possible I have erred on the issue of Ferguson living with her. I honestly cannot recall the origin(s) of that data, but I expect it came from more than one. I generally settle on a minimum of three sources before deciding what I believe to be true or not. Then I make my assessments. Like all historians, however, mistakes are almost inevitable, so if I am incorrect I truly apologise. It occasionally occurs. Of course, you do not ‘come across as a know-it-all’. I appreciate and respect your input and your comments. Thanks again.

  13. It seems an open question but I’ve come across the comment that, then, in Hollywood, if it moved ….. Lots of experimentation and it sounds as though they all had an interesting time …….

    • I think if you put hundreds of physically beautiful men and women together, many of them devoid of a great deal of intelligence or character, pay them more money than they ever dreamt of, send them off on organized dates, have them attend booze-laden parties where drugs are often available, and then have studio ‘fixers’ clean up whatever mess they get themselves into, then of course conduct issues will occur. And they did. Add to that a gullible, adoring public ready to swallow whatever BS the studios threw at them, and you have the fully-fledged fantasy world known as Hollywood. And I am not saying all actors are stupid or without character. Far from it. A great number of them are most impressive individuals, but an equal number live the fantasy to the brim and indulge themselves with little care about reputations or consequences. And these are the ones that make the headlines. Of course, the studios COULD have kept the industry clean from the outset by exposing and removing these individuals but, as we know, that never happened. Why? Because many of the worst offenders were making a fortune for the movie companies AND providing sexual favours to boot.

  14. I don’t believe Taylor was ever gay. I meet him as a child. He had a good friend in N.M. and my family knew them well. I know Taylor loved horses and the family I’m talking about gave him a black stallion that he rode in his movie Billy the Kid. My grandmother knew Miss Stanwyck and met her on a train in the 30’s. My grandmother named me after her, and they stayed in touch for many years. I have kept quite the whole time, and I do believe that Stanwyck really loved Taylor, and I think her career was more important to her than anything.

    • Thank you for your response. You may very well be right. My research has uncovered a great many sources that would disagree with you on this, but that does not necessarily make them right. As with most issues in history we can only investigate as carefully as possible, then formulate an opinion based on an assessment of what we have found. History is at best educated guesswork based on piecemeal information. Unfortunately, the studios lied so consistently about most of their stars that we tend to think EVERYTHING they said was untrue. Taylor and Stanwyck may well be victims of this. Thank you again for your interesting comment.

    • I may be in the minority here but I disagree that Taylor was a bad actor. He may not have been Academy Award-material but he was sorely disregarded for his understated ability. He was a quiet actor & IMHO, got better as he got older. Taylor was, quite simply, someone who had to pull from deep within to emote.

      And folks can say what they will but from all the women I interviewed to write my extensive biography on him, he was not gay. I personally interviewed Lia DiLeo, the woman who ultimately broke up his marriage to Stanwyck. Her words to me, very blunt, were, “He was not gay. HE–WAS–A–MAN.” And she wasn’t shy about details. About how they spent their time together, alone, in Italy. It was a sexual relationship all the way. All I can say is that he certainly had what it took to make women happy. That included the likes of Lana Turner, Yvonne DeCarlo, & quite a number of others. I interviewed some of them.

      I make these points not because I care whether or not someone is, or isn’t, gay. What concerns me is that at this point in history, folks forget these people have family that still live, & they’re the ones that must deal with rumors that continue to surround their family member. Let it rest. It doesn’t have a place anymore. He produced children that to this day, carry on a legacy of–and to my mind, this is what’s important about Taylor–a good man. Period.

      “Reluctant Witness: Robert Taylor, Hollywood, & Communism”

  15. I cannot say for certain whether or not Barbara Stanwyck was bi-sexual but I can tell you that she & Bob Taylor consummated their marriage, & then some. I can also tell you that he was not gay … after interviews w/Harry Hay, Ursula Thiess (his 2nd wife), Lia DiLeo (the very public affair which finally broke up his marriage to Barbara Stanwyck) & many others, I’ve no doubt these folks knew the truth more than any whispers from here-&-there. Read: “Reluctant Witness: Robert Taylor, Hollywood, & Communism” to be re-published next year (2016), by Linda Alexander.

    • Thank you for your informed comments, Linda. Actually, I never said Taylor was gay. Like many Hollywood stars of both genders he appeared to be bisexual. Mayer insisted on he and Barbara marrying, simply to ward off the rumours about both of them. Although many Hollywood insiders claimed that Barbara was a ‘closeted lesbian’, I believe she was bisexual as well. There was certainly affection between the two of them, and she was deeply hurt by the Italian affair that ended their marriage.

  16. In addition to my previous comment about Stanwyck, I refer to
    Ms. Lauren Bacall on her private life vs her public life.
    ‘What I do in my private life is my business, what I do in my public
    life is anyone’s business.’ She was FIRM in this when responding to
    C. Rose’s questions about Frank Sinatra. This discussion had to do w/
    the media being in the bedrooms of presidents, and others.

    • Well, there are arguments both ways, I guess. People in the public eye are generally considered to be public property. The price of fame. As for the media being in the bedrooms of presidents, well, my personal opinion is that most presidents (and politicians) tell lies whenever it suits them. They treat us with disdain and that makes them fair game in my book. No doubt you disagree which is, of course, your prerogative.

  17. I read that Taylor was Stanwyck’s one true love, and if I’m correct,
    she visited him when he was close to death?
    Whatever Stanwyck was, she was one hell of an actress, and knew all about proper lighting i.e. technical stuff.

    • I am a HUGE Stanwyck fan. I think I watch ‘Double Indemnity’ about 10 times a year! I do think that she and Taylor became great friends in the end, but I also think her true loves were women, not men, in particular Crawford and her publicist Helen Ferguson.

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