He was the first American actor to appear in film made in England - A Yank at Oxford (1938).
His flying interest emerged after the movie Flight Command (1940), when he bought a single-engine plane and took lessons for a pilot's license. After World War II, when he served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1945 as a flight instructor and narrator of 17 trainings films, MGM bought him a twin-engine Beechcraft which he flew regularly until the early 1960s.
His lifelong hobbies included hunting, fishing, flying and writing letters. The last one became a life-long activity appreciated by many.
His mother had been an invalid since she was a teenager and was only able to get out of bed for 1 hour a week. Doctors predicted she would die before 30. Despondent over his wife's condition, Robert's father decided to take matters into his own hands. He enrolled in medical school and, soon after graduating, he cured his wife.
In 1954, he was named most popular star abroad by the Hollywood Foreign Press Correspondents Association representing 500 million moviegoers worldwide.
In a feature in the May 21, 1961 Family Weekly magazine, Taylor stated he became a hunter during his more mature years after he met actor Gary Cooper at Sun Valley, Idaho in 1939. Occasional hunting companions of note were novelist Ernest Hemingway and actors Wallace Beery, Clark Gable, Robert Stack and John Wayne.
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1970.
Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, USA, in the Garden of Honor, Columbarium of the Evening Star. (Not accessible to the general public).
MGM's publicity department released these measurements for Robert Taylor in 1938: Chest 43" / Waist 30" / Hips 37" / Thighs 23" / Calf 15" / Biceps 14.75" / Forearm 12" / Wrists 7" / Neck 16"
Right-handed Taylor spent weeks perfecting his ability to draw a gun with his left hand in preparation for his role in Billy the Kid (1941).
Robert Taylor was terribly keen on classical music, learning appreciated by among others Joan Crawford and Greta Garbo. He had a huge collection of first-class works. He was a music major from 1929 to 1931 playing the cello in Doane String Quartet, the trio "The Harmony Boys" and in Doane Symphony Orchestra in Nebraska. In California he used to have a gramophone with him that he would play every time he could on set filming and he never missed the concerts given each year at the Hollywood Bowl.
Supported Thomas E. Dewey in the 1944 and 1948 presidential elections, and Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1952 and 1956 elections.
The favorite of all his films was Waterloo Bridge (1940).
The son of a country doctor.
The twelve-mile section of U.S. Highway 136 between Beatrice and Filley was officially designated as the Robert Taylor Memorial Highway in 1994 (Source: Gage County Historical Society, Beatrice, Nebraska).