February 22, 1907 - July 21, 1998
"I was an introvert in an extrovert profession."
He was the handsome man that came into our lives as Marcus
Welby M.D. and in Father Knows Best. By most accounts, he
was a terrific guy. He's been in loads of movies and other television shows,
and you can see the entire track record here.
He also sold Sanka coffee on TV for 5 years.
In 1966, he suffered a nervous breakdown. He recovered for
four years on his ranch outside LA. This was something he could never quite
shake and he would often struggle with his representation of someone who was
always calm and together, when in his private life demons were plaguing him
According to his costar on Father Knows Best,
Jane Wyatt, "Though we never socialized off the set, we were together every
day for six years and during that time he never pulled rank (and) always treated
his on- screen family with the same affection and courtesy he showed his loved
ones in his private life."
Robert had been suffering from Alzheimer's and heart
problems for a while and he rambled something to his wife Elizabeth about
having a suicide pact with her. Young tried to off himself by running a hose
from his exhaust pipe to the interior of the car. Thing was, he couldn't start
the car, so he calls a towing company to help him get it started. The guys
shows up and notices the pipe. Hm. This was on January 12, 1991. Robert had a
problem with the drink as well. He was unsuccessful and was admitted to a
psychiatric hospital for observation. At the same time, his wife was near death
in bed from an alcohol overdose. I mean, Jesus. Eventually they both
"recovered." Physically, anyway.
Oddly, in 1987 he played a man who kills his wife to rid her
of the suffering from the effects of Alzheimer's in Mercy or Murder.
Robert lived in a house in
Westlake Village,called The
Enchanted Cottage, named after the 1945 film in which he starred with
It was odd that the address of the house was written on
Here's the obligatory mailbox
shot, and someone needs to get those damn
In 1994, his wife Elizabeth passed away.
Robert was in the
rags again shortly afterwards, because he took weekly jaunts to a local
restaurant in his Westlake Village Community. According to one published source,
Robert reveled in these appearances when people would flock around him. I
supposed he didn't want to die anonymous. Sad, really. I mean, who would?
Because of the Alzheimer's, Robert had 24 hour nursing care.
He got up occasionally, but was mostly bedridden. He really didn't want to
Robert turned 90 in 1997 and apparently a few friends helped celebrate the
occasion. Jane Wyatt, Bill Gray and
his Father Knows Best costar, Elinor Donahue, showed up as well.
As if that wasn't bad enough, the entire world was buzzing
about the marriage of Barbara Streisand and James Brolin. James was Robert's
costar in Marcus Welby, M.D., and he slighted Robert. He didn't send him an
invitation at all. Robert was apparently (according to one rag) devastated. I
choose to believe this. I choose to believe that Streisand had snubbed Robert
and it should be on her conscience for many years. Yeah right. Brolin said that
he was sorry and that he will be upset about it for quite some time. Good. Tell
it to the bitch.
On Tuesday, July 21, 1998, at 9:10 p.m., Robert had respiratory
failure, and died. He was 91 years old.
Robert's funeral was
held at Forest Lawn, Glendale. Roddy McDowall showed up. Fame hag.