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 MarcusWelby M.D. and in Father Knows Best. By most accounts, hewas 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 forfour years on his ranch outside LA. This was something he could never quiteshake and he would often struggle with his representation of someone who wasalways calm and together, when in his private life demons were plaguing himconstantly.
According to his costar on Father Knows Best,Jane Wyatt, “Though we never socialized off the set, we were together everyday for six years and during that time he never pulled rank (and) always treatedhis on- screen family with the same affection and courtesy he showed his lovedones in his private life.”
Robert had been suffering from Alzheimer’s and heartproblems for a while and he rambled something to his wife Elizabeth abouthaving a suicide pact with her. Young tried to off himself by running a hosefrom his exhaust pipe to the interior of the car. Thing was, he couldn’t startthe car, so he calls a towing company to help him get it started. The guysshows up and notices the pipe. Hm. This was on January 12, 1991. Robert had aproblem with the drink as well. He was unsuccessful and was admitted to apsychiatric hospital for observation. At the same time, his wife was near deathin 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 herof the suffering from the effects of Alzheimer’s in Mercy or Murder.
Robert lived in a house inWestlake Village,called TheEnchanted Cottage, named after the 1945 film in which he starred withDorothy McGuire.
It was odd that the address of the house was written onitthree times.
Here’s the obligatory mailboxshot, and someone needs to get those damnpapers.
In 1994, his wife Elizabeth passed away.
Robert was in therags again shortly afterwards, because he took weekly jaunts to a localrestaurant in his Westlake Village Community. According to one published source,Robert reveled in these appearances when people would flock around him. Isupposed 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 tolive anymore.
Robert turned 90 in 1997 and apparently a few friends helped celebrate theoccasion. Jane Wyatt, Bill Gray andhis Father Knows Best costar, Elinor Donahue, showed up as well.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the entire world was buzzingabout the marriage of Barbara Streisand and James Brolin. James was Robert’scostar in Marcus Welby, M.D., and he slighted Robert. He didn’t send him aninvitation at all. Robert was apparently (according to one rag) devastated. Ichoose to believe this. I choose to believe that Streisand had snubbed Robertand it should be on her conscience for many years. Yeah right. Brolin said thathe was sorry and that he will be upset about it for quite some time. Good. Tellit tothe bitch.
On Tuesday, July 21, 1998, at 9:10 p.m., Robert had respiratoryfailure, and died. He was 91 years old.
Robert’s funeral washeld at Forest Lawn, Glendale. Roddy McDowall showed up. Fame hag.