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Robert Young was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1907, but he grew up mostly in Los Angeles. After graduation, he performed at the Pasadena Playhouse, had a few bit parts in silent films, and joined a stock company, and in 1931 was signed by MGM to a contract. He was very likeable, but rather bland (studio head Louis B. Mayer said he has no sex appeal!), and he starred in many MGM movies of the 1930s opposite some of their top female stars. When his contract with MGM ended, he worked for several studios, and he made some of his best remembered movies in the 1940s, including The Enchanted Cottage, They Won't Believe Me and Crossfire. In 1949, with his movie career declining, Young took the lead in a new radio show, Father Knows Best. Except for Young, it had an entirely different cast from the later TV series, and in it, the father was controlling and ordered around his saintly wife and annoying kids, and he was far from a good father (by today's standards he would be called verbally abusive)! In 1954, the show moved to TV, but only Robert Young stayed with the show. Beautiful saintly former movie star Jane Wyatt was cast as his wife, and the show struggled at first (changing networks twice) but ultimately became a big hit, and went off the air in 1960 only because Young wanted to do something else after 12 years in the same role, and it has been on the air in reruns ever since. In 1969, Young had a second giant hit TV show, Marcus Welby, M.D., where he played a saintly old doctor with a young brash assistant (played by James Brolin), and it stayed on the air until 1976. Contrary to his ultra-nice image, Young had been an alcoholic for many years, and it was not until the show went off the air that he finally got sober. He appeared in a few TV movies before he passed away in 1998, at the age of 91.
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