"Movie Glamour" Volume 1, No. 1 - 1945

"One of the Hollywood studio scouts still has a memo in his files (or
did have at a recent date) reading: ROBERT WALKER ... New York radio
actor. Pace all wrong. Body too skinny. Nice personality. Not for

"This is just another example of how far off the beam Hollywood can
be at times. Robert Walker, after his initial performance as Sailor
Purckett in 'Bataan', became one of the prize finds of recent
seasons, and in rapid succession went into leading roles in 'Madame
Curie', 'Since You Went Away', 'See Here, Private Hargrove'
and 'Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo'."

"It is the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio that can claim credit for
catapulting this young player from relative obscurity to the top
bracket of Hollywood names. The big break came because of the
difficulty the studio was experiencing in casting the right player
for the part of a gangling, likable, naive young sailor
in 'Bataan'. None of the candidates seemed to have exactly the
quality the director wanted. After the Hollywood card-index files
had been combed, additional suggestions were requested from New York,
and one of these was Robert Walker. Finding the precise quality of
personality they had been seeking, Metro officials were more than
willing to overlook Walker's skinniness and slightly irregular
features. Jimmy Stewart had come in with the same "liabilities", and
they hadn't impeded his career. They certainly didn't in the case of
Bob Walker, either."

"Walker was born and brought up in Salt Lake City, where his father
was an editor on the newspaper, the Desert News. The family had been
prominent in Utah for several generations; Bob's great-grandfather
was mayor of St. George, and aided in cutting lumber for Salt Lake
City's first tabernacle. Young Walker's education was received in
part at the Army and Navy Academy at San Diego, where he first became
interested in acting and won a scholarship to the Pasadena Community
Playhouse, which also included training at the American Academy of
Dramatic Arts in New York."

"Between sessions at the American Academy, Walker worked for a year
on a banana freighter, plying its way to Central and South American
ports. (Ever since, he has had an intense aversion to bananas with
his breakfast cereal.)"

"Having met in dramatic school a young lady by the now familiar name
of Jennifer Jones, and having decided that limited financing was
going to be no bar to marriage, Walker settled down to a progressive
chase of radio jobs in New York. He also, with his wife, joined a co-
operative group -- a bunch of hopeful young actors who averaged 50
cents a performance in a Greenwich Village theatre. Harsh
practicalities prevented the continuance of this experience for very
long. However, a few radio assignments came along -- enough to pay
for a trip to Hollywood, where both Mr. and Mrs. Walker were turned
down cold. They politely eased out. Several scouts (happily not
those at MGM) still have red faces at reminders of their lack of

"Managing to get back to New York as the result of their
foresightedness in buying round-trip tickets in advance, Walker and
his young wife picked up the job-hunting trail. Jennifer Jones had
the earlier stroke of luck, winning a chance to play the leading role
with a road company of 'Claudia'. (At that time the couple was
occupying a $16-a-month Greenwich Village apartment.)"

"Several chances in Broadway plays seemed to open up for Walker, but
on each occasion somebody -- like the Hollywood scout -- found him
too thin or too inexperienced. The vacation away from radio hadn't
helped any, either; the army of potential applicants for radio work
is so large that one can't afford to relinquish even a slight
foothold for a few months."

"Eventually enough income was drawn from radio for the Walkers to
maintain a faint degree of economic stability, even though Broadway
producers would have nothing to do with Bob in any of their new

"The break finally came with the 'Bataan' assignment. Walker
couldn't believe he was being considered seriously for the part till
he got off the train in Hollywood, and he was still rubbing his eyes
a few days later when he reported for work on the set with such
veterans as Robert Taylor, George Murphy, and Thomas Mitchell."

"He hasn't had two consecutive weeks away from studio work since
then. He proved himself the possessor of a vast fan following after
his first movie was released, and the title role in 'See Here,
Private Hargrove' did a great deal to expand and internationalize
this. He is still one of the most modest chaps in Hollywood, not
thrown even an inch off balance by the whirlwind success that has
come to him. Once in a while an acquaintance, coming across Bob at
some unexpected moment and finding him looking back in a brooding,
abstracted way, gets a fleeting idea that he's being politely
snubbed. Nothing could ever be farther from the truth, and Walker's
boyish grin always dissipates the illusion. Bob is an intensely
serious young man, however, and he generally thinks, eats, and sleeps
with the lines from his next part."

"Since his advent in Hollywood, Walker has been trying to put on
weight. He admits he once gained as much as two pounds -- but lost
it during rehearsals for the next picture. He's perfectly satisfied
to remain at his present level, and apparantly his fan publis is
too. He is now separated from Jennifer Jones and lives alone in a
small apartment in Beverly Hills."

"Outside of his studio work, which he accepts as genuine fun, Walker
occassionally likes to play the drums at small parties. He rarely is
seen in a night club, and he doesn't like to dance. He never misses
a touring Broadway play and hopes sometime to get the chance to do
something on the stage that no one wanted to give him three years
ago. He has also confided to his friends that he would like nothing
better than becoming a director when he has outworn his welcome as an
actor. That looks like a mightly long time from now."

"For those who still cherish superstitions, and occasionally worry
about it, it might be encouraging to note that Robert Walker was born
on a Friday the 13th."

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