"New Faces - Robert Walker" - October 1943 - Movie Radio Guide

“Radio was the salvation of the Walker family,” said Robert when interviewed recently. “There was a time when none of us would have eaten if it hadn’t been for the small parts I did on air shows. The stage would have none of me.”

Young Mr. Walker was appearing on radio programs in New York when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer began their search for an actor to portray a teenage sailor in their war picture “Bataan”. Every player of the right age in Hollywood had been tested for the role, but none quite fitted the demands. Studio officials, at the end of their rope, were told about Bob. Before he knew what was really happening, he was making a screen test in New York. One look at the rushes satisfied the bigwigs, and Bob was put on the next train for Hollywood.

Impressed by his fine portrayal of the young sailor who wanted to get himself a Jap, M-G-M officials gave him a featured role in “Madame Curie”. When that was finished, he was rushed into the title role of “See Here, Private Hargrove”.

Jumping from lean days to plenty hasn’t affected the size of Bob’s hatband. A typical young American, he’s grateful for his good fortune, but still remembers the time when he had to pinch pennies to supply his two young sons with milk.

Of course Bob is thrilled with his success, but his reactions to Hollywood are naïve. The glamour of the film capital still dazes him a bit, but it hasn’t changed him. First thing he did when eggs got scarce was to buy a couple dozen hens for his Bel-Air home.

In telling about the chickens, Bob said, “I thought I might have a fight with the neighbors, putting chickens in Bel-Air. But, what the heck, the kids had to have eggs.”

He was happy when, instead of censuring him, his neighbors all admired him for his sincerity and became Walker boosters.

Ever since he was a freshman at the Army and Navy Academy in San Diego, where he was sent from Utah because he cut one too many capers in his home town of Salt Lake City, Bob wanted to be an actor.

It was during student days at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York that he met Jennifer Jones, the lady who is now Mrs. Walker. They worked and rehearsed together and were great pals. It wasn’t until Jennifer was leaving school to go back to her home town of Tulsa, Oklahoma, as leading lady in local radio programs that the two realized they were in love. Bob went along as Jennifer’s leading man on the airlanes and off. There were married in Tulsa.

For Mr. and Mrs. Walker, success is a family affair. While Bob piles up honors at M-G-M, Jennifer is gathering her share at 20 th Century-Fox in the movie version of Franz Werfel’s best-seller, “The Song of Bernadette,” in which she plays the title role.


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