• 28 March 1906
  •  Mount Vernon, New York, USA

Robert Allen


As a young man Robert Allen, born Irvine E. Theodore Baehr, learned about horses: he played polo, hunted fox, and rode in the cavalry of of New York Military School, graduating there in 1924. After graduating Dartmouth College in 1929 with a degree in English he worked for a bank which failed in the Depression. Then he flew as a commercial pilot, but that company also folded. His next stop was Hollywood where he quickly landed acting jobs. While he often was cast in the studio's more adult-targeted productions such as The Awful Truth (1937), studio boss Harry Cohn was seeking a suitable replacement for the troublesome (yet wildly popular) Ken Maynard in their more modestly budgeted western unit. Allen's place in film history came in the a half dozen "Bob Allen, Ranger" movies produced in 1936 and 1937. Allen became good friends with his frequent co-star (and sometime movie bad guy), Hal Taliaferro and enjoyed a good working relationship with co-star Tim McCoy. He couldn't sing or play guitar, so when Columbia decided to challenge Gene Autry they went with a new cowboy star, Roy Rogers, and Allen's western career was over. He appeared more than 40 movies and made numerous TV appearances, but he turned primarily to Broadway and Off Broadway for the rest of his acting life. He filled major parts in "Show Boat" and "Kiss Them for Me" and played the nasty Mr. Babcock in "Auntie Mame," playing the part with both Rosalind Russell and Greer Garson. In 1964 he became a real estate broker. He died at age 92 in 1998, survived by daughter Katherine Meyer and son Dr. Theodore Baehr.