Robert George Young was an American television, film, and radio actor, best known for his leading roles as Jim Anderson, the father of Father Knows Best and as physician Marcus Welby in Marcus Welby, M.D.. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Young was the son of an Irish immigrant father and an American mother. When Young was a child, the family moved to Seattle and then to Los Angeles where he
attended Abraham Lincoln High School. After graduation, he studied and performed at the Pasadena Playhouse while working odd jobs and appearing in bit parts in silent films. While touring with a stock company production of The Ship, Young was discovered by an MGM talent scout and signed to a contract. He made his sound film debut for MGM in the 1931 Charlie Chan film Black Camel.
Young appeared in over 100 films between 1931 and 1952. After appearing on stage, Young was signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ?the studio that had more stars than in the heavens?and in spite of having a "tier B" status, he co-starred with some of the studio's most illustrious actresses such as Margaret Sullavan, Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Helen Hayes, Luise Rainer, and Helen Twelvetrees, among many, many others. Yet most of his assignments comprised B-movies, also known as programmers, which required a mere two to three weeks of shooting. Actors who were relegated to such a hectic schedule appeared, as Young did, in some six to eight movies per year.