Back to prior page            Go to next page

(From Old Corral image collection)

Bob Livingston

Real name:
Robert Edgar Randall

1904 - 1988

You want nitty-gritty on Bob Livingston, his brother Jack Randall, and all kinds of tidbits about western movie making and Hollywood of the 1930s and 1940s. After many years of research, Merrill T. McCord issued his Brothers of the West in 2003, a lengthy and detailed biography of the Randall Brothers.

Check the "Books-Print Media-Newsletters" section on the Old Corral for info on whether Merrill still has copies for sale.

The Randall brothers both found their way to Hollywood in the 1920s.  Their parents were Edgar O. Randall and Lillian Livingston Langdon, and the father was in the newspaper business and wound up being transferred from Illinois to sunny California.

The younger Addison 'Jack' Randall (1906-1945) had a brief career as the star of westerns at Monogram, and there's a webpage devoted to him on the Old Corral.  Robert was born in Quincy, Illinois on December 9, 1904.

In California, Robert had a job as a newspaper reporter, but purportedly got the acting bug and spent some time learning the ropes at the Pasadena Playhouse.  He started work during the end of the silent era, in minor walk-on roles and bit parts at several Hollywood studios, and ultimately inked a term contract with MGM during the early talkies.

Around the start of 1936, the older Randall was contacted by Nat Levine at Republic Pictures, who was in search of some new talent and faces for westerns and cliffhangers (both Levine and his Mascot serial factory were part of the merger that created the new Republic Pictures a year earlier).

Robert Edgar Randall signed a term player contract with the new Republic Pictures, and changed his name to Bob Livingston, apparently adopting his mother's name of Livingston for his new screen moniker.

On the left is a copy of Livingston's original application for a Social Security number, dated December 4, 1936 and under the name of Robert Edgar Randall.  Click HERE to see a larger version of that document.

It shows his birthdate as December 8, 1904; his employer is listed as Republic Pictures, Inc., North Hollywood, California; and his father and mother's name are shown as Edgar O. Randall and Lillian Livingston Langdon.  Apparently he adopted his mother's name (Livingston) for his screen moniker.  In the upper right corner (smudged and difficult to make out, even on the copy I have) are some special instructions from Randall/Livingston which reads:

"Following information to be held strictly confidential - if you please.  Thanks.  R. L."

He found his niche playing cowboy heroes at Republic (primarily) and PRC (a few).  He also starred in several serials, THE VIGILANTES ARE COMING (Republic, 1936) and THE LONE RANGER RIDES AGAIN (Republic, 1939).  Livingston also had the distinction of starring in Republic's first color film, THE BOLD CABALLERO (Republic, 1936).

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above from L-to-R are Charles Stevens, Livingston, Heather Angel and an unidentified player in a lobby card from THE BOLD CABELLERO (Republic, 1936), a film based on the Zorro character and filmed in Magnacolor. Crop/blowup below with more details on the faces in this lobby card.

(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is a crop from a lobby card from RIDERS FROM NOWHERE (Monogram, 1940) showing Livingston's brother Jack Randall and heroine Margaret Roach, the daughter of Hal Roach. This was among the last of Randall's starring westerns. In 1947, Margaret Roach married Randall's brother Bob Livingston.

By far his most remembered role was the original 'Stony Brooke' character in the Three Mesquiteers' films which were initiated in 1936 at Republic.  He left the 3M series to do some other Republic films, with John Wayne assuming the Brooke role in eight releases for the 1938-39 schedule.  But when STAGECOACH (1939) hit the screen, Wayne gained in popularity and moved on to better films.  And Livingston returned to the Mesquiteers as Wayne's replacement.

There were 51 Three Mesquiteers yarns churned out by Republic from 1936-1943, and Livingston appeared in 29 (the next closest performer was Ray 'Crash' Corrigan with 24 appearances).

(From Old Corral image collection)
From L-to-R are Duncan Renaldo (as Rico Rinaldo), Livingston (as Stony Brooke) and Raymond Hatton (as Rusty Joslin) --- this was the Three Mesquiteers' team for the 1939-1940 release schedule.

When his first contract(s) with Republic expired, Bob Livingston galloped over to anemic Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) as the replacement for George Houston in the Lone Rider films (Houston quit the business, left Hollywood, and died a couple years later of a heart ailment).  There, he'd do six Lone Rider movies which would conclude the brief series.

(From Old Corral image collection)

He exited PRC when Republic called as they needed him to replace the less than dynamic Eddie Dew in several films to close out the short-lived 'John Paul Revere' cowboy series which also featured sidekick Smiley Burnette.  Livingston had once been a 'shining star' at Republic ... but times had changed.  Smiley Burnette would quickly become the saddle pal to a new Republic cowpoke named Sunset Carson, and with Roy Rogers and Wild Bill Elliott also doing series westerns, the former Mesquiteer and Lone Ranger was no longer a priority and 'hot property'.

THE LARAMIE TRAIL (Republic, 1944) was the fifth and last of the abbreviated Revere adventures.  It was also Livingston's last starring B western (although, for some reason, Republic changed the name of the hero from Revere to 'Johnny Rapidan' in this series finale).

(From Old Corral image collection)

VALLEY OF ZOMBIES (Republic, 1946) was filmed in 1945 and was one of Livingston's last starring roles at Republic.  The heroine was Republic contractee Adrian Booth (Lorna Gray), and the ghastly image on the left is Ian Keith.

After some leads in non-westerns, his starring career ended, and at that time he was in his early forties.  He wound up playing supporting roles, often cast as the bad guy, in post World War II films such as the Tim Holt RKO westerns and Gene Autry's series at Columbia Pictures.  One of Livingston's meatier villain roles was as the crooked cattle inspector in Tim Holt's SADDLE LEGION (RKO, 1951). You can also spot him occasionally in one of the early 1950s western TV shows.

He retired from movie and TV work in the early 1950s.  Producer Sam Sherman coaxed him back to the screen for THE NAUGHTY STEWARDESSES (1974), GIRLS FOR RENT (I SPIT ON YOUR CORPSE) (1974), and BLAZING STEWARDESSES (1975).

Overall, Livingston's screen career lasted about 25 years, and his total film credits number around 75, of which about 60 are starring or supporting roles at Republic Studios.  However, to fans of the B western, Bob Livingston will always be remembered as Stony Brooke of the Three Mesquiteers.

On August 15, 1987 at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, Gene Autry presented a Golden Boot Award to Bob Livingston, in recognition of his western film work.  Livingston's son Addison was in attendance to see his Dad receive this recognition.

According to the death certificate, Robert Randall passed away on on March 7, 1988 at his Tarzana, California residence from cardiovascular and pulmonary heart problems.

(From Old Corral image collection)

Back to prior page            Go to next page