Robert Sterling was born William Sterling Hart. He is the son of a professional ballplayer. Robert Sterling's father was William (Bill)Hart. Bill was a professional baseball player who debut on July 26, 1886. His last game was before Robert's birth July 30, 1901. Bill Hart played for the Chicago Cubs and his position was catcher. Bill died when Robert was 19 years old and never got to see Robert's success and fame in the movies or television.
He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh. He had a brief career as a clothing salesman before deciding to become an actor.
It was decided to change his name to Robert Sterling as not to confuse him with the silent screen legend William S. Hart. He signed a contract with Columbia in 1939. He did some minor short features but his career was anything but notable.
In 1941 MGM needed a replacement for Robert Taylor who was about to join the Navy. They signed Robert Sterling to a contract. He meet and feel in love with Ann Sothern. They were married in 1941. Together they had a daughter, Tisha Sterling, who later came into her own as an actress.
Robert Sterling like many men of his time wanted to service his country in WWII. Following the war, Robert's film career had lost major momentum. He could only land roles in minor action drama films: Bunco Squad (1950), Column South (1953).
Personally he was experiencing marital problems and his marriage ended in a divorced in 1949. He landed a role "Kiss Me Kate". This Broadway show had an an extended run of 887 performances. There he meet the love the woman that would change is life, actress Anne Jeffreys.
His relationship changed both his personal life and his professional life. Anne Jeffreys and Robert Sterling were wed in 1951. They produced three sons. Once their Broadway show ended they started a successful night club act. This act lead to them being cast into their roles as George and Marion Kerby in the c television series Topper (1953). They quickly became household names.
Robert and Anne continued to perform together on stage. They attempted another sitcom that quickly failed called Love That Jill in 1958. Robert was cast sols in another failed series Ichabod and Me in 1961.
Robert has had some successful roles in movies: Return to Peyton Place in 1961, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea in 1961, A Global Affair in 1964.
Robert retired from acting in the 1970's. He worked as vice president and spokesman for a company that implemented the software for one of the first supermarket barcoding and computer inventory systems. He later launched his own business, Sterling & Sons, a Santa Monica-based company that manufactured custom golf clubs.
It may appear that Robert has kept totally out of the business. He keeps such a low profile that it has been rumored that Anne Jeffereys is a widow. That was far from the truth. Up into the 1980's he has guested together with his lovely wife in episodes of Hotel and Murder, She Wrote. His last guest appearance was in March of 1986 on Murder, She Wrote.
Robert Sterling died May 30, 2006 of natural causes following a decade-long battle with shingles. In his Brentwood by his bedside at the time of his death were his son, and wife of 55 years. The man that was once deemed the "the ghost with the most" died at the age of 88. It can be said that he lived a long happy life with Anne Jeffreys.