“I WANT TO DIE!” THE GRIM NIGHT FATHER DIDN’T KNOW BEST

Published on: June 13, 2013
Photography by: Screen Gems/Getty Images
NationalEnquirer.com

ROBERT YOUNG, who found fame as dad Jim Anderson in the classic 1950s TV show “FATHER KNOWS BEST” stunned the world when he attempted suicide by gassing himself in his garage.

On January 12th 1991, a boozy Young, then 83, told police “I want to die… I’m too old and tired of living”, The ENQUIRER reported.

Young, a known alcoholic, had jammed one end of a garden hose into his car’s tail pipe, taped it tight, ran the other end through the car window and then stuck it into his mouth and then turned on the engine.

But the car kept stalling and in a bizarre move, the woozy star had called his auto club to come fix it!

AS The ENQUIRER first revealed back in 1981, Young, who was once a shining star on the Hollywood back lots making such landmark films as “Crossfire” and “The Enchanted Cottage” , had fought a secret war with mental illness and crippling depression  his entire career.

He suffered from depression so severe Young locked himself in his room, wracked with sobs. Plagued by blinding migraines, the once affable star turned to hitting the bottle in desperation.

After a series of medical tests, docs discovered Young suffered from a chemical imbalance which was causing his depression and he seemed to get better with medication.

But, as time marched on, his dual successes of “Father Knows Best” and “Marcus Welby, MD” seemingly behind him, Young’s advancing age threw him face first down a black hole of despair.

After the auto club mechanic discovered the gas hose in the boozy Young’s car, he immediately realized the star had attempted suicide and called police.

A double tragedy was quickly averted as Young’s wife of 57 years, Betty, was also discovered inside their home.  She was badly dehydrated and suffering from blood alcohol poisoning – three times the legal level of intoxication. 

Both Youngs were rushed to the separate hospitals where they were treated and then released.

The Young’s daughter Kathy told The ENQUIRER in an exclusive interview, that she feared the worst.  “He said if life got too bleak he and Mother would end it together. Was THIS a suicide pact?  I hope not.”

But after Young’s suicide attempt made worldwide headlines more than 25,000 ENQUIRER readers sent him messages of good cheer lifting his spirits, we reported in our May 14, 1991 edition.

A moved Robert Young told The ENQUIRER, “It means very, very much to both me and Betty that the good people into whose homes I came each week for so many years still remember and care.

“I wish I could handwrite a note to each of you to express the gratitude I feel. Instead, perhaps this will let you know deeply it cheered and heartened me! Thank YOU!”

The beloved actor who made “Father Knows Best” a classic worldwide died peacefully at his Westlake Village home in 1998 from respiratory failure at the age of 91.