Born on May 28, 1942 in Los Angeles, Ca; his first official screen credit was in the "Fireside Theatre" TV series in the 1950 episode "No Children, No Dogs", and again in episode "Going Home" in 1951.
In 1951 Robert appeared as "Donald" in "I'll See You In My Dreams" with Doris Day and Danny Thomas.
Then came the ever memerable "Bobby" role in "Rocky Jones Space Ranger" series airing from March to December 1954.
In 1955 Robert jumped series and appeared as "Billy Griffiths" in episode "The Human Bomb" of "Captain Midnight".
That same year he worked next to John Wayne as "Willie" in episode "Rookie Of The Year" of the "Screen Director's Playhouse"; and then a year later appeared in "The Searchers". (1956) Both were directed by John Ford. (Walter Coy - who played "Zorovak" and "Torro of the Valley People" in "Rocky Jones" also acted in "The Searchers". Did he see some tallent in Robert, and put in a good word for him to be considered for the part?)
In 1957, Robert played the "thirteen year old Creighton Chaney" in "Man Of A Thousand Faces". This was his last known role. (Please note that the 1957 year is the release date of the project. Robert looks much younger in this movie then he does in his 1956 films.)
Robert also had several uncredited roles, as it was quite common back in those days to not credit someone who did not speak (much more so than today); or who was not yet of "legal" age. Robert is reported to be "Kyle as a boy" (voice over) in "Written On The Wind" (1956); "The Searchers" (1956 as Ben Edwards); and "Emergency Wedding" (1950 - boy in department store).
What happened to Robert M. Lyden after that seems to be a bit of a mystery. Is it possible that puberty and acne negatively affected his career, as it did most child actors? (Hollywood does not seem to know what to do with child actors once their voice changes.) If (sequentially) Robert's last work was that with John Ford, Ford was notorious for tearing up actors - of any age and size - and perhaps Robert had a bad taste in his mouth left over from the experience, and gave up acting for good?
Robert Marinus Lyden died on 1/17/1986 at the age of 44. His sister, Marlene Lyden (also an actor and best know as the Dutch girl visiting "Sinter Claus" in "Miracle on 34th Street" - 1947) acted with Robert in the "Going Home" episode of "Fireside Theatre". There is a definate family resemblance between brother and sister. Marlene Lyden died in 2007.
Robert Marinus Lyden's grave is in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, Ca, Col. of Understanding, FM, Lot O, Space 36724.
Robert M. Lyden certainly showed in the variety of characters he played that he had talent! And if the story is true of each "Rocky Jones" chapter being shot in two days - three a week! - then the ability to memorize lines that quickly, and being able to emote them intellegently and believably at such a young age - is even more amazing!
And that tallent allowed Robert the remarkable ability to work with some of the greats in Hollywood (after all, you don't get to do a film and a telepic directed by the great John Ford without being talented in some way!) - but "roaring rockets"! - for too short a time!