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Also Known As: Donald R Taylor, Donald Dexter Taylor, Cpl. Don Taylor Died: December 29, 1998
Born: December 13, 1920 Cause of Death: heart failure
Birth Place: Freeport, Pennsylvania, USA Profession: actor, director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Don Taylor may forever be the answer to the trivia question: "Who played the role of the groom in the original 'Father of the Bride' (1950)?", but his more durable career came as a director of features and TV movies from the early 1960s well into the 80s.The Pennsylvania-born Taylor broke into movies with a bit part in "Girl Crazy" (1943) then, as part of his military service during World War II, appeared in a stage production of "Winged Victory" and soon found himself co-starring in the 1944 feature based on the show. The career of the handsome, though somewhat bland, Taylor picked up steam in mostly supporting roles. He was among the troops in William Wellman's unglamorous look at men at war in "Battleground" (1949) before being chosen as the fiance of Elizabeth Taylor (no relation) in "Father of the Bride" and her husband in its sequel, "Father's Little Dividend" (1951). Often cast as military men, Taylor won critical kudos for his turns as Robert Ryan's brother-in-law in "The Flying Leathernecks" (1951) and had a rare lead as a soldier married to a "Japanese War Bride" (1952). He played Lt. Dunbar, the American POW William Holden ultimately rescues, in "Stalag 17" (1953), and remained working as...

Don Taylor may forever be the answer to the trivia question: "Who played the role of the groom in the original 'Father of the Bride' (1950)?", but his more durable career came as a director of features and TV movies from the early 1960s well into the 80s.

The Pennsylvania-born Taylor broke into movies with a bit part in "Girl Crazy" (1943) then, as part of his military service during World War II, appeared in a stage production of "Winged Victory" and soon found himself co-starring in the 1944 feature based on the show. The career of the handsome, though somewhat bland, Taylor picked up steam in mostly supporting roles. He was among the troops in William Wellman's unglamorous look at men at war in "Battleground" (1949) before being chosen as the fiance of Elizabeth Taylor (no relation) in "Father of the Bride" and her husband in its sequel, "Father's Little Dividend" (1951). Often cast as military men, Taylor won critical kudos for his turns as Robert Ryan's brother-in-law in "The Flying Leathernecks" (1951) and had a rare lead as a soldier married to a "Japanese War Bride" (1952). He played Lt. Dunbar, the American POW William Holden ultimately rescues, in "Stalag 17" (1953), and remained working as an actor in features into the late 50s.

Moving behind the camera, Taylor began his directing career with the silly "Everything's Ducky" (1961), which teamed Buddy Hackett and Mickey Rooney with a talking duck. He directed George Hamilton as a suave burglar in "Jack of Diamonds" (1967), and the sequel "Escape From the Planet of the Apes" (1971). The quality of Taylor's vehicles improved somewhat in the late 70s with "The Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday" (1976), a broad Western comedy that allowed Oliver Reed to shine. Fantasy-horror films offered Taylor some of his best opportunities. He helmed the well-executed remake "The Island of Dr. Moreau" (1977), featuring Burt Lancaster as the title character. "Damien: Omen II" (1978), while not as effective as the original, nevertheless had its moments and reteamed the director with former co-star William Holden. "The Final Countdown" (1980), his last feature, was a modest variation on a somewhat familiar tale: a nuclear-powered battleship that is transported back in time to just before the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is perhaps more recalled as the first producing effort of its star Kirk Douglas.

Taylor had already established a foothold as a TV director, helming episodes of such popular series as "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", "The Rifleman" and "The Wild, Wild West". His longform debut was "Something for a Lonely Man" (NBC, 1968), starring Dan Blocker as an outcast blacksmith. Taylor worked with Dick Van Dyke on "Drop-Out Father" (CBS, 1982), which cast Van Dyke as an ad agency executive who leaves his white collar world. The pair reteamed for "Ghost of a Chance" (CBS, 1987), in which Van Dyke was partnered with Redd Foxx. Taylor took on Hollywood with the biopic "My Wicked, Wicked Ways...The Legend of Errol Flynn" (CBS, 1985) and his last assignment, to date, was the caper yarn "The Diamond Trap" (CBS, 1988).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Diamond Trap, The (1988) Director
2.
  Ghost of a Chance (1987) Director
3.
  Classified Love (1986) Director
4.
  Secret Weapons (1985) Director
7.
  He's Not Your Son (1984) Director
8.
  Listen to Your Heart (1983) Director
9.
  September Gun (1983) Director
10.
  Drop-out Father (1982) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Manhunt, The (1984)
2.
 The Savage Guns (1962) Mike Summers
3.
 Love Slaves of the Amazons (1957) Dr. Pete L. Masters
4.
 Ride the High Iron (1957) Hugo Danielchik, also known as Hugh Brian-Daniels
5.
 The Men of Sherwood Forest (1956) Robin Hood
6.
 The Bold and the Brave (1956) Sgt. Ewald "Preacher" Wollaston
7.
 I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955) Wallie
8.
 Johnny Dark (1954) Duke Benson
9.
 Destination Gobi (1953) Jenkins
10.
 The Girls of Pleasure Island (1953) Lt. Jimmy Gilmartin
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1943:
Film debut with bit part in "Girl Crazy"
1944:
Had first substantial role in "Winged Victory"
1950:
Co-starred as the groom in "Father of the Bride"
1961:
Feature directorial debut, "Everything's Ducky"
1968:
Began directing TV-movies with "Something for a Lonely Man" (NBC)
1973:
Directed and appeared in "Tom Sawyer"
1977:
Directed remake of "The Island of Dr. Moreau"
1980:
Last feature to date, "The Final Countdown"
1985:
Helmed the TV biopic "My Wicked, Wicked Ways...The Legend of Errol Flynn" (CBS)
1987:
Last directing credit to date, the CBS TV-movie "Diamond Trap"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Not to be confused with the British production designer of the same name.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Phyllis Avery. Actor. Divorced in 1955.
wife:
Hazel Court. Actor. Married from 1964 until his death.

Family close complete family listing

sister:
Janet Tuttle. Survived him.
daughter:
Avery Taylor Moore. Mother, Phyllis Avery; survived him.
daughter:
Anne Taylor Fleming. Mother, Phyllis Avery; survived him.
son:
Jonathan David Taylor. Mother, Hazel Court; survived him.
step-daughter:
Sally Walsh. Survived him.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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