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Leigh Taylor-Young

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Also Known As: Leigh Taylor Young, Leigh Taylor Died:
Born: January 25, 1944 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Washington, Washington D.C., USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

For years Leigh Taylor-Young seemed less an actress than an answer to a trivia question; an eternal starlet about whom people knew she had been married to Ryan O'Neal, had once been on "Peyton Place" (ABC, 1966-1967), and little more. Then, as Taylor-Young reached age 50, it turned out there had been an actress there all along, as she won new respect, new fans, and an Emmy playing Mayor Rachel Harris on the CBS series "Picket Fences". Still youthful, with slightly pouty lips and come-hither eyes, Taylor-Young was in the original cast of the NBC daytime drama "Sunset Beach" when it premiered in 1997 playing Elaine Stevens, earth mother and coffee shop owner.Born in Washington, DC, Taylor-Young was raised in affluence, but her parents divorced when she was young. When she began her acting career in the mid-1960s, the actress adopted a hyphenated surname in honor of both her father and her stepfather. After studies at the Neighborhood Playhouse in NYC, Taylor-Young made her Broadway debut in the short-lived Gower Champion-directed play "Three Bags Full" (1966). Traveling to California for health reasons, she auditioned and was cast in the primetime ABC serial "Peyton Place" in 1966 as Rachael Welles, a...

For years Leigh Taylor-Young seemed less an actress than an answer to a trivia question; an eternal starlet about whom people knew she had been married to Ryan O'Neal, had once been on "Peyton Place" (ABC, 1966-1967), and little more. Then, as Taylor-Young reached age 50, it turned out there had been an actress there all along, as she won new respect, new fans, and an Emmy playing Mayor Rachel Harris on the CBS series "Picket Fences". Still youthful, with slightly pouty lips and come-hither eyes, Taylor-Young was in the original cast of the NBC daytime drama "Sunset Beach" when it premiered in 1997 playing Elaine Stevens, earth mother and coffee shop owner.

Born in Washington, DC, Taylor-Young was raised in affluence, but her parents divorced when she was young. When she began her acting career in the mid-1960s, the actress adopted a hyphenated surname in honor of both her father and her stepfather. After studies at the Neighborhood Playhouse in NYC, Taylor-Young made her Broadway debut in the short-lived Gower Champion-directed play "Three Bags Full" (1966). Traveling to California for health reasons, she auditioned and was cast in the primetime ABC serial "Peyton Place" in 1966 as Rachael Welles, a young woman claiming to have information about the disappearance of Allison Mackenzie (Mia Farrow), During her run on the series, she became romantically involved with co-star Ryan O'Neal, whom she married in 1967. After the birth of their son, Taylor-Young was tapped to play the free-spirited, free-loving hippie who changes Peter Sellers' outlook on life in her debut "I Love You Alice B. Toklas" (1968). Other plum feature roles followed, including the female lead alongside Jerry Orbach and Robert De Niro in "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight" (1971) and opposite Charlton Heston in "Soylent Green" (1973). The very public break-up of her marriage to O'Neal (who was conducting an affair with his "What's Up Doc?" co-star Barbra Streisand) caused Taylor-Young to leave Hollywood. After a spiritual quest that took her to India and a second marriage to agent and film executive Guy McElwaine (who preferred she not work), Taylor-Young returned to the big screen in "Can't Stop the Music" (1980). She played Kelly Preston's confused mother in "Secret Admirer" and had a small but pivotal role in "Jagged Edge" (both 1985). More recently, she had cameos "I Can't Lose" (1997) and "Bliss" (1997), directed by her brother Lance Young.

Still popular among Hollywood insiders from her days as an ingenue, Taylor-Young turned to TV, playing secretary to Rock Hudson in the short-lived "The Devlin Connection" (NBC, 1982) and returned to primetime soaps as the wife of a department store heir in the summer series "The Hamptons" (ABC, 1983), During the 1987-88 season, Taylor-Young joined the cast of CBS' "Dallas" as the wife of one of J.R. Ewing's nemeses. She joined the cast of CBS' "Picket Fences" in 1993 in the regular role of Rachel Harris, who becomes mayor after her predecessor dies of spontaneous combustion. The role was supposed to be just for a season, but when she was the surprise winner of a Best Supporting Actress Emmy, the character was written back into the series briefly. Taylor-Young then landed the recurring role Naomi, the mother of the partner of "The Sentinel" on the UPN series. Long-time friend Aaron Spelling then offered her the role of earth mother Elaine Stevens on the daytime soap "Sunset Beach" (NBC).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Slackers (2002) Valerie Patton
3.
 Dreamrider (1999) Dr Sharon Kawai
4.
 Addams Family Reunion (1998) Patrice
5.
 Stranger in My Home (1997) Margot
6.
 Bliss (1997) Redhead
7.
 Unfinished Affair, An (1996) Cynthia Connor
8.
9.
 Honeymoon Academy (1990) Doris Kent
10.
 Who Gets the Friends? (1988) Aggie Harden
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1965:
Moved to NYC to pursue acting career
1966:
Broadway debut in "Three Bags Full", directed by Gower Champion
1966:
Joined cast of the ABC primetime serial "Peyton Place" in the role of Rachael Welles
1968:
Made feature film debut in "I Love You Alice B. Toklas", starring Peter Sellars
1971:
Starred opposite Robert De Niro in "The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight"
1972:
Co-starred with Edward G Robinson and Charlton Heston in "Soylent Green"; last film for seven years
1980:
Made TV-movie debut in "Marathon" (CBS)
1980:
Returned to features with small role in "Can't Stop the Music"
1982:
Had regular role of secretary Lauren Dane on the NBC series "The Devlin Connection", starring Rock Hudson
1983:
Appeared on short-lived serial "The Hamptons" (ABC)
1983:
Was featured on stage in "The Beckett Plays" in Edinburgh, London and Los Angeles
1985:
Was one of the stars of the film "Secret Admirer"
1985:
Had small but pivotal role in "Jagged Edge"
1987:
Co-starred in the ABC miniseries "Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story"
1987:
Appeared as the conniving Kimberly Cryder in "Dallas" (CBS)
:
Formed Windermere Productions
:
Appeared in the CBS drama "Picket Fences" as Mayor Rachael Harris; won Emmy Award
1996:
Had recurring role as Garrett Maggart's mother on the UPN series "The Sentinel"
1997:
Played small role in "Bliss", written and directed by her brother Lance Young
:
Was regular member of "Sunset Beach" cast (NBC)
:
Had recurring role on the UPN series "The Sentinel"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Peace Theological Seminary and College of Philosophy: -
The Neigborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre: New York , New York -
Northwestern University: Evanston , Illinois - 1963 - 1964

Notes

She has her own website located at www.lty.com

Taylor-Young has recorded several tapes for meditation and visualization.

"I come from an extremely intellectual and educated family. I fell in love with acting more through the classics than from watching movies or TV. I moved to Hollywood with a passion to be great. When I did 'Peyton Place' they wanted me in bathing suits because I looked a certain way. Then I met Ryan, and it all began to create a persona I was not." --Leigh Taylor-Young to SOAP OPERA DIGEST, April 28, 1997

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Ryan O'Neal. Actor. Married in 1967; divorced c. 1972.
companion:
Robert De Niro. Actor. Romantically involved during the shooting of "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight" in 1971.
companion:
Ravi Shankar. Sitarist.
husband:
Guy McElwaine. Executive, agent. Married in 1978; divorced c. 1985.
husband:
Mark Holmes. Doctor of oriental medicine. Third husband; married c. 1987; Taylor-Young filed for divorce February 1992.
companion:
Dave Mason. Musician. Together for three years in the 1990s.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Carl Taylor. Diplomat. Died in 1970.
step-father:
Donald Young. Executive. Died in 1992 of lung cancer.
mother:
Pauline Young. Died in 1995.
sister:
Dey Young. Singer. Married to David Ladd; younger.
brother:
Lance Young. Writer, director. Directed 1997 film "Bliss" in which Taylor-Young has cameo; younger.
son:
Patrick O'Neal. Actor, filmmaker. Born on September 14, 1967; father Ryan O'Neal; romantically involved with Rebecca DeMornay with whom he has a child.
granddaughter:
Sophia O'Neal. Born in November 1997; mother, Rebecca DeMornay; father, Patrick O'Neal.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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