Rod Taylor


Actor

About

Also Known As
Rodney Sturt Taylor, Rodney Taylor
Birth Place
Lidcombe, New South Wales, AU
Born
January 11, 1930
Died
January 07, 2015
Cause of Death
Heart Attack

Biography

With a career spanning six decades, Australian actor Rod Taylor had many opportunities to prove his abilities as a performer in film, TV, theater and radio. Born in the suburban town of Lidcombe in New South Wales, Australia, Taylor had early exposure to the creative arts from his mother, a writer of more than a hundred children's stories, and his father, a construction contractor who al...

Family & Companions

Peggy Wiliams
Wife
Model. Divorced.
Mary Hilem
Wife
Model. Married June 3, 1963; divorced 1969; one daughter.

Biography

With a career spanning six decades, Australian actor Rod Taylor had many opportunities to prove his abilities as a performer in film, TV, theater and radio. Born in the suburban town of Lidcombe in New South Wales, Australia, Taylor had early exposure to the creative arts from his mother, a writer of more than a hundred children's stories, and his father, a construction contractor who also worked as a commercial artist. Taylor picked up his father's knack for visual design, working at Mark Foy's department store painting window displays as he studied graphic arts at East Sydney Technical and Fine Arts College. Undeniably, however, Taylor also loved acting. In his spare time he would take drama classes and participate in small-scale theatrical productions like "Julius Caesar" at the Independent Theatre in 1950 and "The Vigil" at John Alden Co. in 1951. Taylor got married around this time to a woman named Peggy Williams, though he would later remark that they were far too young at the time to create a healthy marriage. He wavered between his two crafts until he had a formative experience watching a performance of "Richard III" by none other than Sir Laurence Olivier and his touring Old Vic theatre troupe. Taylor was so inspired by the production that he made up his mind to pursue acting full time. He would continue to act on stage, but Taylor found still more success acting in radio dramas, which soon became his full time occupation. He starred in such popular radio shows as "The Dambusters," "Tarzan," "Blue Hills," Such Men are Dangerous," "No Lullaby for Lise," and many more, before he won the Rola award for his performance on "O'Sullivan's Bay" in 1954. Recently divorced from Williams, Taylor parlayed his win into a trip to Hollywood, where he set to work breaking into the mainstream film industry. He found many outlets early on, appearing on shows like "Studio 57" (DuMont, 1954-58) and in films like "World Without End" (1956) and "The Catered Affair" (1956) before his big break came in 1960, with a starring role in George Pal's adaptation of "The Time Machine" (1960). The film's success skyrocketed Taylor's fame to a new level, and he would appear in several more prominent movies from that period, including "The Birds" (1963). The iconic Hitchcock thriller would come on the heels of Taylor's second marriage to Mary Hilem, with whom he would give birth to a daughter, Felicia, in 1964. While this marriage would also end in divorce, in 1969, Taylor's career remained successful, with roles in landmark films and TV shows like "Zabriskie Point" (1970), and the series "Bearcats!" (CBS, 1971). He would be married again in 1980 to Carol Kikumura, a woman Taylor had dated back in the early '60s before she relocated to Las Vegas. After rekindling their relationship, he and Kikumura's union would last for the rest of his life. Meanwhile, Taylor found ongoing success throughout the '80s on the shows "Masquerade" (ABC, 1983-84) and "Falcon Crest" (CBS, 1981-89). The '90s found Taylor acting in movies like "Open Season" (1995) and on shows like "Walker, Texas Ranger" (CBS, 1993-2001) and "Murder, She Wrote" (CBS, 1984-1995). His last appearance on screen was as the great Winston Churchill in the explosively popular Quentin Tarantino film "Inglorious Basterds" (2009). Taylor died in Los Angeles on January 7, 2015. He was 84 years old.

Life Events

1954

Made his feature film debut in "King of the Coral Sea."

1955

US film debut, "Top Gun"

1960

Earned his big break with a leading role in "The Time Machine."

1967

Debut as film producer, "Chuka" (also actor)

1988

Joined the cast of the massively popular night time soap "Falcon Crest."

1993

Acted on TV show "Walker, Texas Ranger"

2009

Made final screen appearance as Winston Churchill in "Inglorious Bastards"

Videos

Movie Clip

36 Hours (1964) - London, May 31, 1944 Opening, James Garner as American Pike, with Alan Napier as Col. MacLean and Russell Thorson as Gen. Allison, discussing the upcoming Normandy invasion and ways to find out what the Germans know, in 36 Hours, 1964, co-starring Rod Taylor and Eva Marie Saint.
Glass Bottom Boat, The (1966) - Okay, Vladimir! Doris Day as Jennifer has her status established in conversation with Donna (Dee J. Thompson), on her first day as a tour guide at the lab run by big time scientist Templeton (Rod Taylor), whom she met at her part-time job, as a mermaid, Paul Lynde the security guard, early in The Glass Bottom Boat, 1966.
Glass Bottom Boat, The (1966) - Approach This Scientifically At the palatial modern home of scientist Templeton (Rod Taylor), Jennifer (Doris Day), whose been hired to write his biography, has just met bumbling sound-technician (Dom DeLuise, in his second movie role), and they have a big slapstick accident, directed by Frank Tashlin, in The Glass Bottom Boat, 1966.
Glass Bottom Boat, The (1966) - Title Song, Que Sera Sera Rod Taylor as scientist Bruce is now socializing with his assistant-biographer Jennifer (Doris Day), who joins in a duet of the title song (by Joe Lubin) and her own standard, with her dad, played by Arthur Godfrey, long-time radio and TV personality, known for his ukulele bits, in The Glass Bottom Boat, 1966.
Young Cassidy (1965) - I Can Go As High As Tuppence In Dublin, ca. 1910, Rod Taylor (title character, an aspiring writer) and mother (Flora Robson) receive sister Ella (Sian Phillips), mother of five, whose husband “Drummer” is now institutionalized, then he meets book store clerk Nora (Maggie Smith), in Young Cassidy, 1965, based on the life of playwright Sean O’Casey.
Liquidator, The (1966) - Multicolored Tits Self-interested intelligence man Mostyn (Trevor Howard) has hunted down Boysie Oakes (Rod Taylor), whom he wrongly believes to be a skilled assassin, at the funeral for his partner in a failed pet bird business (Jo Rowbottom as his assistant), to offer a lucrative gig, in The Liquidator, 1966, from the first novel in the series by John Gardner.
36 Hours (1964) - Don't You Know Me? At a German espionage site made to look like an American military hospital six years later, German psychologist Gerber (Rod Taylor) and nurse Anna (Eva Marie Saint) observe as American Pike (James Garner), kidnapped on the eve of D-Day, is awakened, in 36 Hours, 1964.
36 Hours (1964) - Body Departed Lisbon Rapid plot development, as we’ve just seen James Garner as American Major Pike, in Lisbon on a mission, carrying details of the D-Day invasion, drugged by unknown villains, then transported in a coffin, evidently to Germany, where Rod Taylor speaks English, in 36 Hours, 1964.
Train Robbers, The (1973) - He Ain't Changed Comfortably non-Australian Rod Taylor just had himself doused at a water tower, with cohorts Christopher George and Jerry Gatlin, having joined Ben Johnson and Bobby Vinton, all now waiting on John Wayne and Ann-Margret, opening writer-director Burt Kennedy’s The Train Robbers, 1973.
Train Robbers, The (1973) - The Trouble With Young Guns Camped for the night while riding to recover gold her husband stole, widow Mrs. Lowe (Ann-Margret) enjoys the attention of her hired crew, Rod Taylor as Grady, John Wayne the boss Lane, and Ben Johnson the philosophical Jesse, in writer-director Burt Kennedy’s The Train Robbers, 1973.

Family

William Sturt Taylor
Father
Mona Taylor
Mother
Felicia Taylor
Daughter
News anchor. Co-anchor, "This Morning's Business" on KCOP, in Los Angeles.

Companions

Peggy Wiliams
Wife
Model. Divorced.
Mary Hilem
Wife
Model. Married June 3, 1963; divorced 1969; one daughter.

Bibliography