Whether it was action or comedy or drama or science fiction, Rod Taylor excelled in playing the gentleman/tough guy. Never Hollywood’s biggest star, he appeared in some of the most memorable films of the 1950s and 1960s.
Born in Lidcombe, Australia, Taylor initially studied to be a commercial artist before becoming an actor. He quickly built an extensive resume in radio, television, and live theatre. This experience led him to Hollywood were he became a reliable supporting player in both film and television. Movies from this period include The Catered Affair (1956), Giant (1956), Raintree County (1957), and Separate Tables (1958).
In the 1960s, Rod Taylor reached box office stardom beginning with the science fiction classic The Time Machine (1960), he then provided the voice of Pongo in Disney’s One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), followed by Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963). Other films of this period include The VIPs (1963), Do Not Disturb (1965), The Glass Bottom Boat (1966, the last two with Doris Day), and Hotel (1967).
As the decade ended, Taylor turned to westerns and similar “tough guy” roles, such as: Dark of the Sun (1968), The Hell with Heroes (1968), and The Train Robbers (1973). Afterward, he starred in a series of short-lived television series, ending with a role on the popular Falcon Crest.
Years later, director Quentin Tarentino lured Rod Taylor out of retirement for the small, but vital role as Winston Churchill in 2009’s Inglourius Basterds. It would be his last role, as Taylor died on January 7, 2015.
Regardless of the medium or the genre, Rod Taylor always filled the screen with with energy and charm.
What is your favorite Rod Taylor movie?