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Thread: Rod Taylor, Hollywood Leading Man Who Battled ‘The Birds,’ Dies at 84

  1. #1
    Elite Member Seth82's Avatar
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    Default Rod Taylor, Hollywood Leading Man Who Battled ‘The Birds,’ Dies at 84

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/10/mo...ies-at-84.html



    Rod Taylor, the ruggedly handsome Australian-born actor who fended off attacks from above in Alfred Hitchcock’s revered horror film “The Birds” and helped an 8,000th-century people escape a monster race in the film version of the science-fiction classic “The Time Machine,” died on Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 84.

    His death was announced by his daughter, Felicia Taylor, a former correspondent and anchor for CNN and CNBC.

    Mr. Taylor was only the second Australian actor, after Errol Flynn (who was born in Tasmania), to achieve major Hollywood stardom, though many moviegoers did not know his origins. He made more than 50 films but played Australians in only a handful. In his most famous roles, he played a Briton and an American. His “Time Machine” character, an inventor, was known as H. George Wells, for H. G. Wells, the British author of the classic time-travel novel on which the film was based. In “The Birds,” Mr. Taylor was a California lawyer who offers a ride to a reckless blond heiress (Tippi Hedren) and ends up fighting off gangs of the homicidal title characters.

    And it was back to the British accent in his last film. The director Quentin Tarantino persuaded Mr. Taylor to make a comeback of sorts by playing Winston Churchill in his 2009 World War II film, “Inglourious Basterds.”

    Rodney Sturt Taylor was born on Jan. 13, 1930, in Sydney, Australia. The only child of William Taylor, a steel-construction contractor and draftsman, and the former Mona Stewart, a children’s book author, he grew up in Lidcombe, a Sydney suburb.

    At first he planned to become an artist, and as a teenager he studied at the East Sydney Technical and Fine Arts College. But through friends he became interested in acting, and seeing Laurence Olivier in “Richard III” on an Old Vic tour cemented his decision to become an actor.

    Mr. Taylor’s first professional appearance was in a local 1947 production of George Bernard Shaw’s “Misalliance.” His first screen appearance was in an Australian short, “Inland With Sturt” (1951), about the British explorer Capt. Charles Sturt, his great-great-great-uncle. Mr. Taylor also appeared on dozens of radio shows and won a radio acting award that included enough prize money to finance a trip to London, where he hoped to expand his career.

    Before leaving, he won a small part in “Long John Silver” (1954), a pirate movie being filmed in Australia with Hollywood stars. That inspired him to make a stop in Los Angeles, where he was rejected by a major talent agency but decided to stay in town anyway.
    After a tiny uncredited role in the Bette Davis film “The Virgin Queen” (1955), he appeared in “Hell on Frisco Bay” (1955), a crime movie starring Alan Ladd, and as Debbie Reynolds’s fiancé in “The Catered Affair” (1956).

    That same year he was noticed as the debonair boyfriend Elizabeth Taylor’s character throws over for a visiting Texan (Rock Hudson) in “Giant.” Four years, two movies and a number of guest appearances on television series later, he was cast in “The Time Machine.”

    The 1960s were a busy time for Mr. Taylor. He began by starring as an American newspaper correspondent in the short-lived television series “Hong Kong” (1960-61), and securing his place in children’s movie history as the voice of Pongo, the puppies’ father, in the animated movie “101 Dalmatians” (1961). In addition to “The Birds” and “The V.I.P.’s,” his 1963 films included “Sunday in New York,” a romantic comedy in which he starred opposite Jane Fonda. He followed those with a portrayal of the Irish playwright Sean O’Casey in “Young Cassidy” (1965), starring roles in the Doris Day comedies “Do Not Disturb” and “The Glass Bottom Boat” (both 1966) and the lead in “Hotel” (1967), based on the Arthur Hailey novel.

    As an Australian he played a countryman in only a few films, among them “The V.I.P.’s” (1963), as Maggie Smith’s aggressive boss; “The High Commissioner” (1968), as a detective sent to London to retrieve a diplomat; and, when he was in his 60s, “Welcome to Woop Woop” (1997), an Australian farce in which he played a grizzled hick patriarch.


    Mr. Taylor made a dozen films in the 1970s, including Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Zabriskie Point” (1970), in which he played the young hippie heroine’s boss, and “The Picture Show Man” (1977), an Australian production first shown in the United States in 1980. (He played an American.)


    For most of the next three decades, Mr. Taylor made only the occasional film but appeared in numerous television movies; one 1981 role was as the title character’s father, Black Jack Bouvier, in “Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.” From 1988 to 1990 he had a recurring role, as the title vineyard’s long-lost owner, Frank Agretti, on the nighttime soap “Falcon Crest.”


    His penultimate film role was in “Kaw” (2007), a low-budget horror movie about crazed ravens attacking a small town, inspired by “The Birds.” Mr. Taylor’s character appeared in the last half-hour as the much-needed voice of calm reason.

    Mr. Taylor married three times and divorced twice. His first wife was Peggy Williams (1951-54), an Australian model. His second was Mary Hilem (1963-69), an American fashion model with whom he had a daughter. He married Carol Kikumura, an American actress and dancer, in 1980. She also survives him. Information on other survivors was not immediately available.

    In 1964, at the height of his fame, Mr. Taylor talked to The New York Times about his career. “With me, it’s been part luck and part sheer, regimented planning,” he said.

    He recalled being influenced by the director George Stevens’s advice to respect himself as an actor, even in bit parts.

    After that, Mr. Taylor said, “I resolved to work my head off.”
    Quote Originally Posted by Kat Scorp View Post
    My fellow 1982 Scorpion! Never occurred to me that penises go into ears until your twitpics
    @NickoMoralesXXX
    @Sexy_Seth_1982 awe sexy! You're just too cute to be true- I can't take my eyes off of you-

  2. #2
    Elite Member SHELLEE's Avatar
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    Rip. I loved him in the Birds.
    BITTER, Brookie and Jazzy like this.
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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    I loved when he would throw confetti at the audience on the Gong Show!
    BITTER and sprynkles like this.

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    Elite Member Bluebonnet's Avatar
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    RIP. He was hot in "The Birds" and "The Time Machine".

    Great actor, too.
    Before you can judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. After that, who cares? He's a mile away and you've got his shoes. - Billy Connolly

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    Elite Member faithanne's Avatar
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    RIP. He wasn't popular in our house - Mum thought he was a "westie". And tbh I thought he'd died in the 80s.
    Be excellent to each other.


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    A*O
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    He's a good example of the distinctive "Aussie face". Something about the mouth and eyes. He was good in The VIPs too.
    If all the women in this place were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be surprised - Dorothy Parker

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    Elite Member faithanne's Avatar
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    Lol we do have a look, I often see people walking down the street and think we're all from the same gene pool. It's the sun and all the squinting, plus beer.
    Be excellent to each other.


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    He was foxy in a craggy, overtanned sort of way. Merle Oberon boasted of his sexual prowess. RIP Rod.
    "I am a social vegan; I avoid meet!” Anonymous Introvert

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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MohandasKGanja View Post
    I loved when he would throw confetti at the audience on the Gong Show!
    NOT Rip Taylor, you goof.
    A*O likes this.
    Life is short. Break the Rules. Forgive Quickly. Kiss Slowly. Love Truly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BITTER View Post
    He was foxy in a craggy, overtanned sort of way. Merle Oberon boasted of his sexual prowess. RIP Rod.
    Gorgeous Photo of Rod, Bitter!

    Yes A*0, Australian men seem to have a natural, laid back 'ruggedness' in their looks and demeanor, don't they? .. i find it delicious.
    BITTER likes this.

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