Australian actor Rod Taylor passed away Jan. 7 at age 84. Today, we're remembering the life and legacy of this fine actor and true gentleman.
Rod Taylor was a welcome presence in television and movies for more than six decades. His rugged good looks and down-to-earth charm made him a sought after leading man in the 1960s. Taylor starred in several box-office sensations in the sixties, including Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963), the science fiction classic, The Time Machine (1960), and the Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton vehicle, The V.I.P.s (1963). Taylor's film career faded a bit in the 1970s, so he moved onto television roles, starring in the 1980s soap opera Falcon Crest and making several appearances on popular shows like Murder, She Wrote. Taylor maintained a sterling reputation in Hollywood throughout his long career. "He was one of the most fun people I have ever met, thoughtful and classy," co-star Tippi Hedren told CNN. "There was everything good in that man."
|Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux in a publicity still for The Time Machine (1960).|
|Rod Taylor's film debut in Inland with Sturt (1951).|
|Rod Taylor (center) in Giant (1957).|
Taylor's breakthrough came in 1960 when he starred in George Pal's groundbreaking science fiction classic, The Time Machine, based on the novel by H.G. Wells. Taylor plays Victorian inventor George Wells who creates a time machine that takes him to the year 802,701 where he finds the earth inhabited by the peaceful Elois, who are hunted by the cannablistic Morlocks. The film is silly but thoroughly enjoyable fun, and Taylor makes Wells a dashing leading man who is equal parts geeky scientist and athletic swashbuckler. The Time Machine was especially influential on sixties television, paving the way for series like Star Trek, Lost in Space and especially Doctor Who (Taylor's Victorian wardrobe and the time travel scenario were prototypes for the seminal BBC series).
|Rod Taylor tries to keep the winged predators out in this publicity still for The Birds (1963).|
|Doris Day and Rod Taylor share a laugh in The Glass-Bottomed Boat|
|Rod Taylor played Winston Churchill in Inglorious Basterds (2009).|