Rod Taylor Mid 60’s Down Fall

 

February 1958: American actor Montgomery Clift (1920 - 1966) is startled by a make up experts' method of keeping Australian actor Rod Taylor's hair in place on location in Indiana for the filming of the American drama Raintree County. (Photo by BIPS/Getty Images)

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Rod Taylor, got his start in Hollywood around the mid 50’s, acting in some in some of the biggest films of the mid 50’s giving him incredible exposure, and a spot light on the Australian actor. He was in Giant 1956; co starring with Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean. He was also in another very big movie, that also starred Liz Taylor called Raintree County 1957, with Montgomery Clift, and Eva Marie Saint. These were big old Hollywood technicolor blockbusters, that did very well at the theaters of the day.Raintree grossing almost $6 million dollars alone. Rod Taylor was young suave, with an Australian accent. He should have shot to super stardom in the late 50’s, The next year 1958, he had a good role in the film Separate Tables 1958 again starring some very heavy weight big of the day. Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, and David Niven, also with Rita Hayworth, great company small black, and white film not the big blockbuster, but a good film lots of press.

 

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Rod Taylor was offered the Role of James Bond in 1961

Rod Taylor’s career after Separate Tables from 1958 till 1963; He bounced around from medicare live TV. The Dupont Show of The Week, Goodyear Theater,GE Theater, and episode of The Twilight Zone, and things like the Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse. In between all that he did get The Time Machine 1960, which was a big hit, and a starring role for Taylor, and should have catapulted his career to major heights. As did The Great Escape 1963, and The Magnificent Seven 1960 did for Steve McQueen. The year 1963 proved to be the busiest year of Rod Taylor’s his career.

The biggest mistake I would say that contributed to Taylor’s down fall. Was is rejecting the role of James Bond. He was offered the Role to play 007 by the Bond Producer Cubby Broccoli, with Taylor famously saying it was beneath him. The James Bond franchise went to a relatively unknown actor with the only well know role he had to his credit at this time, was in the big war movie the Longest Day 1962; was the Scottish actor Sean Connery. This  made Connery a mega international super star, and the rest is history. Rod Taylor in 1960; was only 30 years old. He was the same age as Sean Connery, Steve McQueen, 5 yrs, younger than Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Paul Newman, and Rod Taylor had been in some of the biggest movies of his young career, and came to a complete stand still by the early 60’s; Taylor works one finial time with Elizabeth Taylor in the film The V.I.P’s from 1963

rod taylor the v.i.p's

 

Rod Taylor was considered for the role of Taylor in Planet Of The Apes 1968

The year 1963 should have been Taylor’s, all out break out mega year. Rod Taylor either starred, or c0 starred in The V.I.P’S, The Birds, A Gathering Of Eagles, and Sunday In New York. A combo of action adventure, horror,romantic comedy films. The most memorable role of that year was Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. I can never get tired of watching that movie, all the others were largely forgettable. We can go all day with the bad movies he did in the swinging 60’s; Just to name a few duds from that decade, don’t get me wrong he tried hard to be this big action star. We had Fate Is The Hunter 1964;Chuka 1967;The Dark Sun 1968;The Hell Is For Hero 1968; now do you remember any of these films.

He did get a big Hollywood shot at Authur Hailey’s Hotel 1967; with Karl Malden, great book crappy film. Taylor should have been patient, and got in another Hailey book the movie Airport 1970;  I think his last gasp of a major serious dramatic actor, was in a big John Ford movie called Young Cassidy 1965; frankly he was miscast wrong actor good movie. A better film for Albert Finney, or an unknown newcomer in my opinion.

 

Rod Taylor played Tarzan on Children’s radio in Australia

Some actors have it, like Steve McQueen in the 60’s, or Paul Newman, but  Taylor, and other actors who got a real good head start just bottomed out fast. Like I mentioned in the Tony Curtis article. The 1960’s was hard on every actor, or actress. The times were changing very rapidly. The old Hollywood studio system was dead, and it took a lot of actors, and actresses down with it, and by surprise. The real great ones with real deep talent made it, and managed to flourish.

 

 

I’m a big fan of Rod Taylor still to this day. He had some very good memorable roles. I remember his daughter the news anchor with WNBC channel 4 in New York for years. Taylor is one of those actors I would have like to have met personally. He I’m sure had lots of great old Hollywood stories to tell. He worked with the greatest male, and female leads, and directors of his day. He worked with John Wayne,Montgomery Clift,Elizabeth Taylor,Eva Marie Saint,Rock Hudson,James Dean,Deborah Kerr, Richard Burton, Richard Harris,Doris Day, Burt Lancaster,David Niven, and Some of the best directors such as, Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford,Edward Dmytryk, and George Stevens.

Rod Taylor co starred with Montgomery Clift, James Dean and John Wayne

Rod Taylor his career fizzled for no real reason, that I can really put a finger on, which is odd. I don’t think he had a drug, or alcohol issue. Which is a certain career derailer. Maybe as I can see his mid 60’s string of just really bad movies, and just was not offered anymore meaty roles, and the studio’s had enough. It’s amazing by the mid 70’s Rod Taylor was the same age as Clint Eastwood, and Clint was as big a star as they get, and Rod Taylor got a mega jump start. A lot of actors, and actresses make very bad film choices that almost kill, or totally kill there acting careers. Kirk Douglas a Russian Jew playing an Italian in The Brotherhood 1968; or John Wayne playing an Asian in The Conqueror 1956; One of the worst films ever made by the way. How can we for get the major debacle of Heaven’s Gate 1980 the completely destroyed the career of it’s director Michael Cimino.  Then we have Marlon Brando’s entire decade of the 60’s; acting is tough no doubt even when your at the top of your game.

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Rod Taylor died January 7, 2014 four days before his 85th birthday

Lucky for us we got to see Rod Taylor one last time thanks to Quentin Tarantino pulling him out of retirement, because of his uncanny resemblance to Sir Winston Churchill in the film Inglorious Bastard 2009; I’m a big movie fan, not so much the big blockbuster movies, but all movies. Rod Taylor was one of those all movie guys, and you would say oh yes. I liked him in this, he was great in that.

 

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