Actor Meshach Taylor, who many will remember as the man who played Anthony Bouvier on the 80’s classic television series Designing Women, is terminally ill, according to a post on Facebook. Taylor’s son, Tyriq, shared the surprising news on the social media website regarding his father’s current health crisis and stated the actor is very close to dying.
Describing Taylor as “darling, amazingly brilliant, and dynamic”, Tyriq pleaded with the people closest to his father to “offer [their] prayers for his peace and blazing light as he ascends to the heavens.”
There were other news sources that claimed Taylor had actually passed away, but Tyriq cleared those rumors while thanking fans for their kind words. “For all the people that have given premature condolences: I am happy to feel the love,” he wrote. Taylor has not passed away, “but he has begun to actively transition.”
Taylor, 67, has appeared in other television shows such as M*A*S*H, Cagney and Lacey, Barney Miller, and The Golden Girls. He also appeared in many movies over his career, including the 1987 comedy Mannequin (as well as its 1994 sequel, Mannequin: On the Move), where he played the flamboyant Hollywood Montrose, a department store window dresser; as well as Class Act, with 90’s rap duo, Kid-N-Play; Damien: Omen II, and The Howling. He most recently appeared in a guest spot on another CBS series, Criminal Minds, back in January of 2014.
His most noted acting role was on Designing Women, where Taylor played Anthony Bouvier; an ex-convict who becomes closely tied to four women who co-own and work for Sugarbakers Designs, an interior design firm. Throughout the series, Bouvier becomes close friends with all of the women, especially Julia Sugarbaker, played by the late Dixie Carter.
In 2011, Taylor appeared on The Wendy Williams Show, where he spoke fondly of the series that lasted seven seasons on CBS. He shared that people still recognized him thanks to his most famous role and that he was grateful for how the show helped his career.
“Thank God people liked Anthony,” he said. “People come up to me and they say the nicest things.”
He also shared that the length of time he was on the show (as well as its short-lived spin-off, Women of the House) should have been much shorter. Anthony Bouvier was only meant to appear on one episode. “It was supposed to be a one-time deal. But I never left,” he revealed. “The energy between Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, and I — [the producers] said there’s something happening here that we want to expand on.”
Taylor picked up his Emmy win thanks to his appearance in a television adaptation of Huckleberry Finn. He also performed on Broadway in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, where he played Lumiere. He has been married for over 30 years to actress Bianca Ferguson. He also has three daughters in addition to his son. Our condolences go out to his family, friends, and loved ones at this time.
By Jonathan Brown