Rod Taylor’s Life Ends at 84

Rod Taylor

Rod Taylor, the famous Australian actor from The Time Machine, born on Jan. 11, 1930  in Sydney, Australia, passed away. His death occurred in his home in Los Angeles and it was announced by Felicia Taylor, his daughter. Rod Taylor’s life ends at 84, closing a Hollywood career with more than 50 movies.

Rodney Sturt Taylor grew up in Lidcombe, a suburb in Sydney and was Mona and William Taylor’s only son. His father was a steel-construction contractor and his mother, a children’s book author.

Rod Taylor had three wives and divorced two times. His first wife was an Australian model, Peggy Williams, with their marriage lasting three years. His second wife, Mary Hilem, the mother of his daughter, which he married in 1963, was an American fashion model. He married his third wife, Carol Kikumura, an American actress and dancer in 1980.

The good-looking Australian actor achieved stardom in Hollywood even though many people knew nothing about his origins. His first appearance on-screen was in Inland With Sturt, a 1951 short Australian movie, actually about his great-great-great-uncle, Capt. Charles Sturt, a British explorer. His next was Long John Silver, with the help of which he attracted a talent agency from Hollywood and went there.

Rod Taylor’s life had a big break with his starring role in The Time Machine, a 1960 movie directed by George Pal, where he plays a British inventor that transports himself into a nuclear future of world wars and ends with a formation of a new society. From there his career skyrocketed, following a busy decade playing with Elizabeth Taylor in The V.I.P.s and Jane Fonda in Sunday in New York. In 1961 he was the voice of Pongo in 101 Dalmatians and in 1963 he played in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

Some of the movies he played in the 1970s include Zabriskie Point (1970), The Train Robbers (1973) where he played alongside John Wayne and The Picture Show Man (1977). Most of Rod Taylor’s next decades starting 1980s, he appeared in many television movies like Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1981). In 2007 he appeared in Kaw, a horror movie inspired by The Birds and ended his career with the role of Winston Churchill in Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 Inglorious Basterds.

“The Australian Marlon Brando” played just a few Australian characters in movies such as The V.I.P.s,  The High Commissioner released in 1968 and in 1997 Welcome to Woop Woop. Later in his life, the actor started to produce and co-produce his later television series and movies, investing in safe securities to ensure a comfortable retirement. Even though most of his television series did not last more than a season, he won his fair share of audience playing in Hong Kong, The Oregon Trail, Masquerade, Outlaws and Falcon Crest.

Rod Taylor’s life ends at 84, a life that, as he declares, started as an artist, painting and sculpting. His Hollywood success opened the gates for many Australian and New Zealand actors like Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman, Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis, Russell Crowe and directors such as Peter Weir, Rob Marshall, Bruce Berenson and Peter Jackson.

By Sebastian Andro

Sources:
The New York Times
ABC News
Yahoo News

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