Thursday December 31 7:59 AM ET
Actor/director Don Taylor dies
By Eric Olson
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Actor-director-writer Don Taylor, who played Elizabeth
Taylor's bridegroom in ``Father of the Bride'' and went on to helm such features
as ``Escape From the Planet of the Apes'' and ``The
Island of Dr. Moreau,'' died Tuesday at the UCLA Medical Center in L.A. of heart
failure. He was 78.
Taylor starred opposite Barry Fitzgerald as the younger detective in the 1948
film-noir classic ``The Naked City.'' In 1950, he appeared in the comedy classic
``Father of the Bride,'' which starred Miss Taylor (not related) and Spencer
Born in Pittsburgh, Taylor began acting in college stage productions at Penn
State University, where he studied speech and drama.
On the recommendation of Penn State alumni Julius and Phil Epstein -- the
screenwriters of ``Casablanca'' who had seen him in a college production --
Taylor made his way to Hollywood (by hitchhiking) in 1942 after graduation. MGM
signed the clean-cut, all-American Taylor to a seven-year contract.
After several minor roles, Taylor enlisted in the Air Force, where he was
recruited by Irving ``Swifty'' Lazar for a lead role in the Moss Hart-directed
Army-Air Force production of Hart's play ``Winged Victory.''
Following his discharge from the service, Taylor resumed his motion picture
work full time, landing a top role in the
trend-setting crime drama ``The Naked City.''
Taylor's other film acting credits include ``Stalag 17'' (1953), ``Father's
Little Dividend'' (1951), ``Battleground'' (1949), ``Flying Leathernecks''
(1951), ``The Bold and the Brave'' (1956) and ``I'll Cry Tomorrow'' (1955).
After moving behind the camera, Taylor directed 15 motion pictures, including
``Ride the Wild Surf'' (1964), ``Escape from the Planet of
the Apes'' (1971), ``Tom Sawyer'' (1973), ``Echoes of a Summer'' (1976),
``The Island of Dr. Moreau'' (1977), ``Damien: Omen II'' (1978) and ``The Final
Taylor's television directing credits include episodes of ``The Wild, Wild
West,'' ``Night Gallery,'' ``Cannon'' and ``Alfred Hitchcock Presents.''
As a writer, Taylor was nominated for an Emmy for the NBC television show
``The Night They Tore Down Riley's Bar.''
Last year, Taylor wrote and directed the play ``Silver Buckles On His Knee,''
which starred Mariette Hartley when it was produced by the University of Las
Vegas Theater Group.
Taylor is survived by his wife, actress Hazel Court Taylor; two daughters,
Avery Taylor Moore and Anne Taylor Fleming; a son, Jonathan David Taylor;
stepdaughter Sally Walsh; sister Janet Tuttle; and a granddaughter.