Don Taylor: Actor, director (1920-1998) (1920 - 1998) | Biography
peoplepill id: don-taylor-3
3 views today
3 views this week
Don Taylor
Actor, director (1920-1998)

Don Taylor

Don Taylor
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Actor, director (1920-1998)
Was Actor Film director Screenwriter Film producer Stage actor Television actor Television director Film actor
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 13 December 1920, Freeport, USA
Death 29 December 1998, Los Angeles, USA (aged 78 years)
Star sign Sagittarius
Spouse: Hazel CourtPhyllis Avery
The details (from wikipedia)


Donald Richie Taylor (December 13, 1920 – December 29, 1998) was an American actor and film director. He co-starred in 1940s and 1950s classics, including the 1948 film noir The Naked City, Battleground, Father of the Bride, Father's Little Dividend and Stalag 17. He later turned to directing films such as Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Tom Sawyer (1973), and Damien: Omen II (1978).


Early life and work

The son of Mr. and Mrs. D.E. Taylor, in Freeport, Pennsylvania, on December 13, 1920. he was born Donald Ritchie Taylor (Another source says that he was born "in Pittsburgh and raised in Freeport, Pa.") He studied speech and drama at Penn State University and hitchhiked to Hollywood in 1942. He was signed as a contract player at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and appeared in small roles. Drafted into the United States Army Air Forces (AAF) during World War II, he appeared in the Air Forces's Winged Victory Broadway play and movie (1944), credited as "Cpl. Don Taylor."

Acting career

After discharge from the AAF, Taylor was cast in a lead role as the young detective, Jimmy Halloran, working alongside veteran homicide detective Dan Muldoon (Barry Fitzgerald) in Universal's 1948 screen version of The Naked City, which was notable for being filmed entirely on location in New York. Taylor was later part of the ensemble cast in MGM's classic World War II drama Battleground (1949). He then appeared as the husband of Elizabeth Taylor in the comedies Father of the Bride (1950) and its sequel Father's Little Dividend (1951), starring Spencer Tracy. Another memorable role was Vern "Cowboy" Blithe in Flying Leathernecks (1951). In 1952, Taylor played a soldier bringing his Japanese war-bride back to small-town America in Japanese War Bride. In 1953, Taylor had a key role as the escaping prisoner Lt. Dunbar in Billy Wilder's Stalag 17. His last major film role came in I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955).

Directorial career

From the late 1950s through the 1980s, Taylor turned to directing movies and TV shows, such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the short-lived Steve Canyon, starring Dean Fredericks, and Rod Serling's Night Gallery. One of his memorable efforts, in 1973, was the musical film Tom Sawyer, which boasted a Sherman Brothers song score. Other films that Taylor directed are Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), Echoes of a Summer (1976), The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday (also 1976), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977) starring Burt Lancaster, Damien: Omen II (1978) with William Holden, and The Final Countdown (1980) with Kirk Douglas.

Taylor occasionally performed both acting and directing roles simultaneously, as he did for episodes of the TV detective series Burke's Law.

Writing career

Taylor "wrote one-act plays, radio dramas, short stories, and the 1985 TV movie My Wicked, Wicked Ways ... The Legend of Errol Flynn."

Personal life

Don Taylor with Phyllis Avery, 1946

Taylor was married twice.

  • His first wife was Phyllis Avery, whom he married in 1944; they divorced in 1955, but not before the births of their daughters Anne and Avery.
  • His second wife was Hazel Court, whom he married in 1964 and stayed with until his death; they had a son, Jonathan, and a daughter, Courtney.


Taylor died on December 29, 1998, at the University of California Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, of heart failure.


  • Nominee, Best Director – Saturn Awards (The Island of Dr. Moreau) (1977)
  • Nominee, Best Director-Comedy – Emmy Awards (The Farmer's Daughter) (1963)

Selected filmography as director

In addition to his Hollywood credits, Taylor directed 27 television movies and episodes for 53 television series including Cannon, Rod Serling's Night Gallery, Mod Squad, It Takes a Thief, The Big Valley, The Flying Nun, Vacation Playhouse, The Tammy Grimes Show, The Wild Wild West, Burke's Law, The Rogues, The Farmer's Daughter, The Lloyd Bridges Show, The Dick Powell Theatre, Dr. Kildare, Checkmate, 87th Precinct, Zane Grey Theater, The Rifleman, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Honky Tonk, and others.

  • Everything's Ducky (1961)
  • Ride the Wild Surf (1964)
  • Jack of Diamonds (1967)
  • The Five Man Army (1969)
  • Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)
  • Tom Sawyer (1973)
  • Echoes of a Summer (1976)
  • The Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday (1976)
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977)
  • Damien: Omen II (1978)
  • The Final Countdown (1980)

Selected filmography as actor

Year Title Role Notes
1943 The Human Comedy Soldier Uncredited
Salute to the Marines Brooks - Marine at Bridge Uncredited
Swing Shift Maisie Young Pilot Uncredited
Thousands Cheer Soldier at Train Station Uncredited
Girl Crazy Student Uncredited
1944 Winged Victory Danny 'Pinkie' Scariano
1947 Song of the Thin Man Buddy Hollis
1948 The Naked City Detective Jimmy Halloran
For the Love of Mary David Paxton
1949 Battleground Standiferd
1950 Ambush Lt. Linus Delaney
Father of the Bride Buckley Dunstan
1951 Submarine Command Lt. Peter Morris
Father's Little Dividend Buckley Dunstan
The Flying Leathernecks Lt. Vern 'Cowboy' Blithe
The Blue Veil Dr. Robert Palfrey
Submarine Command Lt. Cmdr. Peter Morris
1952 Japanese War Bride Cpt. Jim Sterling
1953 Destination Gobi Jenkins
The Girls of Pleasure Island Lt. Jimmy Gilmartin
Stalag 17 Lt. James Schuyler Dunbar
1954 Johnny Dark Duke Benson
The Men of Sherwood Forest Robin Hood
1955 I'll Cry Tomorrow Wallie
1956 The Bold and the Brave Sgt. Ewald 'Preacher' Wollaston
Ride the High Iron Sgt. Hugo Danielchik
1957 Love Slaves of the Amazons Dr. Peter Masters
1961 Savage Guns Mike Summers
1969 The Five Man Army Poker Player Uncredited, (final film role)
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 10 Feb 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
Search trend
comments so far.
From our partners
Reference sources
Sections Don Taylor

arrow-left arrow-right instagram whatsapp myspace quora soundcloud spotify tumblr vk website youtube pandora tunein iheart itunes