Friday, January 09, 2015

Rod Taylor, RIP

He was primarily an in-front-of-the-camera actor, but he had the lead voice role in one of Disney's finest animated features.

Rod Taylor, the Australian-born actor who starred in George Pal's adaptation of H.G. Wells' "The Time Machine" and in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds," then decades later made a memorable swan-song appearance as Winston Churchill in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds," died Wednesday. He was 84. ...

Taylor made his feature starring debut in 1960 sci-fier "The Time Machine" portraying a fictionalized Wells, who invents a time machine in Victorian England and travels to the distant future. The next year he voiced the lead canine, Pongo, in Disney's "101 Dalmatians". ...

Mr. Taylor was no any kind of a "name" when he was cast as Daddy Dalmation. He'd been a supporting actor in movies and television during the fifties, and was a thirty-year-old thespian looking for his big break. He found it with The Time Machine, but it's Dalmations from '61 that is a more iconic film.

Mr. Taylor was never a super-star, but he had a long and prolific career. In a profession where brief bankability ... or no bankability at all ... is the norm, the fact that he worked for sixty years is impressive.


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