Kent Taylor (born Louis William Weiss; May 11, 1907 – April 11, 1987) was an American actor of film and television. Taylor appeared in more than 110 films, the bulk of them B-movies in the 1930s and 1940s, although he also had roles in more prestigious studio releases, including Merrily We Go to Hell (1932), I'm No Angel (1933), Cradle Song (1933), Death Takes a Holiday (1934), Payment on Demand (1951), and Track the Man Down (1955). He had the lead role in Half Past Midnight in 1948, among a few others.
Louis William Weiss
May 11, 1907
Nashua, Iowa, U.S.
|Died||April 11, 1987 (aged 79)|
|Burial place||Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles|
Augusta Kulek Taylor
Kent Taylor was born Louis William Weiss on May 11, 1907 to a Jewish family in Nashua, Iowa, Taylor moved with his family to Waterloo, Iowa, when he was 7. He worked at a variety of jobs after high school, and for two years he studied engineering at the Darrah Institute of Technology in Chicago. He and his family moved to California in 1931.
With no prior professional acting experience, Kent began working as a film extra in 1931 on the advice of a friend who said he had the right looks for "a good screen type." Prior to background work, he was co-operator of an awning service shop with his father. After a few very minor extra roles in films such as Kick In (1931), he was called in "to try out a new camera idea;" a silent sequence was shot using Taylor and Claire Dodd, who was by then an established player at Paramount. The test led to Taylor being offered a contract with Paramount, which he signed on July 11, 1931.
In 1951–1952, with his movie career on the decline and television production on the upswing, he played the title role in 58 episodes of the detective series Boston Blackie and the lead, as Captain Jim Flagg, in ABC's The Rough Riders, an adventure series about three soldiers, two Union and one Confederate, traveling together through the American West after the Civil War. The Rough Riders aired thirty-nine episodes from 1958 to 1959.
Other minor screen credits include My Little Margie, Tales of Wells Fargo, Zorro, Riverboat, The Rifleman, Tombstone Territory, Sugarfoot, Bat Masterson, Laramie, Mr. Lucky, Tightrope, Peter Gunn, Hawaiian Eye, The Brothers Brannagan, The Ann Sothern Show, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and Rango.
He starred in the 1962 film The Broken Land with Jack Nicholson and Diana Darrin. The last years of his career were spent in low budget biker and horror films such as Brides of Blood (1968), Satan's Sadists (1969), The Mighty Gorga (1969), Brain of Blood (1971), Blood of Ghastly Horror (1972), Angels' Wild Women (1972), and Girls for Rent (1974).
Taylor died on April 9, 1987 at age 79, at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, of complications during heart surgery.
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