Meshach Taylor Biography

Meshach Taylor was an American actor best known for his Emmy-nominated role in the CBS sitcom 'Designing Women'. Check out this biography to know about his birthday, childhood, family life, achievements and fun facts about him.

Quick Facts

Birthday: April 11, 1947

Nationality: American

Famous: Actors Black Actors

Died At Age: 67

Sun Sign: Aries

Born Country: United States

Born in: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Famous as: Actor

Height: 6'1" (185 cm), 6'1" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Bianca Ferguson (m. 1983–2014), Sandra Taylor (m. 1969–1980)

father: Joseph T. Taylor

mother: Hertha Mae Ward

siblings: Hussain, Judith

children: Esme Taylor, Tamar Taylor, Tariq Taylor, Yasmine Taylor

Died on: June 28, 2014

place of death: Altadena, California, United States

City: Boston

Cause of Death: Cancer

U.S. State: Massachusetts, African-American From Massachusetts

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Meshach Taylor was an American actor best known for his Emmy-nominated television role as jailbird-turned-assistant Anthony Bouvier in the CBS sitcom 'Designing Women' and his notable film role as Hollywood Montrose in the two films 'Mannequin' and 'Mannequin 2: On the Move'. Starting out as a State House political correspondent at an Indianapolis radio station, he honed his acting skills at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre and the Organic Theater Company. A prolific theatre actor, he received an 'Emmy Award' for portraying Jim in 'Huckleberry Finn', which was produced by Organic Theatre in collaboration with Goodman Theatre and was recorded for a WTTW-TV special. He made his Broadway debut as Lumiere in the 1988 production of 'Beauty and the Beast'. He was a regular cast of television series like 'Buffalo Bill', 'Dave's World' and 'Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide', and also had guest roles on several TV shows including 'Lou Grant', 'M*A*S*H', 'Hill Street Blues', 'What's Happening Now!', 'Burke's Law', 'Women of the House', 'The Drew Carey Show', 'Hannah Montana', 'Jessie' and 'Criminal Minds'. His last theatre role was that of Vietnam veteran JC Bridges in 'Year of the Rabbit' at Ensemble Studio Theater in September 2012.

Childhood & Early Life
  • Leaving college early, Meshach Taylor began working in Indianapolis as a State House reporter for AM radio station WIFE (now WTLC) using the on-air name Bruce Thomas. He also hosted a community-affairs program on television station WLWI (now WTHR) as Bruce Taylor.
  • His first professional acting job was in a national tour of the rock musical 'Hair', following which he became a member of Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. He appeared in David Rabe's 'Streamers', 'Native Son', 'The Island' and Athol Fugard’s 'Sizwe Banzi Is Dead', the last of which earned him the 1977 'Joseph Jefferson Award'.
  • He also worked at the Organic Theater Company alongside Joe Mantegna, André DeShields, Dennis Franz, Keith Szarabajka, Jack Wallace, and director Stuart Gordon.
  • In 1977, he moved to Los Angles and appeared in minor roles in popular horror films like 'Damien: Omen II' (1978), 'The Howling' (1981) and 'The Beast Within' (1982).
  • His early television appearances were in series such as 'Barnaby Jones', 'Lou Grant', 'M*A*S*H', 'Barney Miller' and 'Hill Street Blues'. He appeared in the regular role of Tony on the promising, but short-lived series 'Buffalo Bill' in 1983-84.
  • In 1986, he bagged the breakthrough role of the lovable ex-con turned law student, Anthony Bouvier, on the CBS sitcom 'Designing Women', for which he received a 'Primetime Emmy Award' nomination in 1989.
  • He also found success on the big screen in the role of flamboyant window dresser Hollywood Montrose on the cult classic romantic comedy 'Mannequin' (1987), and its 1991 sequel 'Mannequin 2: On the Move'.
  • After 'Designing Women' ended in 1993, he became a series regular on 'Dave's World' (1993-97) as plastic surgeon Sheldon Baylor. His most prominent television role in recent times was as Alastair Wright on 'Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide' from 2004 to 2007.
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Major Works
  • While Meshach Taylor's best television role was that of Anthony Bouvier on 'Designing Women', he also earned praise for his roles on 'Buffalo Bill' and 'Dave's World'. On films, he is undoubtedly best known for portraying Hollywood Montrose in the two 'Mannequin' films.
Family & Personal Life
  • Meshach Taylor began dating his first wife Sandra one year before their marriage in 1969. They were together for 11 years before divorcing in 1980.
  • He married actress Bianca Ferguson in 1983. The two had three children, while he also had a child from his first marriage.
  • On June 28, 2014, he succumbed to colorectal cancer while in hospice care at his home in Altadena, California. He was survived by his 100-year-old mother, two siblings, wife and four children – daughters Tamar, Esme, and Yasmine, and son Tariq.
  • To celebrate Meshach Taylor's life and achievements, a memorial service was held at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, on July 6, 2014.

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