Who is Taran Noah Smith?
Taran Noah Smith is a retired American actor. He gained fame for his portrayal of Marcus "Mark" Jason Taylor in the ABC sitcom ‘Home Improvement’. A native Californian, Smith was an incredibly successful child actor. He made his screen debut in 1989 in ‘ABC TGIF’. During his tenure on ‘Home Improvement’, he also got the chance to appear in an episode of ‘7th Heaven’. In 1995, he played Tim 'Timmy' Cratchet in the TV movie ‘Ebbie’. Smith made his first and only cinematic appearance in the family film ‘Little Bigfoot 2: The Journey Home’. His last involvement in the entertainment industry was in an episode of the animated series ‘Batman Beyond’. Since leaving acting, Smith had set up Playfood, a non-dairy cheese manufacturer, and vegan and organic food restaurant in California with his former wife, Heidi van Pelt.
Taran Noah Smith made his first screen appearance in 1989 in ‘ABC TGIF’. This was also the first time he appeared as Mark Taylor, his character in ‘Home Improvement’. The sitcom premiered on ABC on September 17, 1991. Created by Carmen Finestra, David McFadzean, and Matt Williams, the show revolves around the life of TV host Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor (Tim Allen), who is raising his three children with his loving wife Jill (Patricia Richardson). The cast also includes Richard Karn, who plays Tim’s co-host Al, and Earl Hindman, who portrays Tim’s neighbour Wilson. Smith was cast as the youngest son, Marcus Jason "Mark" Taylor. Unlike his brothers, Mark has taken after his mother. He is sensitive and kind and often has an adversarial relationship with his siblings. For his performance, Smith won the Young Artists Award for Outstanding Actor Under Ten in a Television Series in 1992 and Outstanding Youth Ensemble in a Television Series, which he shared with Zachery Ty Bryan and Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who played Brad Taylor and Randy Taylor respectively. The series was a massive success and served as the launchpad for Tim Allen’s career.
In the 1995 TV movie ‘Ebbie’, he worked with Susan Lucci, Wendy Crewson, and Ron Lea, portraying Tim 'Timmy' Cratchet. In 1997, he guest-starred in a season two episode of The WB family drama series ‘7th Heaven’. Smith was cast as Brian Ferris in the 1998 family film ‘Little Bigfoot 2: The Journey Home’. This film ended up being his first and only cinematic venture. Smith also voiced the character Patrick in an episode of Kids’ WB’s animated series ‘Batman Beyond’. This was his final job as a performer.
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In 2005, Smith and his then-wife Heidi van Pelt started operating a vegan and organic food restaurant and non-dairy cheese manufacturer named Playfood out of their home in Sherman Oaks, California. The business venture was later found out to be illegal and was shut down. The couple later tried and failed to establish another vegan restaurant in Studio City.
Smith has stated that he has no interest in acting any more. In recent years, he has set up a floating art gallery and has served as a charter sailboat captain. He also regularly volunteers with the disaster relief organization Communitere. In 2017, he served as a volunteer with the Burners Without Borders in Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Family & Personal Life
Taran Noah Smith was born on April 8, 1984, in San Francisco, California, USA, to David Smith and Candy Bennici. He has a sister, model Ariandrea "Aria" Hilary Smith, who is seven years older than him. His parents named him after the protagonist of Lloyd Alexander's fantasy series ‘Chronicles of Prydain’. He is part Italian and part Swedish from his mother side and part Scottish and part Irish from his father’s side.
Academically gifted, Smith completed high school early. He had learned how to play the drums by himself. He has several other hobbies as well, including motorcycling, sailing and flying a two-seater aeroplane with his family.
According to his mother, when ‘Home Improvement’ concluded, it affected Smith the hardest among all the actors in the show. Believing that he was passionate about directing, he enrolled at the University of Southern California film school. During this period, he met columnist and vegan chef Heidi van Pelt. Despite the fact she was 15 or 16 years older than him, it did not take long for a relationship to develop between the two. Smith subsequently dropped out of school to elope with and marry Van Pelt. His parents were vehemently against the marriage as he was still underage. It led to a major conflict between them and Smith. He even filed a lawsuit accusing them of mishandling his $1.5 million trust fund by buying themselves a house. His parents categorically refuted this claim. In 2015, his mother told the ‘Marin Improvement Journal’ that “Of course we didn't touch his money... It was in a trust fund. We couldn't have touched it if we wanted to.” While a Marin court judge refused to allow Smith access to his trust fund at the time, he did eventually get it after he turned 18.
Smith and van Pelt were married from April 27, 2001 to February 2, 2007. According to ‘Variety,’ their union produced a child.