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Meshach Taylor

  • Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Birthday: April 11
Date of passing: 
June 28, 2014

Meshach Taylor was an actor best known for the role of Anthony Bouvier, a deliveryman who eventually becomes a partner in interior design firm run by four Atlanta women, on the popular TV comedy Designing Women.

The son of college professors, Taylor was born in Boston and grew up in New Orleans and Indianapolis. He began performing in high school and attended Wilmington College in Ohio and Florida A&M in Tallahassee. He later moved to Chicago, where he became a member of the city's Goodman Theatre and Organic Theatre group.

In 1978 he relocated to Los Angeles, where he quickly found work in both television and movies.

Meshach Taylor was an actor best known for the role of Anthony Bouvier, a deliveryman who eventually becomes a partner in interior design firm run by four Atlanta women, on the popular TV comedy Designing Women.

The son of college professors, Taylor was born in Boston and grew up in New Orleans and Indianapolis. He began performing in high school and attended Wilmington College in Ohio and Florida A&M in Tallahassee. He later moved to Chicago, where he became a member of the city's Goodman Theatre and Organic Theatre group.

In 1978 he relocated to Los Angeles, where he quickly found work in both television and movies.

His feature film credits in the years that followed included Damien: Omen II, The Howling, The Beast Within, Explorers, Mannequin, Mannequin: On the Move and House of Games.

He broke into television with a guest role on Barnaby Jones and over the next three decades he appeared in dozens of programs, including The Incredible Hulk, M*A*S*H, Lou Grant, Barney Miller, Cagney & Lacey, The Golden Girls, Hill Street Blues, ALF, In the Heat of the Night, Caroline and the City, The Drew Carey Show and Criminal Minds. He also had regular roles on the series Buffalo Bill, Dave's World and Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide.

When Taylor was first cast in Designing Women, which aired on CBS from 1986 to 1993, the role of Anthony, an ex-convict seeking to turn his life around, was intended to be a one-time guest appearance. But when the producers observed his chemistry with the four women — Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, Annie Potts and Jean Smart — they made him a co-star. He remained on the show for its entire run and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1989 for his performance.

In addition to his frequent TV and film roles, he continued to work in the theater. In 1998, he played Lumiere, the talking candlestick, in the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast.

Taylor died June 28, 2014, at his home in Altadena, California. He was 67.

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