Posted By: Maria Reams on October 18, 2007 |
Surrounded by four dazzling Southern-styled ladies on the hit sitcom "Designing Women" (1986), genial African-American Meshach Taylor made a name for himself as the beleaguered male foil consistently at the mercy of the ladies' antics during its seven-season run. The Boston-born actor who was raised in New Orleans and Indianapolis took an early interest in acting back in high school and first studied drama at Ohio's Wilmington College before transferring to Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Florida. Gaining experience back at an Indianapolis radio station as a State House political correspondent and in repertory theater, he eventually became a member of both Chicago's Goodman Theatre and the Organic Theatre group. One of his stage performances, "Sizwe Banzo Is ****," earned him Chicago theater's Joseph Jefferson Award.
Taylor transported himself to Los Angeles in the late 70s and found minor work in a few of the popular horror films of the day: Damien: Omen II (1978), The Howling (1981) and The Beast Within (1982), and started to make the typical rounds on popular TV shows including "Barney Miller," "Lou Grant" and "M*A*S*H." After a regular part on the promising, but short-lived "Buffalo Bill" (1983), he nabbed the Emmy-nominated role of Anthony Bouvier, the jailbird-turned-assistant to Delta Burke, Annie Potts, Jean Smart and Dixie Carter. As the show progressed his character proved his keep and was eventually made a full partner of the ladies' designer firm. Following this success Taylor moved straight into four seasons with the sitcom "Dave's World" (1993) as a poker-playing buddy/neighbor to Harry Anderson. His film and TV load has been fairly lightweight overall with routine turns in such comedy fare as Mannequin (1987) and Class Act (1992), an Olsen twins mini-movie, and as a regular panelist on a revamped version of "To Tell the Truth" (2000). One of his brighter moments (literally) was playing the role of Lumiere in Broadway's "Beauty and the Beast." Married to actress Bianca Ferguson, Taylor has three daughters, Tamar, Yasmine, and Esme, and a son Tariq.
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