Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang Photos: Meshach Taylor Celebrates 67th Birthday with Arlene and Joe Mantegna, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, Jean Smart, Dennis Franz, Ernie Hudson, John Heard, Keith Szarabajka, Jack Wallace, Stuart Gordon, Shadoe Stevens and More

Gia Mantegna, Joe Mantegna, Mia Mantegna, Arlene Mantegna, Esme Taylor, Meshach Taylor, Don,Yasmine Taylor, Tariq Taylor, Tamar Taylor. Photo by Lia Chang

Gia Mantegna, Joe Mantegna, Mia Mantegna, Arlene Mantegna, Esme Taylor, Meshach Taylor, Don,Yasmine Taylor, Tariq Taylor, Tamar Taylor. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia Chang, Meshach Taylor and Tami Chang.

Lia Chang, Meshach Taylor and Tami Chang.

Emmy Award-Nominated actor Meshach Taylor turned 67 this year and was feted at the home of Arlene and Joe Mantegna in Toluca Lake, CA on April 12, 2014. My sister Tami and I were fortunate enough to join in on the family celebration with his wife Bianca Ferguson Taylor, daughters Tamar Taylor, Esme Taylor, Yasmine Taylor, and son Tariq Taylor.

Also in attendance: Taylor’s”Designing Women” co-stars Delta Burke and her husband Gerald McRaney, Jean Smart and her husband Richard Gilliland, his “Dave’s World” co-star Shadoe Stevens and his wife Beverly Cunningham, The Hudson Family- Ernie Hudson, his wife Linda and their sons Ross and Andrew.

 

Meshach Taylor at his 67th birthday party in Toluca Lake, CA on April 12, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Meshach Taylor at his 67th birthday party in Toluca Lake, CA on April 12, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Taylor worked in radio in Indianapolis, IN., and his first professional gig was in the National tour of the musical Hair. He honed his craft in repertory theater as a member of Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, and the Organic Theater Company alongside Mantegna, André De Shields, Dennis Franz, John Heard, Keith Szarabajka, Jack Wallace, and director Stuart Gordon. While in Chicago, he appeared in Streamers, Native Son (1979 Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination for Actor in a Principal Role in a Play), The Island, and Sizwe Banzi Is Dead, for which he garnered the 1977 Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Principal Role in a Play. He received an Emmy Award for his role as Jim in the WTTV production of “Huckleberry Finn,” and hosted Chicago television show “Black Life”. In 1998, Taylor made his Broadway debut as Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast, starring alongside Toni Braxton.

Taylor had his second guest starring appearance on episode 13 of CRIMINAL MINDS, “The Road Home” on the CBS Television Network. The episode, which marked series star Joe Mantegna’s directorial debut, first aired in January, 2014 and was rebroadcast on June 11, 2014.

Click below to see some clips of Meshach on CRIMINAL MINDS, “The Road Home”.

Members of the Organic Theater posed for a reunion photo.

An Organic Theater Reunion at Meshach Taylor's 67th birthday in Toluca Lake, CA on April 12, 2014. From left to right: Joe Mantegna, Ina Jaffe, Arlene Mantegna, Jack Wallace, Meshach Taylor, Carolyn Gordon, John Heard, Lenny Kleinfeld, Keith Szarabajka, Josephine Paoletti, Vinny Guastaferro, Stuart Gordon, Dennis Franz, Roberta Custer. Photo by Lia Chang

An Organic Theater Reunion at Meshach Taylor’s 67th birthday in Toluca Lake, CA on April 12, 2014. From left to right: Joe Mantegna, Ina Jaffe, Arlene Mantegna, Jack Wallace, Meshach Taylor, Carolyn Gordon, John Heard, Lenny Kleinfeld, Keith Szarabajka, Josephine Paoletti, Vinny Guastaferro, Stuart Gordon, Dennis Franz, Roberta Custer. Photo by Lia Chang

Promotional portrait of the cast of the television series, 'Designing Women,' c. 1987. Clockwise from bottom left: Jean Smart, Alice Ghostley, Delta Burke, Dixie Carter, Annie Potts and Meshach Taylor. (Photo by Fotos International/Courtesy Getty Images)

Promotional portrait of the cast of the television series, ‘Designing Women,’ c. 1987. Clockwise from bottom left: Jean Smart, Alice Ghostley, Delta Burke, Dixie Carter, Annie Potts and Meshach Taylor. (Photo by Fotos International/Courtesy Getty Images)

In 1977, Taylor moved to Los Angeles, where he crafted a gallery of memorable characters in film and on television. In May 1981, the ninth season of “M*A*SH,” Taylor was seen as a corpsman in the final episode, “The Life You Save” and appeared as Tony in the short-lived NBC sitcom Buffalo Bill opposite Dabney Coleman. From 1986 – 1993, Taylor played lovable ex-con turned law student Anthony Bouvier, the assistant at the fictitious Sugarbaker interior design firm in Atlanta, Georgia, on the CBS sitcom “Designing Women” starring Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, Annie Potts, and Jean Smart. In 1989, he received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6uQX8e5buk From 1993 – 1997, he portrayed plastic surgeon Sheldon Baylor on the CBS sitcom “Dave’s World”. From 2004-2007, Taylor played Alastair Wright, the history teacher turned school principal, and appeared on Nickelodeon’s “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mep8P4dXah0

Joe Mantegna, Joanie and Dennis Franz, Meshach Taylor, Gerald McRaney and Delta Burke celebrated Taylor's 67th birthday in Toluca Lake, CA on April 12, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Joe Mantegna, Joanie and Dennis Franz, Meshach Taylor, Gerald McRaney and Delta Burke celebrated Taylor’s 67th birthday in Toluca Lake, CA on April 12, 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

He has appeared on “The Unit” (CBS), “Jessie” (Disney Channel),”“Hannah Montana” (Disney Channel), “The Drew Carey Show” (ABC), “Static Shock” (Kids WB!), “Caroline in the City” (NBC), “Aaahh!!! Real Monsters” (Nickelodeon), “Women of the House” (CBS), “In the Heat of the Night” (NBC), “Punky Brewster” (NBC), “What’s Happening Now!”, “Hill Street Blues” (NBC), “ALF” (NBC), “Melba” (CBS), “The Golden Girls” (NBC), “Cagney & Lacey” (CBS), “Barney Miller” (ABC), “M*A*S*H” (CBS), “Lou Grant” (CBS), “The White Shadow” (CBS), “The Incredible Hulk” (CBS), and “Barnaby Jones”(CBS). His made-for-TV movies include The Right Connections with MC Hammer, Sidney Sheldon’s Nothing Lasts Forever with Brooke Shields, Virtual Seduction, Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child and Double, Double, Toil and Trouble with the Olsen Twins. In 1996, Taylor hosted his own series on HGTV, ”The Urban Gardener with Meshach Taylor,” and in 1998, he hosted “Meshach Taylor’s Hidden Caribbean” on the Travel Channel. He was a regular panelist on the 2000 revival of the television game show ”To Tell the Truth”. He co-hosted “Living Live! with Florence Henderson” on Retirement Living TV; in 2008, the program was revamped as “The Florence Henderson Show”.

Hello dolly ... Andrew McCarthy and Meshach Taylor in Mannequin Photograph: Allstar/20th Century Fox/Sportsphoto

Hello dolly … Andrew McCarthy and Meshach Taylor in Mannequin Photograph: Allstar/20th Century Fox/Sportsphoto

Taylor has appeared in the feature films Mannequin and Mannequin Two: On the MoveDamien: Omen II, The Howling, Jacks or Better, Kid ‘N Play’s Class Act, How to Murder a Millionaire, David Mamet’s House of Games, The Allnighter, The Last Innocent Man with Ed Harris, Explorers, Friends and Family, The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue, One More Saturday Night, Warning Sign, Wigger, and Inside Out with Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason.

Keliher Walsh and Meshach Taylor in Year of the Rabbit. Photo by Betsy Newman

Keliher Walsh and Meshach Taylor in Year of the Rabbit. Photo by Betsy Newman

Taylor last appeared onstage at Ensemble Studio Theater-LA in Keliher Walsh’s Year of the Rabbit in 2012, playing Vietnam vet JC Bridges, who upon returning from his first tour in Vietnam in 1967, experienced hatred and racism in the turbulent States. The play examines wartime experiences from Vietnam and Afghanistan. Click here to read more about the play.

 

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Other articles on Meshach Taylor:
Joe Mantegna to Helm ‘Criminal Minds’ Season 10 Episode to Honor the late Meshach Taylor
indystar: Longtime IPS Teacher Celebrates 100th Birthday
Jan. 22: Emmy Award-Nominated Actor Meshach Taylor (“Designing Women”) Guest Stars on Criminal Minds as Rossi’s Former Marine Sergeant, Harrison Scott
Criminal Minds: The Road Home
hollywoodreporter.com: ‘Criminal Minds’: Joe Mantegna on Rossi’s Military Past, Teases Season Mystery
brittany-frederick.com: Interview with Joe Mantegna
Happy Birthday Meshach Taylor
tvline.com: Joe Mantegna: Criminal Minds’ Tribute to War Veterans Packs an Emmy-Caliber Performance
hollywoodreporter.com: ‘Criminal Minds’: Joe Mantegna on Rossi’s Military Past, Teases Season Mystery
xfinity.comcast.net: Joe Mantegna Thrilled About His ‘Criminal Minds’ Marine Storyline
Emmy Award-Nominated Actor Meshach Taylor (“Designing Women”) Guest Stars on Criminal Minds as Rossi’s Former Marine Sergeant, Harrison Scott on November 14, 2012
Meshach Taylor talks Wigger on Wendy Williams Show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLXaDgr-ASc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wln9O9bjD9U
Playbill.com: Beauty’s Meshach Taylor and Nine’s Myra Lucretia Taylor Take Flight in L.A.By Ernio Hernandez (Jan. 22, 2005)
Playbill.com: Braxton-Taylor-Barbour Beast Begins Sept. 9 By Robert Simonson and Robert Viagas (Aug. 21, 1998) Los Angeles Times: And Then There Was Anthony … : ‘DESIGNING WOMEN’S’ MESHACH TAYLOR ENDS THE SERIES AS HE BEGAN–WITH DIGNITY (May 23, 1993)
People: Designing Women’s Man (May 18, 1992)

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Photos & Video: The Wiz’s André De Shields Sang “So You Wanted to Meet the Wizard” in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream at Carnegie Hall
Photos and Video: Obba Babatunde and cast members from the original cast of Dreamgirls perform at Carnegie Hall in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream
Photos and Video: Ben Vereen Performs at Carnegie Hall in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream
June 23: André De Shields, Billy Porter, Chuck Cooper, Brandon Victor Dixon, Clifton Davis, Norm Lewis, Chapman Roberts and More Set for The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream at Carnegie Hall
Celebrating my mom – AN ACTIVE VISION: BEVERLY UMEHARA…LABOR ACTIVIST…1945-1999
Remembering Civil Rights Activist Yuri Kochiyama, 1921-2014
Ruby Dee, Actress and Activist, 1922 – 2014 Late Night Singing with Garth Kravits at 54 Below with The Skivvies, at Jim Caruso’s Cast Party at Birdland and Michael Raye’s Soul Gathering
Bryan Cranston, Audra McDonald, Neil Patrick Harris, Jessie Mueller, Lena Hall, Sophie Okonedo, Kenny Leon, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, All The Way, A Raisin in the Sun, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and More Take Home 2014 Tony Awards
David Henry Hwang and Lynn Nottage Appointed to the Playwriting Faculty of Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program
Photos: Bryan Cranston, Peter Jay Fernandez, Roslyn Ruff, Tamara Tunie, Leslie Uggams, Ruben Santiago-Hudson Celebrate All The Way Opening Night
Jun. 22 – July 27: Richard Thomas and Kristen Connolly Set for Old Globe Debut in OTHELLO
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards
Photos: André De Shields, Michael Shannon, Rajiv Joseph, Christine Sherrill, Doug Peck, Alexis J. Rogers, Karen Ziemba and More Celebrate 2013 Jeff Equity Awards
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia recently starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Lorey Hayes, Marcus Naylor and Phynjuar, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York.  She is profiled in Jade Magazine. All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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10 comments on “Lia Chang Photos: Meshach Taylor Celebrates 67th Birthday with Arlene and Joe Mantegna, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, Jean Smart, Dennis Franz, Ernie Hudson, John Heard, Keith Szarabajka, Jack Wallace, Stuart Gordon, Shadoe Stevens and More

  1. Linda Hudson
    June 26, 2014

    Great job, Lia! You are a lady of many talents! Thanks for sharing:)

  2. Tina Wright
    June 29, 2014

    Thanks for this fantastic write up and video clips. What an awesome man! Rip Meshach

  3. Valerie
    June 29, 2014

    Mr. Meshach Taylor was a great guy! I know he will be missed by his family and friends. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  4. Alfreda G Brooks
    June 29, 2014

    Good day to all! It saddens me to learn of Meshach Taylor’s transition from his earthly home to a place that surrounds us all everyday. Thank you Ms. Chang for posting your photos of Meshach enjoying himself with family, friends, food, fun and the love that was captured by you in those pictures. He always made me laugh out loud watching Designing Women and Mannequin. My thoughts and prayers are going out to his family and friends in the lost of their loved one.

  5. Diane
    June 29, 2014

    You will be missed very much heavens gain is our loss.

  6. BeauLayne
    June 29, 2014

    A great man.
    Beau Layne

  7. Brenda Klein
    June 30, 2014

    we all miss you Meshach and were so thrilled when you appeared in Criminal Minds, as Diane said, heavens gain is our huge loss :(

  8. BeauLayne
    June 30, 2014

    Meshach loved everyone and was loved by everyone. A Great man.

  9. BonBon
    June 30, 2014

    I am so glad I found these pictures of Meshach’s last birthday here on earth. I’m sure those that celebrated with him are so glad that they had that time with him. It looks like it was a truly joyous occasion. God Bless his family and friends and may they only have happy memories when they think of him. RIP dear Meshach.

  10. Francine Major
    June 30, 2014

    Way way back I worked at Victory garden Theater in Chicago. They did a play Sizwe Bansi is Dead. I had the pleasure of meeting Meshach and to witness his wonderful performance. He was kind, smart, talented and funny. Fast forward. I returned to NYC (my home) and saw that he was appearing in Beauty and The Beast. I saw the show and stopped by the stage door to leave a “hello”. He had become a TV star by then and I didn’t think he would remember me. He did. We had a nice conversation and he was as kind as ever. Thanks for this great article. Seeing some of those Organic Theater people was a real treat.

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