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.
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.
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
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”.
Taylor has appeared in the feature films Mannequin and Mannequin Two: On the Move, Damien: 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.
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.
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
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)
Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon and Taxman. She has guest starred on “One Life to Live,” “As the World Turns,” and “New York Undercover.” Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington and Roscoe Orman. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.
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