Family & Companions
Omnipresent, much-loved character actor, a fixture of Westerns for over 60 years. Taylor began in vaudeville playing the harmonica and the xylophone, and the latter talent came in handy when he made his film debut as the untalented xylophone-playing Ed Carmichael, one of a family of zanies peopling Frank Capra's adaptation of the George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart farce, "You Can't Take It With You" (1938). Although he can be spotted in that same year's delightful Ginger Rogers-Fred Astaire musical "Carefree" (1938), Taylor soon began hitting the dusty trail in "The Taming of the West" (1939), "The Man from Tumbleweeds" (1940), "Sagebrush Heroes" (1944) and dozens of others during the 1940s. He proved himself one of the best things to happen to fine "B" Westerns as he played comic sidekick first to Bill Elliott, then to Charles Starrett and later to Russell Hayden.
Delighting audiences as he had trouble with his saddle, his gun, or a flirtatious frontierswoman, Taylor continued his antics on TV's "The Roy Rogers Show" in the 50s. His film credits began to diversify, though, including crime drama ("Crime Wave" 1954), comedy ("No Time for Sergeants" 1958, Capra's "A Hole in the Head" 1959) and theatrical adaptation ("Sweet Bird of Youth" 1962). He also brought rustic humor to his recurring roles of Ben, fix-it-shop owner Emmet's brother-in-law, on TV's "The Andy Griffith Show" and repairman Ed Hewley on the first season (1965-66) of "Please Don't Eat the Daisies." In 1967 he memorably played the man who helped bring down the title characters in Arthur Penn's landmark "Bonnie and Clyde."
Taylor never left the Western, though. As genre revisions became common, Taylor's leathery presence, often grizzled, came to embody the Old West not only as it was lived but how it had been represented onscreen. Sam Peckinpah used him thusly in "Major Dundee" (1965), "The Wild Bunch" (1969), "Junior Bonner" (1972) and "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" (1973), as did films ranging from "Death of a Gunfighter" (1969) to "Back to the Future III" (1990, credited as "saloon old timer"). Taylor was as busy as in the old days, with eight credits in 1976 alone. He was as amusing as ever as a toothless varmint in the revival series, "Bret Maverick" (1981-82) and in the TV western comedies "The Dooley Brothers" (1979) and "Once Upon a Texas Train" (1988). Well into his 80s Taylor still stole scenes as the grandfather in the feature country singer saga, "Falling from Grace" (1992).
Cast (Feature Film)
Made feature film debut in Frank Capra's film version of the George S Kaufman-Moss Hart farce, "You Can't Take It With You"
Was under contract to Columbia Pictures
Billed as "Walter Dub Taylor" in the feature crime drama, "Crime Wave", directed by Andre de Toth
Returned to features after nearly seven years to play a role in "Back to the Future III"