Leigh Taylor-young


Actor
Leigh Taylor-young

About

Also Known As
Leigh Taylor Young, Leigh Taylor
Birth Place
Washington, Washington D.C., USA
Born
January 25, 1944

Biography

For years Leigh Taylor-Young seemed less an actress than an answer to a trivia question; an eternal starlet about whom people knew she had been married to Ryan O'Neal, had once been on "Peyton Place" (ABC, 1966-1967), and little more. Then, as Taylor-Young reached age 50, it turned out there had been an actress there all along, as she won new respect, new fans, and an Emmy playing Mayor ...

Family & Companions

Ryan O'Neal
Husband
Actor. Married in 1967; divorced c. 1972.
Robert De Niro
Companion
Actor. Romantically involved during the shooting of "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight" in 1971.
Ravi Shankar
Companion
Sitarist.
Guy McElwaine
Husband
Executive, agent. Married in 1978; divorced c. 1985.

Notes

She has her own website located at www.lty.com

Taylor-Young has recorded several tapes for meditation and visualization.

Biography

For years Leigh Taylor-Young seemed less an actress than an answer to a trivia question; an eternal starlet about whom people knew she had been married to Ryan O'Neal, had once been on "Peyton Place" (ABC, 1966-1967), and little more. Then, as Taylor-Young reached age 50, it turned out there had been an actress there all along, as she won new respect, new fans, and an Emmy playing Mayor Rachel Harris on the CBS series "Picket Fences." Still youthful, with slightly pouty lips and come-hither eyes, Taylor-Young was in the original cast of the NBC daytime drama "Sunset Beach" when it premiered in 1997 playing Elaine Stevens, earth mother and coffee shop owner.

Born in Washington, DC, Taylor-Young was raised in affluence, but her parents divorced when she was young. When she began her acting career in the mid-1960s, the actress adopted a hyphenated surname in honor of both her father and her stepfather. After studies at the Neighborhood Playhouse in NYC, Taylor-Young made her Broadway debut in the short-lived Gower Champion-directed play "Three Bags Full" (1966). Traveling to California for health reasons, she auditioned and was cast in the primetime ABC serial "Peyton Place" in 1966 as Rachael Welles, a young woman claiming to have information about the disappearance of Allison Mackenzie (Mia Farrow), During her run on the series, she became romantically involved with co-star Ryan O'Neal, whom she married in 1967. After the birth of their son, Taylor-Young was tapped to play the free-spirited, free-loving hippie who changes Peter Sellers' outlook on life in her debut "I Love You Alice B. Toklas" (1968). Other plum feature roles followed, including the female lead alongside Jerry Orbach and Robert De Niro in "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight" (1971) and opposite Charlton Heston in "Soylent Green" (1973). The very public break-up of her marriage to O'Neal (who was conducting an affair with his "What's Up Doc?" co-star Barbra Streisand) caused Taylor-Young to leave Hollywood. After a spiritual quest that took her to India and a second marriage to agent and film executive Guy McElwaine (who preferred she not work), Taylor-Young returned to the big screen in "Can't Stop the Music" (1980). She played Kelly Preston's confused mother in "Secret Admirer" and had a small but pivotal role in "Jagged Edge" (both 1985). More recently, she had cameos "I Can't Lose" (1997) and "Bliss" (1997), directed by her brother Lance Young.

Still popular among Hollywood insiders from her days as an ingenue, Taylor-Young turned to TV, playing secretary to Rock Hudson in the short-lived "The Devlin Connection" (NBC, 1982) and returned to primetime soaps as the wife of a department store heir in the summer series "The Hamptons" (ABC, 1983), During the 1987-88 season, Taylor-Young joined the cast of CBS' "Dallas" as the wife of one of J.R. Ewing's nemeses. She joined the cast of CBS' "Picket Fences" in 1993 in the regular role of Rachel Harris, who becomes mayor after her predecessor dies of spontaneous combustion. The role was supposed to be just for a season, but when she was the surprise winner of a Best Supporting Actress Emmy, the character was written back into the series briefly. Taylor-Young then landed the recurring role Naomi, the mother of the partner of "The Sentinel" on the UPN series. Long-time friend Aaron Spelling then offered her the role of earth mother Elaine Stevens on the daytime soap "Sunset Beach" (NBC).

Life Events

1965

Moved to NYC to pursue acting career

1966

Broadway debut in "Three Bags Full", directed by Gower Champion

1966

Joined cast of the ABC primetime serial "Peyton Place" in the role of Rachael Welles

1968

Made feature film debut in "I Love You Alice B. Toklas", starring Peter Sellars

1971

Starred opposite Robert De Niro in "The Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight"

1972

Co-starred with Edward G Robinson and Charlton Heston in "Soylent Green"; last film for seven years

1980

Made TV-movie debut in "Marathon" (CBS)

1980

Returned to features with small role in "Can't Stop the Music"

1982

Had regular role of secretary Lauren Dane on the NBC series "The Devlin Connection", starring Rock Hudson

1983

Appeared on short-lived serial "The Hamptons" (ABC)

1983

Was featured on stage in "The Beckett Plays" in Edinburgh, London and Los Angeles

1985

Was one of the stars of the film "Secret Admirer"

1985

Had small but pivotal role in "Jagged Edge"

1987

Co-starred in the ABC miniseries "Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story"

1987

Appeared as the conniving Kimberly Cryder in "Dallas" (CBS)

1996

Had recurring role as Garrett Maggart's mother on the UPN series "The Sentinel"

1996

Had recurring role on the UPN series "The Sentinel"

1997

Was regular member of "Sunset Beach" cast (NBC)

1997

Played small role in "Bliss", written and directed by her brother Lance Young

2004

Played a recurring role as Katherine Barrett Crane on "Passions"

2007

Landed a small role in "Spiritual Warriors"

2011

Landed a role in "The Wayshower"

Photo Collections

Soylent Green - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from Soylent Green (1973). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Soylent Green - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Soylent Green (1973). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Family

Carl Taylor
Father
Diplomat. Died in 1970.
Donald Young
Step-Father
Executive. Died in 1992 of lung cancer.
Pauline Young
Mother
Died in 1995.
Dey Young
Sister
Singer. Married to David Ladd; younger.
Lance Young
Brother
Writer, director. Directed 1997 film "Bliss" in which Taylor-Young has cameo; younger.
Patrick O'Neal
Son
Actor, filmmaker. Born on September 14, 1967; father Ryan O'Neal; romantically involved with Rebecca DeMornay with whom he has a child.
Sophia O'Neal
Granddaughter
Born in November 1997; mother, Rebecca DeMornay; father, Patrick O'Neal.

Companions

Ryan O'Neal
Husband
Actor. Married in 1967; divorced c. 1972.
Robert De Niro
Companion
Actor. Romantically involved during the shooting of "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight" in 1971.
Ravi Shankar
Companion
Sitarist.
Guy McElwaine
Husband
Executive, agent. Married in 1978; divorced c. 1985.
Mark Holmes
Husband
Doctor of oriental medicine. Third husband; married c. 1987; Taylor-Young filed for divorce February 1992.
Dave Mason
Companion
Musician. Together for three years in the 1990s.

Bibliography

Notes

She has her own website located at www.lty.com

Taylor-Young has recorded several tapes for meditation and visualization.

"I come from an extremely intellectual and educated family. I fell in love with acting more through the classics than from watching movies or TV. I moved to Hollywood with a passion to be great. When I did 'Peyton Place' they wanted me in bathing suits because I looked a certain way. Then I met Ryan, and it all began to create a persona I was not." --Leigh Taylor-Young to SOAP OPERA DIGEST, April 28, 1997