Meshach Taylor began studying acting in high school after his family moved to Indianapolis and continued his studies at Wilmington College in Ohio, with the hope to gain some strong acting experience. Taylor found that there was little opportunity for African-American actors in their program, so he transferred to Florida A&M in Tallahassee. A few credits short of completing his studies, Taylor returned to Indianapolis where he began to work at a local radio station as a State House political correspondent. For two years he traveled with the national touring company.
He joined the Organic Theatre group in Chicago where he met and worked with good friends Joe Mantegna and Dennis Franz. While there, he also became part of Chicago's Goodman Theatre, where his performance in Sizwe Banzo Is Dead won him the Joseph Jefferson Award. Taylor also won a Chicago area Emmy for his performance in the PBS production of Huckleberry Finn, and he hosted his own talk show, Black Life, on the local NBC affiliate.
Upon moving to Hollywood, Taylor landed a role in the feature film Damien - Omen II. He also joined the Westwood Playhouse production of Sizwe Banzo Is Dead, made guest appearances on Barney Miller, Lou Grant, The White Shadow and M*A*S*H, and landed a regular role on the
Buffalo Bill series, co-starring Dabney Coleman and Geena Davis. Meshach Taylor is probably best known to audiences for his Emmy-nominated portrayal of Anthony Bouvier for seven seasons on CBS's Designing Women, and then as Harry Anderson's college buddy and neighbor Sheldon Baylor on Dave's World.
Taylor's other credits include the CBS telefilm How to Murder a Millionaire, the hit comedies Mannequin and Mannequin Two: On the Move in which he portrayed the outrageous and flamboyant window dresser Hollywood, a cameo appearance in A Class Act, the ABC movie-of-the-week Double, Double Toil and Trouble opposite twins Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Virtual Seduction for Showtime/Concorde New Horizon, and CBS movie-of-the-week Nothing Lasts Forever with Vanessa Williams and Brooke Shields.
Meshach Taylor's no Martha Stewart, but he acquired enough expertise dabbling in his own garden to host Urban Gardener with Meshach Taylor for HGT and co-hosted a show on Retirement Living TV with Florence Henderson.
Following his stint on HGT, Meshach also appeared on Broadway as Lumier in Beauty and the Beast and in an independent film called Jacks or Better. Meshach went on to co-star as a celebrity panelist in a remake of the classic game show To Tell the Truth. He most recently appeared in a pair of episodes of CBS' Criminal Minds.
Meshach died on June 28, 2014 at his family's home after a long battle with cancer. His loving family was by his side. Jean Smart, Richard Gilliland, Delta Burke and Gerald McRaney were among friends who gathered to celebrate Meshach's 67th birthday at a party in April.
Shortly before his passing, his family posted a note on his Facebook page, saying, "It is with love and gratitude that we sorrowfully announce that our darling, amazingly brilliant and dynamic Meshach, the incredible father, husband, son and friend, has begun his grand transition." Meshach is survived by his wife Bianca, his three daughters, Tamar, Yasmine, Esme, his son Tariq, and four grandchildren.
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