Among Rod Taylor's less popular works are a series of ads he filmed for
the Utah Development Company in Australia. He was paid handsomely to
tout the benefits of the American company profiting from the mining and
export of Australian coal.
The ads aired on Australian TV in 1977 and also were included in an
hour-long TV news investigation of the company on Australia's "Four
Corners." I recently acquired and had converted some 35mm workprints
(without audio) of the ads and have pieced together a video you can find
on the page for the Utah Development Company ads.
October 27, 2018
Two additions of note today:
The full movie of "Trader Horn" is now available via this website. The
1973 film was never released on any home-video format, and the only
known copies were taped from TV years ago. I uploaded the version I've
had for several years, recorded from TCM thanks to a fellow fan, and you
can access it on the Trader Horn page.
The audiobook that Rod narrated -- first titled "Hard Rock Lovers" and
then "Rock Star Rising" -- is now available for free on YouTube, thanks
to the book's author, Paul Kyriazi. You can access the audiobook via the
Rock Star Rising page.
October 11, 2018
Ready for a 60-year-old Rod Taylor rarity?
On Sept. 26, 1958, Rod Taylor starred with Rod Steiger in an episode of
the CBS antholgy series "Schlitz
Playhouse." The episode was the first of the season, titled "A Thing
to Fight For."
This show had been on my "most wanted" list for a long time, and I
recently found it on 16mm film via eBay. A local company converted the
film for me, and I am happy to share the bounty. View the full
episode below or visit the
"Schlitz Playhouse" alternated weeks with another 30-minute anthology
series called "Lux Playhouse." At the end of the above episode, there's
a promo for the following week's installment of "Lux Playhouse," and
it's another show starring Rod Taylor.
The Oct. 3, 1958, episode is titled "Best House in the Valley" and
co-stars Polly Bergen. This episode has been in circulation among
collectors for many years, albeit n poor quality. Nevertheless, it's a
sweet story worth watching, and Rod is lovely in it. Here's the video,
below, and on the Schlitz/Lux
September 4, 2018
I've updated several pages throughout the site, so please visit the
following if you haven't done so recently!
Hell on Frisco Bay:
Rod's first movie made in America had a beautiful DVD/Blu-Ray
release. I've updated the page with more photos and background
Playhouse 90: More
photos and info on all five of Rod's Playhouse 90 appearances.
A frequent question to this site is "Why doesn't Rod Taylor have a star
on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?" The short answer is "He didn't want
Here's some background info:
The Walk of Fame is administered by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
It is designed as a tourist attraction, but it is indeed an honor to get
a star. There is a rigorous nomination process and a significant fee.
About 300 nominations are made each year, and only about 20-30 are
There is a five-year waiting period for a posthumous nomination.
Anyone, including a fan, can nominate a celebrity as long as the
celebrity or their management is in agreement with the nomination.
This is probably the biggest answer to the "Why no star?" question: The
celebrity didn't want it. That seems to be true in Rod's case.
There also is a steep fee (granted, the celebrity can afford it, but if
it were a fan-underwritten effort, it's pricey). When I first researched
a Walk of Fame star in about 2002, the fee was $8,000. Three years ago,
it was $30,000. Today, it is $40,000. The fee primarily pays for
installation and the star ceremony.
Finally, regarding Rod: A former castmate of Rod's inquired about
getting him a star after he died in 2015. His widow, Carol, was touched
at the suggestion but replied that Rod would not approve of a posthumous
star for many reasons.
For more information about the process of getting a star, visit the
July 23, 2018
I put together a separate page for all the laurels for "Rod Taylor:
Pulling No Punches." It provides a roundup of awards, film festival
selections and reviews for the documentary.
As Wimbledon has been progressing, my mind turned to tennis and,
naturally, to what a great player Rod Taylor was! The result is a new
tennis page, with a roundup of Rod's tennis
exploits, on camera and on the courts. Read on >>
June 26, 2018
Rod Taylor co-starred on the prime-time soap opera "Falcon Crest" during
parts of its seventh, eighth and ninth seasons (1988-90). His character,
Frank Agretti, changed quite a bit over that short span, going from
dapper gentleman to debauched murder suspect.
His first appearance starts here. You can follow the links on YouTube or
on the Falcon Crest page >>
March 13, 2018
The Rod Taylor documentary had two well-received screenings and
all-around positive reviews during the
Glasgow Film Festival.
Taylor: Pulling No Punches" was shown Feb. 25 and Feb. 26, 2018,
Glasgow's 14th annual celebration of cinema – now one of the largest
film festivals in the UK. The festival showcased more than 180 films
from 51 countries. The Australian-made Rod documentary was part of the
"Stranger than Fiction" strand of films featuring
The screenings were followed by Q&A sessions
with director Robert de Young and producer Stephan Wellink. Wellink
applauded the "great feedback from a well-informed audience during the
Leading up to the film festival, the following reviews from the UK praised the
Eye for Film called the documentary "one of the most enjoyable works
of its kind.... Even if you have no idea who he is when you start
watching, you’re guaranteed a good time – and that was Rod Taylor, all
The Peoples Movies said that Rod Taylor, "even in the later stages
of life and battling illness, proves to be a charismatic and exuberant
storyteller. Taylor is clearly enjoying reminiscing and it's undeniably
infectious to behold."
60 Minutes With reviewed the
DVD stating: "Featuring '60s style animated graphics and music, "Rod
Taylor: Pulling No Punches" has all the pizzazz of a TV show/movie that
Rod would have starred in back then, while also shining a light on all
of the fantastic work that he has done over a long and varied career."
Jan. 11, 2018
As a birthday remembrance for Rod Taylor, I posted an album of photos of
Rod as a youth in Australia. You can view it
on Facebook. Watch Rod grow up!
The filmmakers hope to report on releases in other regions in the
Below is a preview of the cover, which lists a couple
An extended interview with Rod Taylor and Tippi
Hedren from 2012.
A Q&A with Tippi Hedren and Veronica Cartwright
conducted at the Burbank International Film Festival Sept. 20, 2017.
Laurels for Pulling No Punches
Updated Jan. 29, 2018
"Rod Taylor: Pulling No
Punches" continues to earn laurels! Here's an updated roundup of the
prizes and film festival selections for the documentary:
Glasgow Film Festival 2018
The Rod Taylor documentary was screened at the
Glasgow Film Festival on Feb. 25 and Feb. 26, 2018. Q&A sessions
with director Robert de Young and producer Stephan Wellink followed
Glasgow's 14th annual celebration of cinema – now one of the largest
film festivals in the UK – will showcase more than 180 films from 51
countries. The Australian-made Rod documentary is part of the
"Stranger than Fiction" strand of films that offer a treasure trove of
"Pulling No Punches" received an Award of Excellence in the Impact Docs Awards
2018. Impact Docs is an international awards competition -- not a
traditional film festival -- designed to help industry professionals who
create fresh, standout documentaries achieve the publicity and
credibility they deserve. Entries do not compete against each other but
are judged against a high standard of merit and are scored accordingly.
International Film Festival 2017
"Pulling No Punches" received the award for Best Feature
Documentary at the Burbank International Film Festival, where it was screened Sept. 10,
2017. The screening was followed by a Q&A with Tippi Hedren and
Veronica Cartwright, Rod's co-stars from "The Birds."
This was the second U.S. screening of the documentary, which also won the
Audience Award for Best Documentary during its U.S. premiere at the
Beverly Hills Film Festival, April 26-30, 2017.
The film earned two laurels in the Oniros Film Awards (OFA), a monthly
and annual award competition based in Italy. For August 2017, the award
for Best Documentary was presented to director Robert de Young and Best
Producer was presented to Stephan Wellink.
The OFA's mission is
discovering quality and ambitious films by promoting filmmakers’ works
and by helping them realize their dreams. The name of the award comes
from the Greek word oneiros, which means "dream."
IndieFEST Film Awards
Rod documentary earned one of the top prizes -- Award of Excellence:
Special Mention -- in the season's IndieFEST judging, announced in August
The IndieFEST Film Awards is not a traditional film festival. Rather, it
is an international awards competition that strives to give talented
directors, producers, actors, creative teams and new media creators the
positive exposure they deserve. Stephan Wellink, Robert de Young and the
team behind the Rod documentary certainly deserve the opportunity and
Harbor Film Festival 2017
No Punches" was well-received when it screened at the Galaxy Theatre
during the Gig Harbor Film Festival on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. After
the screening, director Robert de Young fielded questions from the
How about a little sunbathing to kick off the summer?
Many thanks to Howard Spellman for sending along these photos from 1957.
"My father remodeled Rod Taylor's beach house and brought me out there
to show me what he does for a job," Howard wrote in an email. "I'm the
little 5-year-old kid showing off my muscles, and this year I'm eligible
for Social Security!"
Also in the photo is actor Jeff Richards, who was separated from his
wife and stayed with Rod in the Malibu house for a while.
Coincidentally, Jeff's real name was Taylor -- Richard Taylor -- but it
was changed when he signed with MGM in the late 1940s.
Here are a couple of other photos of the "Two Taylors": Rod and Jeff
Richards in the MGM commissary and on a fishing pier.
May 29, 2017
TCM has a lot of Rod Taylor on its schedule for the next couple of
months. But there's no bigger news than
Friday, Aug. 18 being Rod Taylor Day on TCM's annual Summer Under
the Stars lineup.
Here's the schedule (U.S. Eastern Time) for the big day:
Actress Dina Merrill shared the screen with Rod Taylor in sparkling
performances that spanned the decades. Merrill died May 22, 2017, at age
93. She was the daughter of Wall Street broker E. F. Hutton and cereal
heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. Despite this great fortune, she was
very much a working actress, appearing in scores of movies and TV shows
over more than a half a century.
Here are her appearances with Rod Taylor:
(1) Hong Kong, 1961:
Dina plays Glenn Evans' love interest of the week in the "Lady Godiva"
episode, and their chemistry is just about the best of the entire
series. A long-ago romance tries to rekindle, but danger, intrigue and
lively banter come first. You can read more about the episode on the "Hong
Kong" page and
view it on
(2) Family Flight, 1972:
Rod and Dina have a rockier time of it in their next outing. In this TV
movie, Rod plays a self-reliant pilot and Dina plays his longsuffering
wife. When disaster strikes, Dina displays an emotional arc from
brittle, helpless alcoholic to a woman determined to help her family
survive. She and Rod don't share many scenes together, but they are a
convincing couple, struggling to find their way. Read more at the
"Family Flight" page.
(3) The Point of Betrayal, 1995:
This independent movie features Rod and Dina as newlywed 60-somethings,
very much in love and full of life. Rod is a delight -- playful, fierce
and loving. The two enjoyed working together again, and they liked
working in South Florida. Rod seemed ready to move, and Dina had spent
much of her childhood there. See more at the "The
Point of Betrayal" page, and be sure to read the
the Set article (PDF) for interviews and a behind-the-scenes feel
for the film.
(4) Open Season, 1996:
Rod and Dina don't share any scenes in this independent film, but the
movie is worth noting. Although Dina's appearance is brief, Rod's role
is full of bluster and great humor. More at the
"Open Season" page.
May 17, 2017
TCM is showing the swashbuckling "Seven
Seas to Calais" on Thursday afternoon, May 18 (check
listings). I used this as a good excuse to update the "Seven Seas"
movie page, with an emphasis on the epic off-screen romance that sparked
between Anita Ekberg and Rod Taylor.
Read on >>
May 14, 2017
In observation of Mother's Day, I scanned and assembled some treasures
from my archives that feature Rod's mother, Mona Taylor.
Born in 1902 in the region around Hull and Grimsby in Lincolnshire,
England, Mona was a proper English lady. She immigrated to Australia
and, in 1928, she married Bill Taylor, a knockabout Aussie bloke. Their
personalities clashed, but they were married for 55 years. Bill died in
1983, and then Mona moved to California to live near Rod. She died in
Mona Taylor (née Thompson and also known as Mona Stewart Taylor) was a
writer of short stories, novels and poems. Here's one special item that
she penned: "A
Letter from Australia" (PDF) in the Rod-Lore fan newsletter of April
For more photos and information about Rod's mother and father, visit the
The page for "Dateline: San Francisco"
has been updated, after I was able to view the show via the Film and
Television Archives at UCLA. It was a high-quality TV pilot and would
have been a strong successor to "Hong Kong." But the fact that it wasn't
picked up as a series meant that Rod had a much bigger Big Screen
May 5, 2017
I've added a new page to the website -- "The
Golden Age of Television" -- with material courtesy of Ken Lynch, a
fan in Australia who has an awesome collection of old TV recordings. Ken
sent along a clip of the nostalgia show that featured an episode of
"Hong Kong." The host, David Lyle, colors his commentary with both
fondness and irony.
For those who may have missed it, Ken previously shared an audio
recording of a "Willesee" TV show from
1975. Thanks for the great gems!
May 2, 2017
Walk the red carpet with the filmmakers and friends at the Beverly Hills
Film Festival! A photo album of activities surrounding the screening
"Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches" is available at my
Facebook page. Feel free to Friend me while you're there!
May 1, 2017
The Rod Taylor documentary "Pulling
No Punches" was a winner at the Beverly Hills Film Festival!
The film won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the festival, which
ran April 26-30, 2017.
The Rod documentary screened on Thursday evening, April 27 at the TCL
Chinese 6 Theaters on Hollywood Boulevard. Yes, that's the famous
Grauman's Chinese movie palace!
Among the luminaries in attendance for the screening were:
Stephan Wellink, producer, whose steadfast
appreciation for Rod Taylor had its roots in childhood and
culminated in this splendid film.
Robert de Young, producer/director. Robert had
previously done films on Australian actors Errol Flynn and Peter
Finch, making his partnership with Stephan Wellink a perfect fit.
Simon Wellink, camera operator, sound engineer and
son of Stephan Wellink.
Nicholas Eddy, Rod's friend and attorney in
Australia, who also appears in the documentary.
Liz Ploger, a former MGM worker who was Rod's
publicist and fan club president in the 1960s as well as a longtime
Taylor family friend.
Diane Tomasik, yours truly, the creator and
keeper of this website. I received a "special thanks" credit in the
film and was thrilled to have been included in the festivities
surrounding the screening.
Feb. 1, 2015
Want to hear an hour-long discussion about Rod Taylor's life and career
from experts on the topic? Then have a listen to the second half of a
recent broadcast of an Australian Radio show,
Film Buff's Forecast, from Jan. 31, 2015.
Draw a circle around Taylor's career from 1955-65, and you
justifiably can rate that period with the heydays of any Australian
actor, before or since. His work during this time spanned almost every
genre: sci-fi ... horror ... animation ... drama ... breezy romantic
comedies ... and biopics.
Two months ago, I submitted his name to the Australian Academy of
Cinema and Television Arts — which celebrates our country's greatest
achievements in film and television — for its lifetime achievement
award. Because Rod Taylor was rarely mentioned in Australia when we
spoke of success stories. Because he was the son of a steelworker who
forged his way to Hollywood. Because he started his career near the
sprockets of a movie frame, then ended up front and center.
Jan. 8, 2015
The saddest of
news to report: Rod Taylor has died.
Liz Ploger, an
assistant to Rod in the 1960s, wrote to me today that Rod fell down about two
weeks ago and was hospitalized. He was able to return home, and he
subsequently had a heart
attack and died in his own bed.
Rod died at home on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, surrounded by his family
His daughter, Felicia said in a statement: "My dad loved his work. Being
an actor was his passion – calling it an honorable art and something he
couldn’t live without."
Rod Taylor participated in a rare autograph signing session on Jan. 31,
The OC Dugout, also known as Orange County Sportscards, held a private
autograph signing session with Rod, and the results are
posted at the ocsportscard store on eBay. The items are pricey but
beautiful! Below is one of the photos they took of Rod during his
Nov. 6, 2013
A rare treasure has surfaced from Down Under: A
13-minute interview with Rod Taylor from 1975, just after his appearance
on "This is Your Life."
Click here to read
about -- and more importantly -- listen to Rod's interview with Mike
This gem came to light recently when Australian fan
Ken Lynch found a box of reel-to-reel audio tapes of recordings he had
made off TV during the 1970s. He is converting the tapes to mp3 files,
and in the process, he discovered this Rod Taylor interview and sent it
along for sharing. Thank you, Ken!
Dec. 8, 2012
The Dec. 14 issue of Entertainment Weekly arrived yesterday, bearing a
surprise: A DVD "Cult Classic" review of
Dark of the Sun, giving it an
"A" and raving about the "rollicking red-meat adventure." The item
has special praise for "terrific Rod Taylor" who "oozes sweaty,
100-proof charisma." What a joy to see this praise in a major,
A scan of the review is below for your reading enjoyment:
March 28, 2012
Here's a link to a blog post from an Australian radio station in which
the author, Jim Schembri, praises his
top six Rod Taylor flicks. I highly recommend this snappy,
deliciously descriptive commentary.