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September 4, 2018

I've updated several pages throughout the site, so please visit the following if you haven't done so recently!

August 7, 2018

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 one."

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 selected.

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 Walk of Fame FAQs

July 31, 2018

Some of the "missing pieces" in the Rod Taylor collection are some of his earliest TV appearances. The five episodes that are part of Lux Video Theatre and Studio 57 may never surface, but you can read more about them on the following updated pages:

Another show on the Rod Taylor "want" list is "The Ordeal of Dr. Shannon," which was part of DuPont Show of the Week (1960). So far, the only way to view this gem is to travel to London or Washington, D.C., to view it in the archives of the BFI or Library of Congress. Until then, there are more photos and info on the on the DuPont Show of the Week page.

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.

Pulling No Punches main page // Pulling No Punches laurels page

July 12, 2018

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.

"Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches" was shown Feb. 25 and Feb. 26, 2018, during 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 true stories.

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 Q&A."

Leading up to the film festival, the following reviews from the UK praised the film:

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 way."

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!

Jan. 3, 2017

A DVD edition of "Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches" was released in Australia on Jan. 3, 2018. Umbrella Entertainment released a PAL-format DVD and also offers it On Demand. The film is also available from iTunes in Australia and New Zealand.

The filmmakers hope to report on releases in other regions in the near future.

Below is a preview of the cover, which lists a couple of extras:

  • 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

The "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 the screenings. 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 true stories.

Impact Docs Awards 2018
"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.

Burbank 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. 

Oniros Film Awards 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 2017
The Rod documentary earned one of the top prizes -- Award of Excellence: Special Mention -- in the season's IndieFEST judging, announced in August 2017. 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 accolades!

Gig Harbor Film Festival 2017
"Pulling 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 enthusiastic audience.

Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival: Award of Recognition for Best Documentary Feature, August 2017.

Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards: Award of Excellence, August 2017.

Atlanta Docufest: Semifinalist in the Atlanta International Documentary Film Festival 2017.

The Monthly Film Festival: Finalist for Best Feature Film among the nominees considered in September/October 2017.

Highlights of past updates:

June 22, 2017

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:

Aug. 18-19
6:00 a.m. - 36 Hours
8:00 a.m. - The Liquidator
10:00 a.m. - The Glass Bottom Boat
12:00 p.m. - The Time Machine
2:00 p.m. - Seven Seas to Calais
3:45 p.m. - Hotel
6:00 p.m. - Sunday in New York
8:00 p.m. - The Birds
10:15 p.m. - Dark of the Sun
12:15 a.m. - The Man Who Had Power Over Women
2:00 a.m. - Young Cassidy
4:00 a.m. - The Deadly Trackers

May 24, 2017

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 YouTube.

(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 On 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 1991.

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 1965.

  1963

  1963

  1976

For more photos and information about Rod's mother and father, visit the following pages:

Biography // This Is Your Life
And read The Book: Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood!

May 10, 2017

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 career.

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.

  • Stephen Vagg, the author of "Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood." He was a consultant on the film and appears on screen, bringing perspective to aspects of Rod's career.

  • 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.

Start at the 56:00 mark for the segment, which features a conversation with Steven Vagg, the author of "Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood" and Mark Hartley, an Australian filmmaker and director who interviewed Rod for the "Pulling No Punches" documentary.

I want to thank Stephen for telling the listeners about the "awesome" and "lovely" webmaster of this site at the end of the broadcast! I appreciate the sentiments and the shout-out.

Jan. 11, 2015

Today would have been Rod's 85th birthday.  The world has been celebrating his life and career this week upon the news of his passing.

Rod died at home on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, surrounded by his family and friends.

I want to thank all the fans who have left such lovely messages in the guestbook, and I encourage everyone to continue posting comments: Sign/read the guestbook.

I also am posting obits and tributes to Rod from major media outlets. It is so heartening to see the outpouring of love and appreciation for his talents, versatility and all-around goodness.

My favorite tribute so far is Rod Taylor: An Appreciation of the Under-Appreciated by Rhett Bartlett at the Hollywood Reporter site. Here are some excerpts, with some good news:

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 and friends.

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."

TCM has scheduled a five-film tribute to Rod Taylor on Jan. 29, starting at 8 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time. The featured films will be The Time Machine, The Birds, Sunday in New York, Young Cassidy and The Glass Bottom Boat.

Feb. 3, 2014

Rod Taylor participated in a rare autograph signing session on Jan. 31, 2014.

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 signing.

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 Willesee!

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, mass-audience publication!

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.

 

 

   

 

 

         
   

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