Meshach Taylor, who played a lovable ex-convict surrounded by boisterous Southern belles on the sitcom “Designing Women” and appeared in numerous other TV and film roles, died of cancer at age 67, his agent said Sunday.
Taylor died Saturday at his home near Los Angeles, according to agent Dede Binder.
Taylor got an Emmy nod for his portrayal of Anthony Bouvier on “Designing Women” from 1986 to 1993. Then he co-starred for four seasons on another successful comedy, “Dave’s World,” as the best friend of a newspaper humor columnist played by the series’ star, Harry Anderson.
Other series included the cult favorite “Buffalo Bill” and the popular Nickelodeon comedy “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide.”
Taylor’s movie roles included a flamboyant window dresser in the 1987 comedy-romance “Mannequin” as well as “Damien: Omen II.”
He guest starred on many series including “Hannah Montana,” “The Unit,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Barney Miller,” “Lou Grant,” “The Drew Carey Show,” and, in an episode that aired in January, “Criminal Minds,” which stars Joe Montegna, with whom Taylor performed early in his career as a fellow member of Chicago’s Organic Theater Company.
Taylor played the assistant director in “Buffalo Bill,” the short-lived NBC sitcom about an arrogant and self-centered talk show host played by Dabney Coleman. It lasted just one season, 1983-84, disappointing its small but fervent following.
Seemingly his gig on “Designing Women” could have been even more short-lived. It was initially a one-shot.
“It was for the Thanksgiving show, about halfway through the first season,” Taylor said. But producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason told him if the character clicked with audiences he could stay.
It did. He spun comic gold with co-stars Jean Smart, Dixie Carter, Annie Potts and Delta Burke, and never left.
Taylor is survived by his four children and his wife, Bianca Ferguson.