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Dub Taylor; Character Actor

October 05, 1994|MYRNA OLIVER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Dub Taylor, the grizzled character actor who appeared in about 500 Westerns and other films over six decades, including this summer's "Maverick," has died. He was 87.

The veteran actor died Monday night at Westlake Convalescent Hospital, his family said.

The Georgia-born Walter Clarence Taylor II began his career in vaudeville.

He made his film debut in the legendary Frank Capra's 1938 classic "You Can't Take It With You" and never looked back.

"I have just been lucky and I like people," Taylor mused in a 1992 Times interview. "I had one of the greatest directors start me off in the business. . . . I just loved him."

Taylor clearly enjoyed his work but never took himself or the film industry too seriously. "Acting," he once said, "is the most embarrassing business in the world. You never know when you're going to eat."

Although he was an avid hunter who frequently traveled to Mexico, Taylor often said he would never retire. "I can't retire," he said at age 84. "I got too many damn bills."

Often seen as a heavyset cowboy or hillbilly, Taylor portrayed Cannonball, the lovable sidekick of Western hero Bill Elliott in several feature films of the 1940s.

Some of his other memorable roles were Andy Griffith's father in "No Time for Sergeants" in 1968, the father of a gang member in "Bonnie and Clyde" in 1967 and the crotchety 80-year-old grandfather of John Cougar Mellencamp in "Falling From Grace" in 1992.

Taylor was described as "the glorious Dub Taylor" in a Times review of the recent "Maverick," starring Mel Gibson and James Garner and including a gallery of Western character actors.

A widower who lived in Woodland Hills, Taylor is survived by his son, actor Buck Taylor; daughter, Faydean Tharp, and several grandchildren.

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