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Why Rod Taylor?

Thanks go to Ray Cunneff, a longtime fan who helped put into words the appeal of Rod Taylor and the reason for this Web site:

What is it about Rod Taylor? Why among so many other actors and movie stars does Rod's work resonate in a special, deeply personal way?

I've been asking myself that question since "Hong Kong" in 1960. And now, I find there are many other longtime fans and admirers all over the world. Most amazing of all is to learn that a whole new generation of fans is only just discovering him.

For me, he is one of the most watchable actors ever on screen. He's got something going on in every scene, every moment. He's this strapping hunk of a man who can be incredibly violent and incredibly tender. Comedy as well as drama, he's "alive" in every scene -- a leading man who's not afraid to look ridiculous.

Taylor is not classically handsome, yet his face comes together so strikingly and expressively. His voice proves a surprisingly rich and multilayered instrument. And underscoring every performance is an incredible "physicality" -- a body language and grace of motion that separates him from virtually every other actor.

For a broad-shouldered, muscular man he's never stiff or hulking. At times, he moves almost like a dancer. Yet there is that distinctly masculine swing of the arms, the swagger that is uniquely Rod Taylor.

Nobody has ever put it all together in quite the same way. More than fine performances, he gave a generation of men and women an image of what a real man might be.

Why Rod Taylor? Because there's nobody else like him. And he's never gotten the credit he deserves.



There's a scene in "The Liquidator" where Trevor Howard as Mostyn finally explains that Boysie Oakes is expected to kill for Queen and country. Watch the arc of Rod's performance -- listening, reacting, alternately poignant and funny and finally explosive. These are two fine actors at the top of their game.

-- Ray Cunneff