Dub Taylor

Walter Clarence Taylor Jr. (February 26, 1907 – October 3, 1994), known as Dub Taylor, was an American character actor who from the 1940s into the 1990s worked extensively in films and on television, often in Westerns but also in comedies.

Dub Taylor
Dub Taylor as Ivan Moss in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde
Walter Clarence Taylor Jr.

(1907-02-26)February 26, 1907
DiedOctober 3, 1994(1994-10-03) (aged 87)
Years active1938–1994
Spouse(s)Florence Gertrude Heffernan (1930-1987) (her death)

Early life

Walter C. Taylor Jr. was born in 1907 in Richmond, Virginia, the middle child of five children of Minnie and Walter C. Taylor, Sr.[1] According to the federal census of 1920, young Walter had two older sisters, Minnie Marg[aret] and Maud, a younger brother named George, and a little sister, Edna Fay.[1] The family moved to Augusta, Georgia around 1912 when Walter was five years old, and the Taylors lived in this city until he was 13. The census of 1920 also documents that Dub's mother was a native of Pennsylvania and his father was a native of North Carolina, who worked in Augusta at that time as a "Cotton Broker".[1] While living in Georgia as a boy, Walter, Jr., got his lifelong nickname when his friends began calling him "W" (double-u) and then shortened his nickname even farther, to just "Dub".[2] It was in Georgia, too, where Taylor befriended Ty Cobb, Jr., the son of the legendary professional baseball player.[2]


A vaudeville performer, Dub Taylor was a member of the 1937 Alabama Crimson Tide football team that played in the 1938 Rose Bowl. He stayed behind to establish a career in films, making his film debut in 1938 as the cheerful ex-football captain Ed Carmichael in Frank Capra's You Can't Take It with You. Taylor secured the part because the role required an actor who could also play the xylophone. Later, during the 1950s and early 1960s, he demonstrated his considerable talent for playing the xylophone on several television shows, including an episode on the syndicated series Ranch Party hosted by Tex Ritter.[3]

In 1939, he appeared in the film Taming of the West, in which he originated the character of Cannonball, a role he continued to play for the next ten years, in over 50 films. Cannonball was a comic sidekick to Wild Bill Saunders (played by Bill Elliott), a pairing that continued through 13 features, during which Elliott’s character became Wild Bill Hickok.

During this period, a productive relationship with Tex Ritter as Elliott's co-hero began with King of Dodge City. This partnership lasted through 10 films, but Taylor, as Cannonball, left after the first one, raking his Cannonball character to a new series with Russell "Lucky" Hayden. Wild Bill then brought in Frank Mitchell to play a very different character, also named Cannonball, for the remainder of his shows with Ritter.

Taylor moved again to a series of films starring Charles Starrett, who eventually became The Durango Kid, once again playing his sidekick Cannonball. These films had been produced at Columbia Pictures, Capra's home studio, and had a certain quality of production that seemed to be lacking at the Monogram lot, where Taylor brought his Cannonball character in 1947. There he joined Jimmy Wakely for a two-year run of 16 additional films. These final episodes may have been unpleasant experiences for Taylor, for he never wanted to talk about them thereafter. After 1949, Taylor turned from Cannonball and embarked on a more varied acting career.

His roles, even during his Cannonball period, were not confined to the aforementioned films. He had bit parts as well in a number of classic motion pictures, including Mr. Smith Goes to Washington with James Stewart, A Star Is Born, and Them!, and dozens of television roles. Taylor was cast regularly between 1957 and 1958 alongside Alan Hale, Jr. (later the Skipper on Gilligan's Island) in the syndicated Casey Jones TV series, in the role of Jones' fireman, Wallie Sims.[4]

Observant fans who saw the 1954 feature film Dragnet watched him in an uncredited role at the start of the movie; his character, gangster Miller Starkie, is killed in the opening scene. He had a small role in the 1958 Walt Disney film Tonka as a rustler of stray horses for sale. The same year, Taylor performed in a brief role in No Time for Sergeants as the representative of the draft board that previously summoned Will Stockdale (Andy Griffith) from his rural home in Georgia to the United States Air Force.[5] Dub later joined Sam Peckinpah's stock company in 1965's Major Dundee, playing a professional horse thief, and he appeared subsequently in that Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch (as a prohibitionist minister who gets his flock shot by the title outlaws in the film's infamous opening scene), Junior Bonner, The Getaway, and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid as an aging, eccentric outlaw friend of Billy. He also appeared in Michael Cimino's crime film Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.[6] Taylor played Ivan Moss, the father of Michael J. Pollard's character, C. W. Moss, in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde.

Despite his extensive career as a character actor in a wide range of roles, Dub Taylor continued to find his niche in Westerns, a genre in which he performed in literally dozens of more films and in episodes of many television series. Taylor often appeared in the guise of talkative hotel or postal clerks, court bailiffs, cooks, or dissolute doctors. He portrayed, for example, an ill-tempered chuckwagon cook in the 1969 film The Undefeated, starring John Wayne and Rock Hudson. He appeared as well in the 1971 movie Support Your Local Gunfighter as the drunken Doc Shultz.[7] Earlier, in the 1950s, he guest-starred three times on the syndicated series The Range Rider, starring Jock Mahoney and Dick Jones. He appeared in the 1955 episode "The Outlander", the fifth episode of Cheyenne, starring Clint Walker, the first hour-long Western on the networks. He then appeared in the 1960s on other Westerns, such as in the episode "Chicken Bill" on the syndicated series Death Valley Days in which he played the Colorado silver miner "Chicken Bill" Lovell[8] He also performed on NBC's series Laredo and guest-starred on NBC's The High Chaparral.

In other genres on television, Taylor performed in two episodes of the anthology series The Lloyd Bridges Show (1962–1963), appearing in the episodes "My Child Is Yet a Stranger" and "The Tyrees of Capital Hill". Taylor also appeared on several occasions on The Andy Griffith Show, first as the preacher who marries Charlene Darling to Dud Wash, then as postmaster Talbert, and next as the brother-in-law of town handyman Emmett Clark, who convinces Emmett to give up his shop and sell insurance for a living. Taylor performed too on other sitcoms, including Hazel with Shirley Booth. His character Mitch Brady, owner of a local cab company and a frequent boyfriend of Hazel. He was cast with Lucille Ball in an episode of I Love Lucy and guest-starred on The Brian Keith Show and in a fourth-season episode of The Cosby Show. He played in the 1961 Perry Mason episode 'The Case of the Grumbling Grandfather'.

Taylor played Houston Lamb over the course of four episodes of Little House On The Prairie in seasons six and seven (1979 to 1981). His later years on television were consumed by his weekly appearances on the long-running country music/comedy show Hee Haw. Taylor's participation lasted six seasons, from 1985 to 1991, where he was mostly seen as a regular in the Lulu's Truck Stop skit featuring Lulu Roman and Gailard Sartain. Taylor appeared in several episodes of Designing Women as a rustic who becomes enamored of the women from Sugarbaker's during a camping expedition. Taylor made at least two film cameos in the early 1990s. In Back to the Future Part III, he appeared with veteran Western actors Pat Buttram and Harry Carey Jr.. His last appearance was in the film Maverick as a hotel room clerk.

Starting in the late 1970s Taylor appeared in a series of western style commercials for Hubba Bubba bubble gum.[9]

In 1994, he appeared in a commercial for Pace Foods, performing as one of four participants in a fair's "Dip-Off" contest, where he and two other competitors use their "secret ingredient" of Pace Picante Sauce in their dips. When the fourth participant holds up a jar of "Mexican Sauce" as a "secret ingredient ... That stuff's made in New York City!", causing his competitors to shout "NEW YORK CITY?!" and all three give the "Mexican Sauce" user the rough treatment.[10]

Taylor’s last film role was in Maverick, released in May 1994, five months before his death. Despite there being large number of cameo appearances by Western film actors, country music stars and other actors, and even though he had only a fleeting appearance as an unnamed “Room Clerk”, Taylor’s name is one of only 10 to appear in the opening credits of the film.


Dub Taylor died of a heart attack on October 3, 1994 in Los Angeles. He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered near Westlake Village, California. Taylor was survived by his two children, son Buck Taylor and daughter Faydean Taylor Tharp.


In early 2006, filmmaker Mark Stokes began directing a feature-length documentary on the life of Dub Taylor, That Guy: The Legacy of Dub Taylor, which has received support from the Taylor Family and many of Dub's previous co-workers, including Bill Cosby, Peter Fonda, Dixie Carter, John Mellencamp, Don Collier, and Cheryl Rogers-Barnett. The project is from executive producers Stokes and James Kicklighter from JamesWorks Entertainment and Professor Pauper Productions.

Selected filmography




  1. "The Fourteenth Census of the United States: 1920", enumeration date January 15, 1920, Augusta City, Richmond County, Georgia. Digital copy of original census page, FamilySearch. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  2. "Dub Taylor: Movie and TV Star". The Augusta Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-02-06.
  3. A video of "Cannonball Taylor" playing the xylophone on Ranch Party, ca. 1957; uploaded by GatorRock788, YouTube, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., Mountain View, California. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  4. "Casey Jones", 1957-1958. Internet Movie Database (IMDb), a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Seattle, Washington. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  5. No Time For Sergeants, cast and crew, American Film Institute (AFI), Los Angeles, California. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  6. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, cast and crew, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), Turner Broadcasting System, subsidiary of Time Warner, New York, N.Y. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  7. "Dub Taylor: Complete Filmography", including identifications of Taylor's characters in his films, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), Turner Broadcasting System, a division of Time Warner, Inc., New York, New York. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  8. ""Chicken Bill" on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  9. Hubba Bubba#cite note-3
  10. Pace Picante commercial (1994) on YouTube
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