Kent Taylor

Kent Taylor (born Louis William Weiss; May 11, 1907 – April 11, 1987) was an American actor of film and television. Taylor appeared in more than 110 films, the bulk of them B-movies in the 1930s and 1940s, although he also had roles in more prestigious studio releases, including Merrily We Go to Hell (1932), I'm No Angel (1933), Cradle Song (1933), Death Takes a Holiday (1934), Payment on Demand (1951), and Track the Man Down (1955). He had the lead role in Half Past Midnight in 1948, among a few others.

Kent Taylor
Taylor in Washington Melodrama (1941)
Louis William Weiss

(1907-05-11)May 11, 1907
DiedApril 11, 1987(1987-04-11) (aged 79)
Burial placeWestwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles
Years active19311974
Augusta Kulek Taylor
(m. 1930; his death 1987)

Early years

Kent Taylor was born Louis William Weiss[1]on May 11, 1907 to a Jewish family[2] in Nashua, Iowa, Taylor moved with his family to Waterloo, Iowa, when he was 7. He worked at a variety of jobs after high school,[3] and for two years he studied engineering at the Darrah Institute of Technology in Chicago. He and his family moved to California in 1931.[4]


With no prior professional acting experience, Kent began working as a film extra in 1931 on the advice of a friend who said he had the right looks for "a good screen type." Prior to background work, he was co-operator of an awning service shop with his father. After a few very minor extra roles in films such as Kick In (1931), he was called in "to try out a new camera idea;" a silent sequence was shot using Taylor and Claire Dodd, who was by then an established player at Paramount. The test led to Taylor being offered a contract with Paramount, which he signed on July 11, 1931.[5]

In 1951-1952, with his movie career on the decline and television production on the upswing, he played the title role in 58 episodes of the detective series Boston Blackie[6] and the lead, as Captain Jim Flagg, in ABC's The Rough Riders,[7] an adventure series about three soldiers, two Union and one Confederate, traveling together through the American West after the Civil War. The Rough Riders aired thirty-nine episodes from 1958 to 1959.

Other minor screen credits include My Little Margie, Tales of Wells Fargo, Zorro, Riverboat, The Rifleman, Tombstone Territory, Sugarfoot, Bat Masterson, Laramie, Mr. Lucky, Tightrope, Peter Gunn, Hawaiian Eye, The Brothers Brannagan, The Ann Sothern Show, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

He starred in the 1962 film The Broken Land with Jack Nicholson and Diana Darrin. The last years of his career were spent in low budget biker and horror films such as Brides of Blood (1968), Satan's Sadists (1969), The Mighty Gorga (1969), Brain of Blood (1971), Blood of Ghastly Horror (1972), Angels' Wild Women (1972), and Girls for Rent (1974).

Along with Clark Gable, Kent Taylor served as the inspiration behind the name of Superman's alter-ego Clark Kent.[8]


Taylor died on April 9, 1987 at age 79, at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, of complications during heart surgery.[9][4]

Selected filmography


  1. Brode, Douglas (2010). Shooting Stars of the Small Screen: Encyclopedia of TV Western Actors, 1946–Present. University of Texas Press. p. 312. ISBN 9780292783317. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  2. Cones, John. Motion Picture Biographies: The Hollywood Spin on Historical Figures. p. 37. ISBN 9781628941166.
  3. Slott, Jon (December 8, 1935). "Screen Test---the Ordeal of Filmland". Oakland Tribune. California, Oakland. p. 80. Retrieved January 9, 2017 via
  4. Aaker, Everett (2006). Encyclopedia of Early Television Crime Fighters. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6409-8. Pp. 545-547.
  5. Kent Taylor, Extra, Boy, Wins Paramount Contract for Favor. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 11, 1931; accessed November 29, 2014.
  6. Erickson, Hal (1989). Syndicated Television: The First Forty Years, 1947-1987. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 0-7864-1198-8. P. 21.
  7. Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. P. 912.
  8. Gross, John (December 15, 1987). "Books of the Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
  9. "Kent Taylor Dies; TV's 'Boston Blackie' Also Starred in Many Movies". 13 April 1987 via LA Times.
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