Rod Taylor dies

Star of The Birds was 84

by Jennie Kermode

Rod Taylor in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds
Rod Taylor in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds

He was the Sixties heartthrob who went on to become a character actor highly respected in the industry, a man who could blend so completely into a role that he gradually became invisible as a star but always delivered onscreen. Now Rod Taylor, best known for his role in The Birds, has died at the age of 84.

Also know for films like The Time Machine, Zabriskie Pointand, most recently, Inglourious Basterds, in which he played Winston Churchill, Taylor was born in Australia but made his home in Hollywood. A series of roles in westerns won him the respect of John Wayne, who called him "a true professional... and a great human being," but his real passion for playing complex characters in drama, and he often spoke about his great love for his work.

Described by co-star Tippi Hedren as "one of the most fun people I have ever met," he died, true to form, following a party. He is survived by his wife Carol Kikumura and by finance reporter Felicia Rodrica Sturt Taylor, his daughter from an earlier marriage.

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