Taylor Mead

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Taylor Mead
Born December 31, 1924
Grosse Pointe, Michigan, U.S.A.
Died May 8, 2013(2013-05-08) (aged 88)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
Occupation Actor, writer, performer

Taylor Mead (December 31, 1924 – May 8, 2013) was an American writer, actor and performer. Mead appeared in several of Andy Warhol's underground films filmed at Warhol's Factory, including Tarzan and Jane Regained... Sort of (1963) and Taylor Mead's Ass (1964).

Career[edit]

Born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and raised by wealthy parents,[1] he appeared in Ron Rice's beat classic The Flower Thief (1960), in which he "traipses with an elfin glee through a lost San Francisco of smoke-stuffed North Beach cafes.. ."[2] Film critic P. Adams Sitney called The Flower Thief "the purest expression of the Beat sensibility in cinema." Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman called Mead "the first underground movie star."[3]

In 1967 Taylor Mead played a part in the surrealistic play Desire Caught by the Tail by Pablo Picasso when it was set for the first time in France at a festival in Saint-Tropez, among others with Ultra Violet.

In the mid-1970s, Gary Weis made some short films of Mead talking to his cat in the kitchen of his Ludlow Street apartment on Manhattan's Lower East Side called Taylor Mead's Cat. One film of Mead extemporizing on the virtues of constant television watching aired during the second season of Saturday Night Live.

In 1995 Mead spent eight hours a day for a week at the Bon Temps bar, New Orleans, being documented in the photobooth costumed as a series of Warholian characters for Blake Nelson Boyd's documentary Photobooth Trilogy. Characters included Superman and Mickey Mouse from Warhol's Myth series and references to Mead's performances in Lonesome Cowboys and Nude Restaurant.

While living on Ludlow Street, Mead read his poetry regularly at The Bowery Poetry Club. His last book of poems (published by Bowery Poetry Books) is called A Simple Country Girl.[4] He was the subject of a documentary entitled Excavating Taylor Mead, which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2005. The film shows him engaging in his nightly habit of feeding stray cats in an East Village cemetery after bar-hopping, and features a cameo by Jim Jarmusch, in which Jarmusch explains that once, when Mead went to Europe, he enlisted Jarmusch's brother to feed the cemetery cats in Mead's absence.

Mead appeared in the final segment of Jarmusch's 2003 film Coffee and Cigarettes. He has been "a beloved icon of the downtown New York art scene since the 60s."[5]

Following Mead's displacement from Ludlow Street he lived with his niece, Priscilla Mead, in Denver and was planning to return to New Orleans May 21 for several months.[6] Mead was to prepare for the White Linen Night opening of his exhibition at the Boyd Satellite Gallery, Julia Street.[7]

Death[edit]

Mead died on May 8, 2013 in Denver, Colorado, having moved from his Ludlow Street apartment in Manhattan early in April, receiving a settlement from his landlord to move out, "after many years of a dispute with his landlord".[8][9] He was 88.[10]

Filmography[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]