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Rip Taylor

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Rip Taylor
RipTaylorNov10 (cropped).jpg
Taylor in 2010
Born
Charles Elmer Taylor Jr.

(1931-01-13)January 13, 1931
DiedOctober 6, 2019(2019-10-06) (aged 88)
Other namesCharles E. Taylor
OccupationActor, comedian
Years active1961–2019
Spouse(s)Rusty Rowe (div.)
Partner(s)Robert Fortney
Websiteriptaylor.com

Charles Elmer "Rip" Taylor Jr. (January 13, 1931 – October 6, 2019) was an American actor and comedian, known for his exuberance and flamboyant personality, including his wild moustache, toupee, and his habit of showering himself (and others) with confetti.[1][2] The Hollywood Reporter called him "a television and nightclub mainstay for more than six decades" who made thousands of nightclub and television appearances.[3]

Early life

Charles Elmer Taylor Jr. was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Elizabeth, a waitress, and Charles Elmer Taylor Sr., a musician.[4] As described in his 2010 one-man show It Ain't All Confetti, Taylor had a tough childhood, which included being molested while in foster care and having to deal with bullies in school.[1] As a teenager he attended Capitol Page School.[3] As a young man, Taylor worked as a congressional page before serving in the Korean War while in the U.S. Army Signal Corps.[1][5][6] Although assigned to the Corps, he was sent to Special Services, the entertainment wing of the military, where he performed for the troops in Tokyo and Korea.[3]

Career

Early career

Taylor's career in show business began when he joined the U.S. Army, where he started performing stand-up in clubs and restaurants abroad while also performing for the troops. After his military service, and back in the U.S., he focused on a nightclub career.[3] His mainstay material was "pantomiming records, his favorites were Yiddish folk songs and Spike Jones tunes."[3] He said that ended one day when the record player broke, "I haven't shut up since."[3] In the mid-1950s he worked the strip clubs all along the Eastern coast of the U.S.[3] Although a lot of his material were jokes stolen from acts he saw in USO shows, his first signature piece would be to pretend to cry as he begged the audience to laugh.[3] He found he could get a bigger response that way.[3] His bookings started to get more upscale and he played all over Miami Beach, Florida, which had become a winter destination for the wealthy.[3] Taylor was also a mainstay in the summer playground of the wealthy in the Catskills Mountains.[3] One night a booking agent of The Ed Sullivan Show caught his show, the comic spent a week's salary on champagne to get the audience boisterous, it got him on in 1961.[3] Taylor made close to twenty appearances, Sullivan would forget his name, but used to say "Get me the crying comedian."[7]

Television and film

In addition to the Ed Sullivan Show, Taylor appeared on The Jackie Gleason Show in several guest appearances during the 1963–1964 season as "the crying comedian".[8][9] Taylor's signature confetti tossing gag came from an appearance in the 1960s The Merv Griffin Show where he was bombing as a stand-up comedian.[3] "I did props and I was 'The Prop Comedian.' I was dying like hell on Merv Griffin's show. The jokes were dumb, and I tore the five by eight cards, threw them up in the air and it became confetti," he recalled. "I knocked over his desk, walked up the aisle, went to Sardi's and said, 'Well, that's the end of my television career.' I went home that night. Their switchboard had lit up. They said, 'Get the guy that went crazy!'"[3]

Taylor became somewhat of a fixture in Las Vegas, Nevada.[3] He was the opener for Eleanor Powell's dance-focused revue, and would go on to warm up audiences for headliners "Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Ann-Margret, Debbie Reynolds, Frankie Laine, Judy Garland and The Kingston Trio".[3] In the 1970s he won Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year three times.[3]

He appeared in two 1968 episodes of The Monkees as well as having a cameo in their 1969 special 33 13 Revolutions per Monkee.[10] He continued to work as a voice performer in the 1970s cartoon series Here Comes the Grump, as the title character,[11] and in the second edition of The Addams Family cartoon series in 1992, as the voice of Uncle Fester.[12]

Throughout the 1970s, Taylor was a frequent celebrity guest panelist on television game shows such as Hollywood Squares, To Tell the Truth, and The Gong Show, and substituted for Charles Nelson Reilly on Match Game. He became a regular on Sid and Marty Krofft's Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, playing Sheldon, a sea-genie who lived in a conch shell. In addition, Taylor was also a regular on The Brady Bunch Hour,[1] playing the role of neighbor/performer Jack Merrill. He also hosted a short-lived send-up of beauty pageants titled The $1.98 Beauty Show, created by Chuck Barris in 1978, producer/host of The Gong Show.[3] Taylor appeared as a celebrity on the 1990 version of Match Game.[citation needed] In 1979, he was the voice of C.J. from the Hanna-Barbera television movie Scooby Goes Hollywood.[citation needed] Taylor's other appearances also include The Kids in the Hall; referred to as Uncle Rip by Buddy Cole, the show's most flamboyantly gay character.[citation needed] He also appeared as himself in the movie Wayne's World 2, one of the special guests invited to "WayneStock" after being visited in a dream by Jim Morrison.[3] Taylor made "dozens of mayhem-filled appearances" on both The Tonight Show and The Mike Douglas Show.[3]

In 1990, he voiced the genie in DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp. Taylor appeared uncredited on a December 1994 edition of WWF Monday Night Raw to assist in a push being given to Jeff Jarrett.[13]

In 1997, Taylor appeared in a segment on the show Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction. He played the role of Elmo Middleton in the segment "The Man in the Model T". Also in 1997, he appeared as himself on the sitcom Brotherly Love in the episode "Easy Come Easy Go". He also portrayed Chief Undersecretary Wartle in the graphical adventure game Zork: Grand Inquisitor in 1997.[14] In 2003, Taylor also appeared as himself on Will & Grace. In 2005, he appeared as himself on an episode of George Lopez.[citation needed] Taylor guest-starred as chef "Rappin' Rip" in four episodes of Life with Bonnie.[3] He guest starred in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody episode "Loosely Ballroom" as Leo.[15] He is also in some episodes of The Emperor's New School as the voice of the Royal Record Keeper.[citation needed] He was also in the Jetix animated series Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!.[citation needed] He made a special guest appearance at the end of the 1,000th episode of G4's video game review show X-Play.[citation needed] He made a guest appearance on a 2012 episode of The Aquabats! Super Show!, where he played a genie reminiscent of his character on Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.[citation needed]

Taylor with actress Doris Roberts in 2010

In 1995, Taylor performed the intro for the Bloodhound Gang's Use Your Fingers album. In the early 2000s, Johnny Knoxville asked Taylor to be in the film Jackass: The Movie (2002).[16][17] and in the final scene of of the film, he was wielding a pistol that, when fired, released a sign that read "The End."[citation needed][a] He did the same thing at the ending of Jackass Number Two, and Jackass 3D.[citation needed] In the credits of the 2005 remake of The Dukes of Hazzard, Taylor shows up in the blooper reel.[citation needed]

Taylor made occasional appearances in movies, usually in broad comedies like The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington (1977)[18] and the R-rated Deep Throat parody Chatterbox (1977).[19] In Cheech & Chong's Things Are Tough All Over (1982), he picks them up in the middle of nowhere driving a convertible full of props.[citation needed] He then proceeds to drive them to Las Vegas and telling jokes the whole way and moving Chong to tears from laughter (and, later, tears because he won't stop).[citation needed] In Amazon Women on the Moon (1987) a funeral service turns into a celebrity roast when guest Rip Taylor shows up to "honor" the deceased.[citation needed] He was also in the 1990 summer movie DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp as the voice of Gene the Genie.[citation needed] In 1992, Taylor appeared in Tom and Jerry: The Movie (1992) as Captain Kiddle and in Wayne's World 2.[citation needed] In 1993's, Indecent Proposal he appeared as Demi Moore's boss, Mr. Langford.[20][21]

Live theater

Taylor's first big live show was in 1966, when he went on a tour with Judy Garland and Eleanor Powell in Las Vegas.[22] In 1981, Taylor appeared on Broadway when he replaced Mickey Rooney in the burlesque-themed musical comedy Sugar Babies.[23] He was a frequent co-star with Debbie Reynolds in her live shows in Las Vegas; Reno, Nevada; and Lake Tahoe. Taylor performed frequently in Atlantic City as well.[2] In 2010, he appeared in the one-man show It Ain't All Confetti in North Hollywood, where he shared personal stories about his life and career.[1]

Personal life and death

In 2005, Taylor appeared as the grand marshal of the Washington, D.C., Capital Pride parade.[24] When Taylor had been referred to as "openly gay"[25] in a 2009 interview for "Ask the Flying Monkey", Brent Hartinger recalled receiving an email from Taylor stating, "You don't know me to summarize I am openly gay. I don't know you're not an open heroin user. You see how that works? Think before you write." Taylor was married for a number of years to Las Vegas showgirl Rusty Rowe, whom he divorced in the early 1960s.[26][27][28]

Taylor was a close personal friend of entertainer Liberace, spent time with him, and knew him well.[29] Taylor cut the ribbon at the Las Vegas estate auction of Liberace's belongings and personal effects in 1988.[30]

At the time of Taylor's death, he had been in a long-term relationship with Robert Fortney.[31]

Taylor died on October 6, 2019, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, having been hospitalized after suffering an epileptic seizure the week prior.[31][32][33]

Notes

  1. ^ Taylor's section of the film Jackass: The Movie was originally considerably longer, and ended with him complaining about the heat, and fanning himself with his toupée. This footage was included on the DVD of the film.[citation needed]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Hernandez, Greg (May 24, 2010). "Rip Taylor's surprisingly serious 'It Ain't All Confetti' show gets a star-studded launch". Stage. GregInHollywood.com. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Taylor, Rip. "Phyllis Diller & Rip Taylor interview with Bill Boggs". Midday with Bill Boggs (Interview). Interviewed by Bill Boggs. YouTube.com.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Koseluk, Chris (October 6, 2019). "Rip Taylor, Flamboyant Comic and Host of 'The $1.98 Beauty Show,' Dies at 88". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
  4. ^ "Rip Taylor Biography (1934?-)". Filmreference. Retrieved October 18, 2010.
  5. ^ Associated Press (October 6, 2019). "Comedian Rip Taylor dies". KTLA. Los Angeles: Nexstar Media Group. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  6. ^ Berlage, Eliza (October 6, 2019). "Comedian Rip Taylor dead". Metro. London: DMG Media. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  7. ^ Scott, Vernon (August 26, 1992). "Rip Taylor, the carefree, be-wigged and maniacal confetti-tossing comedian". Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  8. ^ Erickson 2007, p. 99.
  9. ^ Inman 2005, p. 53.
  10. ^ Sandoval, Andrew. (2005). The Monkees : the day-by-day story of the '60s TV pop sensation. San Diego: Thunder Bay Press. ISBN 1592233724. OCLC 60692579.
  11. ^ Arnold, Mark. Think Pink: The Story of DePatie-Freleng. BearManor Media.
  12. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (October 6, 2019). "Rip Taylor Dies: Hollywood Icon Of Comedy And Camp". Deadline Hollywood. United States: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  13. ^ "WWE Raw Retro Coverage – December 19, 1994: Lex Luger vs. IRS, The Smoking Gunns, Jim Neidhart, Bob Holly, The Bushwhackers". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. December 21, 2015.
  14. ^ "Zork: Grand Inquisitor (Video Game 1997)". Internet Movie Database.
  15. ^ "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody – Season 2 Episode 25: Loosely Ballroom Online (2007)". TV Guide. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  16. ^ Duralde 2012, p. 66.
  17. ^ Cliver 2002, pp. 18–19.
  18. ^ Polmar, Brigette; Polmar, Norman (2010). Washington DC's Most Wanted™: The Top 10 Book of Tourist Treasures, Powerful Politicians, and Capital Wonders (1st ed.). Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-1597971508.
  19. ^ "Yes, It's a Real Movie!: Chatterbox (1977)". dailygrindhouse.com.
  20. ^ Goodall, Nigel (2000). Demi Moore - The Most Powerful Woman in Hollywood. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 978-1840182699.
  21. ^ Willis, John A. (2000). Screen World 1993. 44 (1st ed.). Lanham, Maryland: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. ISBN 978-1557831750.
  22. ^ "Rip Taylor". Biography. IMDB.com. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  23. ^ Dunning, Jennifer (June 29, 1981). "Rip Taylor barges in for Rooney". Retrieved August 23, 2015.
  24. ^ Koval, Steve (June 12, 2005). "Getting 'Ripped' at D.C. Pride". Washington Blade. Archived from the original on December 16, 2005.
  25. ^ Hartinger, Brent (May 20, 2009). "Ask the Flying Monkey". www.newnownext.com. NewNowNext. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  26. ^ "Rip Taylor Biography". www.filmreference.com. Film Reference. November 13, 2016. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  27. ^ Camille Saviola (May 20, 2010). "It Ain't All Confetti: Rip Taylor lets it rip". www.thisstage.la. This Stage Magazine. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  28. ^ "It ain't all confetti: Rip Taylor finds zaniness the key to a long career". www.newspapers.com. Asbury Park Press. February 22, 1987. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  29. ^ "Liberace's life: His friends reveal the humble, generous man behind the glitz and glamour". May 10, 2017.
  30. ^ Michelson, Jeffrey. "Rip Taylor says he's hot and happy Atlantic City". themorningcall.com.
  31. ^ a b Silverman, Hollie (October 6, 2019). "Rip Taylor, the confetti-tossing actor and comedian, is dead". CNN. Atlanta: WarnerMedia. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  32. ^ Vigdor, Neil (October 6, 2019). "Rip Taylor, Flamboyant Comedian, Is Dead at 88". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  33. ^ Nickolai, Nate (October 6, 2019). "Rip Taylor, 'King of Camp and Confetti' comedy host, dies". Variety. United States: Variety Media, LLC. (Penske Media Corporation). Retrieved October 6, 2019.

Sources

External links