Taylor Holmes (May 16, 1878 – September 30, 1959) was an actor who appeared in over 100 Broadway plays in his five-decade career. However, he is probably best remembered for his film roles, which he began in silent movies in 1917. In one of his earliest films, he starred in A Pair of Sixes (1918), produced by George K. Spoor.
Holmes was born on May 16, 1878, in Newark, New Jersey.
Holmes began his stage career in vaudeville and made his first professional appearance at Keith's Theatre in Boston in 1899. In 1900, Holmes appeared George Bernard Shaw's Candida in Chicago, the first production in the United States. Noted British theater critic William Archer saw the production and encouraged Holmes to go to London to further his career. Holmes sought out Archer in London some months later and joined the company founded by Olga Nethersole. He achieved only middling success before returning to the American stages.
He made his Broadway debut in February 1900 in the controversial play Sapho, which was briefly closed for indecency. Holmes played Rosencrantz with E. H. Sothern in a production of Hamlet and toured with Robert Edeson. He appeared in stage hits such as The Commuters, The Music Master, and His Majesty Bunker Bean.
Early film appearances included Efficiency Edgar's Courtship and Fools for Luck.
By the 1940s, he was working more on film than on stage. Holmes played a number of memorable roles, including the gullible millionaire conned in Nightmare Alley (1947), a shifty lawyer in Kiss of Death (1947), the Bishop of Avranches, who fiercely denounces Pierre Cauchon in the Ingrid Bergman Joan of Arc (1948), Marilyn Monroe's potential father-in-law in the 1953 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes ("I don't want to marry your son for his money, I want to marry him for your money!"), and the voice of King Stefan in Disney's animated feature Sleeping Beauty (1959) - Holmes' last credited screen role. He also played Ebenezer Scrooge in what is largely considered a notoriously bad (and cheaply made) half-hour television version of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, first telecast in 1949.
Only months after the release of his final film, Sleeping Beauty (1959), as King Stefan, Taylor Holmes died on September 30, 1959, at the age of 81.
He was married to actress Edna Phillips and was the father of actors Phillips Holmes, Madeleine Taylor Holmes, and Ralph Holmes.
- Efficiency Edgar's Courtship (1917) short
- Fools for Luck (1917)
- Two-Bit Seats (1917)
- The Small Town Guy (1917)
- Uneasy Money (1918)
- Ruggles of Red Gap (1918)
- A Pair of Sixes (1918)
- It's a Bear (1919)
- A Regular Fellow (1919) (*George Eastman preserved)
- Taxi (1919)
- Upside Down (1919)
- Three Black Eyes (1919)
- Nothing But the Truth (1920)
- The Very Idea (1920)
- Nothing But Lies (1920)
- Twenty Dollars a Week (1924)
- Her Market Value (1925)
- The Crimson Runner (1925)
- The Verdict (1925)
- Borrowed Finery (1925)
- One Hour of Love (1927)
- Should a Mason Tell? (1927) short
- Their Second Honeymoon (1927) short
- King Harold (1927) short
- Lovers' Delight (1929) short
- He Did His Best (1929) short
- Let Me Explain (1930) short
- Dad Knows Best (1930) short
- The Crime of Dr. Forbes (1936)
- Make Way for a Lady (1936)
- Boomerang (1947)
- Kiss of Death (1947)
- Nightmare Alley (1947)
- Smart Woman (1948)
- Act of Violence (1948)
- Joan of Arc (1948)
- Let's Live Again (1948)
- Once More, My Darling (1949)
- A Christmas Carol (1949)
- Woman in Hiding (1949)
- Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1950)
- Quicksand (1950)
- Bright Leaf (1950)
- Drums in the Deep South (1951)
- Two Tickets to Broadway (1951)
- Hold That Line (1952)
- Hoodlum Empire (1952)
- Beware, My Lovely (1952)
- Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
- The Outcast (1954)
- The Maverick Queen (1956)
- Sleeping Beauty (1959) (voice)
- "Taylor Holmes, Actor, Dies at 80". New York Times. October 2, 1959.
- Anna Morgan (1918). My Chicago. R. F. Seymour. pp. 73–74.
- W. J. Thorold; Arthur Hornblow; Perriton Maxwell; Stewart Beach (1910). Theatre Magazine. Theatre Magazine Company. p. 158.
- "When Taylor Holmes Went Abroad". Montreal Gazette. May 4, 1912.
- John Willis; Daniel Blum (1 June 1960). Screen World. Biblo & Tannen Publishers. p. 220. ISBN 978-0-8196-0301-2.
- The Christmas Carol (1949) - Review @ EOFFTV
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