Taylor Holmes

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Taylor Holmes
Taylor Holmes 1919.jpg
Holmes in 1919
Born(1878-05-16)May 16, 1878
DiedSeptember 30, 1959(1959-09-30) (aged 81)
Resting placeHoly Cross Cemetery, Culver City
Years active1899–1959
SpouseEdna Phillips
Children3; including Phillips
Advertisement (1919)

Taylor Holmes (May 16, 1878 – September 30, 1959) was an American actor who appeared in over 100 Broadway plays in his five-decade career. However, he is probably best remembered for his screen performances, which he began in silent films in 1917. Among his earliest starring roles is in George K. Spoor's 1918 production A Pair of Sixes.

Early life[edit]

Holmes was born on May 16, 1878, in Newark, New Jersey.



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.[1]


Florence Shirley and Holmes in promotion for the 1916 Broadway play His Majesty Bunker Bean

Early film appearances included Efficiency Edgar's Courtship and Fools for Luck.[2]

By the 1940s, he was working more on film than on stage. Holmes played a number of memorable roles, particularly in film noir, including the gullible millionaire conned in Nightmare Alley (1947), a shifty lawyer in Kiss of Death (1947), and as Gavery, a reptilian disbarred lawyer in Act of Violence (1949). He is also recognized for playing 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 in which he replaced Hans Conried, who was the model reference for Stefan and recorded only a few additional dialogues. 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.[3] His final film was Sleeping Beauty (1959), as King Stefan.

Personal life[edit]

Holmes was married to actress Edna Phillips and was the father of actors Phillips Holmes, Madeleine Taylor Holmes, and Ralph Holmes.

Only months after the release of Sleeping Beauty Holmes died on September 30, 1959, at the age of 81.


Holmes has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His interment was is in Culver City's Holy Cross Cemetery.

Partial filmography[edit]




  1. ^ "Taylor Holmes, Actor, Dies at 80". New York Times. October 2, 1959.
  2. ^ John Willis; Daniel Blum (June 1, 1960). Screen World. Biblo & Tannen Publishers. p. 220. ISBN 978-0-8196-0301-2.
  3. ^ The Christmas Carol (1949) - Review @ EOFFTV

External links[edit]