Vic Tayback

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Vic Tayback
Tayback in 1976
Born(1930-01-06)January 6, 1930
DiedMay 25, 1990(1990-05-25) (aged 60)
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park
Alma materGlendale Community College
Years active1955–1990
Known forAlice
The Love Boat
Sheila Maureen Barnard
(m. 1962)

Victor E. Tayback (January 6, 1930 – May 25, 1990) was an American actor. He is known for his portrayal as Mel Sharples in the television series Alice (1976–1985) and his appearances in The Love Boat (1977–1987). The latter earned him two consecutive Golden Globe Awards and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination.

Early life[edit]

Tayback was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Helen (née Hanood) and Najeeb James Tayback.[1] His parents were immigrants from Aleppo, Syria.[2] He moved with his family to Burbank, California during his teenage years and attended Burbank High School, from which he graduated in 1947. He also attended Glendale Community College and the Frederick A. Speare School of Radio and TV Broadcasting.


Tayback served in the United States Navy before beginning his acting career at the age of 25. A lifetime member of the Actors Studio,[3] he was a familiar face on television in the 1960s and 1970s, appearing on numerous series, including The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Star Trek, Bonanza, Here Come the Brides, That Girl , Gunsmoke, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Partridge Family, All in the Family, Fantasy Island, Columbo, and The Love Boat. He also appeared in many films such as Bullitt (1968), Papillon (1973), The Gambler (1974), The Cheap Detective (1978), and All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989), as well as more than 25 stage productions, including Twelve Angry Men, The Diary of Anne Frank, Death of a Salesman, and Brighton Beach Memoirs. He was the co-founder of the theater troupe Company of Angels.

Tayback's most famous role was diner owner Mel Sharples in both the film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974) and the television series Alice (1976–1985). He was the only actor in the original film to reprise his role for the rest of the series.[4] For the role, he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in 1978 and won two consecutive Golden Globe Awards in 1980 and 1981.

Personal life[edit]

Tayback was married to Sheila Maureen Barnard (1932–2001) from March 16, 1963, until his death on May 25, 1990. They had a son, Christopher (born 1963), who is a business trial lawyer and former prosecutor.


Tayback died of a heart attack at age 60 in Glendale, California on May 25, 1990.[5][6][7] He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills).



  • Alice (1976-1985) as Mel Sharples
  • Griff as Captain Barney Marcus. Series starred Lorne Greene in title role and Ben Murphy
  • Khan! as Lt. Gubbins
  • I Dream Of Jeannie as Turhan In the episode "This Is Murder"
  • Buckskin (Episode: "The Battle of Gabe Pruitt") – Claude
  • Alfred Hitchcock Presents (Episode: "A Man with a Problem") (1958) – Man Talking to Cabdriver
  • 77 Sunset Strip (1960) (Episode: Trouble in the Middle East) Bearded Rebel
  • Rawhide (Episode: "The Gray Rock Hotel") (1965) – Monte
  • F Troop (Episode: "Corporal Agarn's Farewell To The Troops") (1965) – Bill Colton
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (Episode: "The Re-Collectors Affair") (1965) – Sargent
  • Daniel Boone (Episode: "Onatha") (1966) – Hongas
  • Family Affair (Episode: 8 Season 1 "Who's Afraid of Nural Shpeni?") (1966) - Policeman
  • Gunsmoke (Episode: "Ladies From St. Louis") (1967) – Gaines
  • Get Smart (Episode: "Appointment in Sahara") (1967) – Jamal
  • The Monkees (Episodes: "Your Friendly Neighborhood Kidnappers", ) (1966–1967) George
  • The Monkees (1966) – Rocco in S1:E16, "Son of a Gypsy"
  • The Monkees (1967) – Chuche in S2:E5, "Art, for Monkees' Sake"
  • Here Come the Brides (recurring logger) (1968-1970)
  • Star Trek: The Original Series (Episode: "A Piece of the Action") (1968) – Jojo Krako
  • That Girl as Max . season 3, episode 12 (1968)
  • Lancer (Episode: "Devil's Blessing") (1969) - Porter
  • The Bill Cosby Show (Episode: "The Fatal Phone Call") (1969) - Calvin
  • Bonanza (Episode 358 "Caution, Easter Bunny Crossing". Season 11 Episode 25) (1970) - Everett Gaskell
  • The Partridge Family (Episode: Danny & The Mob) 1971
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show (Episode: "Second Story Story") (1971) – Officer Jackson
  • Bewitched (Episode: "The Good Fairy Strikes Again") (1971) – Officer #1
  • Columbo (Episode: "Suitable for Framing") (1971) – Sam Franklin
  • The F.B.I. (Episode: "The Natural") (1971) - Ed Larch
  • The F.B.I. (Episode: "Dark Journey") (1972) - Neil Parks
  • Gunsmoke (Episode: "The Fugitives S18E7") (1972)- Bill Hankins
  • Arnie (Episode: "Boom or Bust") (1972) – Sergeant
  • The Bold Ones: The New Doctors (Episode: "Is This Operation Necessary?") (1972) – Frank Wells
  • Emergency! (Episode: "Boot") (1973) – truck driver.
  • All in the Family (Episode: "Et Tu, Archie?") (1974) – Joe Tucker
  • Barney Miller (Episode: "Stakeout", "The Social Worker") (1975) – Mr. Savocheck / master forger
  • The Practice (Episode: "The Choice") (1976) – Frankie Nyles
  • Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (Episode: 29, Season: 1) (1976)
  • Hawaii Five-O (Episode: "Bones of Contention" ; "Angel in Blue") (1975–1978) – Martin Lynch / Parmel
  • The Eddie Capra Mysteries (Episode: "How Do I Kill Thee?") (1978) – Logan
  • $weepstake$ (Episode: "Billy, Wally and Ludmilla, and Theodore") (1979) – Sgt. Yarbrough
  • The Love Boat (Episode: "Friends & Lovers; Sergeant Bull; Miss Mother") (1980) – Sgt. Harry Beluski
  • Flo (Episode: "What Are Friends For?") (1981) – Mel Sharples
  • Fantasy Island (1979–1983, Multiple) – George Walters / Norman Atkins / Chet Nolan / Melvyn Mews
  • T. J. Hooker (Episode: "Hooker's War") (1982) – Lt. Pete Benedict
  • Hotel (Episode: "Relative Loss") (1983) – Wallace Egan
  • Finder of Lost Loves (Episode: "Maxwell Ltd: Finder of Lost Loves Pilot") (1984) – Thomas Velasco
  • Murder, She Wrote (Episode: "One Good Bid Deserves a Murder") (1986) – Sal Domino
  • Crazy Like a Fox (1986)
  • The Love Boat (1977–1987, Multiple) – Himself / Jack Hamilton / Shelley Sommers / 'Dutch' Boden / Sgt. Harry Beluski / Harry Stewart
  • Adderly (1987) – Gregorin
  • Tales from the Darkside (Episodes: "The New Man", (as Alan Coombs) Season 1, 1984, and "Basher Malone" (as Tippy Ryan) Season 4, 1988)
  • MacGyver (1990, Episode: "Jenny's Chance") – George Henderson (final television appearance)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1978 30th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Alice Nominated
1980 37th Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series Won
1981 38th Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Television Film Won
1982 39th Golden Globe Awards Nominated


  1. ^ "Vic Tayback Biography (1930-1990)". Film Reference. Retrieved May 6, 2011.
  2. ^ "TV'S 'Mel' Dies Of Heart Attack". News & Record. Greensboro, NC. May 25, 1990. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
  3. ^ Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan. p. 280. ISBN 978-0-0254-2650-4.
  4. ^ Diane Ladd joined Alice mid-series playing a different character and Alfred Lutter reprised his film role as Tommy for the pilot episode only .
  5. ^ Oliver, Myrna (May 26, 1990). "Vic Tayback; Actor Best Known as Mel in 'Alice' TV Series". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  6. ^ "Vic Tayback Dies; Actor, 60, Was Mel In the 'Alice' Series". The New York Times. May 26, 1990. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  7. ^ "Vic Tayback, Who Played Mel In 'Alice' TV Series, Dies". The Washington Post. May 26, 1990. Retrieved July 3, 2020.

Further reading[edit]

Putt, Jr., Barry M. (2019). Alice: Life Behind the Counter in Mel's Greasy Spoon (A Guide to the Feature Film, the TV Series, and More). Albany, Georgia: BearManor Media. ISBN 978-1629334264.

External links[edit]