Meshach Taylor, ground breaking actor on Designing Women, dies at age 67

Designing Women - Meschach Taylor, Annie Potts, Jean Smart, Delta Burke, Dixie Carter
Designing Women - Meschach Taylor, Annie Potts, Jean Smart, Delta Burke, Dixie Carter

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2014  – From 1986 to 1993, Anthony Bouvier (Meshach Taylor) offered a narration on Southern life in Atlanta, Georgia. True it was an idealized old Southern ways clashing with a modern world view, but Designing Women, the hit show starring Dixie Carter, Annie Potts, Delta Burke and Jean Smart, showed us a view of the old’ South meeting the new through its characters Julia and Suzanne Sugarbaker, Mary Jo Shively and Charlene Stillfield.

But when we watched we waited for those delightful observations – quips, remarks, and often veiled put downs – offered by Anthony, the eccentric assistant surrounded by the very vocal Southern belles of the show.  He provided the audience with on screen voice as to the craziness of a show that addressed racial equality.

Unfortunately the man that brought that character to life, transforming Designing Women into a must watch TV show, died late last night.

Meshach Taylor lost his battle with cancer at the age of 67.

“He was one of the good ones who was well respected in our community and rightly so,” said Dede Binder, Defining Artists Agency . “He was wonderful spirit full of life, and I had the honor of representing him. I know when people think of him, they smile.”

Designing Women was not the end of Taylor’s career.   Most recently the actor appeared on Criminal Minds in January of this year.  He was also a regular on Dave’s World and Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, both of which enjoyed multiple seasons on air.  Taylor was also a popular guest actor on shows as varied as The Drew Carey Show and Hannah Montana.

Meshach Taylor as Lumiere
Meshach Taylor as Lumiere

Other shows include Buffalo Bill, Barney Miller, Hill Street Blues, The Golden Girls, Cagney and Lacey and ALF.

Movie roles include Mannequin and Damien: The Omen Part II, his screen debut in 1978.  A native of Boston, Taylor’s career began in the early 1970s performing at the Chicago’s Goodman and Organic Theaters where he worked alongside noted actors such as Joe Mantegna and Dennis Franz.

The actor made his Broadway debut in 1998 playing the role of Lumiere in the musical Beauty and the Beast. Taylor was nominated for an Emmy for his work in Designing Women. Taylor was also an outgoing activist fighting for the rights of the LGBT community.

Meshach Taylor is survived by his wife, Bianca, four children and his mother. Taylor is the oldest of three children.

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