We at the Goodman Theatre were saddened to learn of the death of actor Meshach Taylor from cancer on June 28. A much loved and highly respected mainstay of the Chicago theater community in the 1970s, Meshach created indelible performances at a variety of local theaters, among them the original Organic Theatre Company and the Goodman, where his performance in Sizwe Bansi is Dead in the 1977/1978 Season earned him a Jeff Award. His other Goodman appearances included Native Son in 1978 and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1985.
Born in Boston and raised in Indianapolis and New Orleans, Meshach began his acting career working with high school and community groups, then studied drama at Florida A&M University. After a brief career as a radio reporter, he was cast in his first major professional role, in the touring company of HAIR. In 1978 he moved to Los Angeles, appearing in guest roles on a number of series. His best-known television role was that of the jailbird-turned-assistant Anthony Bouvier on the series Designing Women, for which he received an Emmy nomination in 1989. He later appeared as a regular on the series Dave's World, as well as in a variety of films. His last stage appearance came in 1998 as Lumiere in the Broadway production of the musical Beauty and the Beast. He won additional acclaim for his final television role, as a Vietnam War veteran in the series Criminal Minds.
Meshach Taylor in the Goodman’s production of Native Son from the 1978/1979 Season.
Lionel Smith and Meshach Taylor in the Goodman’s production of Sizwe Bansi is Dead from the 1977/1978 Season.
Meshach Taylor in rehearsal for the Goodman’s production of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the 1984/1985 Season.