Born in Freeport, Pennsylvania, Don Taylor studied law, then speech and drama at Penn State University, where as a freshman he began taking part in college stage productions. Hitchhiking to Hollywood in 1942, the youthful Taylor screen-tested at Warner Brothers but was rejected because of his draft status. MGM, not as fussy, signed him to a contract and immediately put him to work, assigning him the minuscule role of a soldier in director Clarence Brown’s sentimental slice of Americana, The Human Comedy (1943). More minor roles followed before Taylor enlisted in the Army; but even there he continued to act: Playwright/screenwriter Moss Hart chose him to play one of the leads in the United States Army Air Forces’ production of Hart’s play, “Winged Victory.” Taylor met his first wife, actress Phyllis Avery, when she was also in Winged Victory. Returning to civilian life, Taylor resumed his work in pictures with a top role in the trend-setting crime drama The Naked City (1948). In later years Taylor became a film and TV director, being nominated for an Emmy for his direction of an episode of The Farmer’s Daughter. Taylor met his second wife Hazel Court when he directed her in a 1958 episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955).
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