A Taylor-Made Career

 
 

Taylor flew back and forth for awhile, doing small roles in film, television and theater, but finally moved to L.A. permanently in the late 70s when she landed a recurring role on CBS crime drama The Edge of Night (1977-78, 80) and then a major role in 1980 on Bosom Buddies, the cross-dressing ABC sitcom starring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari.

When Buddies folded after two seasons, she did a stint on All My Children (1981-82), and then began to get an increasing number of movie roles, in films like Romancing the Stone (1984), To Die For (1995), The Truman Show (1998), Keeping the Faith (2000), Legally Blonde (2001), and Spy Kids 2 and 3 (2002, 2003).

Taylor in Legally Blonde

She garnered more critical acclaim for her performance as Nancy Reagan in the Showtime movie The Day Reagan was Shot (2001), and landed recurring roles on the Tea Leoni-led sitcom The Naked Truth (1995-98) and Two and a Half Men (2003). While juggling her role on Men, Taylor also filmed D.E.B.S. and Wedding Date.

Now, after decades of hard work, Taylor is finally at a place where she can be more selective about the roles she takes on.

"It took a long time to get to the place in my career where I could pick and choose what I wanted to do it," she says. "For a long time I pretty much had to take whatever job was coming along."

Taylor doesn't have many regrets about her career. "I think I handled each transition as well as I could," she says reflectively. "I do think I expected my career to put me in a different position much earlier. A number of things that I was in were wonderful, but were not recognized as wonderful at the time. I did a fantastic Normal Lear series, Powers That Be, which some people felt, had it been recognized by NBC for what it was, certainly would have made a very big impact on my career. I’ve been in different plays that I felt were extraordinary opportunities. Even Bosom Buddies, I thought would have a bigger impact on my career."

Taylor with Hanks and Scolari in Bosom Buddies

"I think, like most actors, I wonder what could have been," Taylor continues, "but I always reassure myself, 'how could you possibly know?' You can't second-guess yourself. You just have to say 'that's the way it turned out.'"

Not that Taylor has much time for second guessing herself these days: in addition to her busy film and television schedule, she is finishing her second year of a two-year course at the University of Santa Monica for a degree in Spiritual Psychology. "It's a lot of work," she admits. "Writing papers, attending a lot of classes — it's been hard, and I haven't had much of a social life for two years. But I'm very much looking forward to the third act of my life, and I want my master's."

Taylor's third act is all about getting back to her first love: theater.

So she is making plans to begin dividing her time between New York and L.A. again, just as she did forty years ago. "I expect to be much more active in the next four years then I ever have been," Taylor says. "I can go back and forth now with more ease, and I don't have to worry about every job paying."

Taylor's career, like roles for women in Hollywood, may finally be coming full circle.

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