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Rod Taylor, who died this week in Los Angeles at age 84, was one of Australia’s most successful film exports. His accomplishments can stand beside those of Tasmanian Errol Flynn in the 1930s and Geoffrey Rush of Queensland in the 2000s. Yet he was vastly under-appreciated in his home country.
Australians love it when one of their own succeeds in Hollywood, and they have even greater affection for them when they come home, returning to their roots.
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The Sydney native touched down in Hollywood in 1955 and didn’t make an Australia movie until 1977. Ironically, that was the nostalgic, 1920s-set The Picture Show Man, when he played a brash American silent film distributor determined to monopolize the industry in any way he could. Taylor, in fact, rarely played Australians.
Draw a circle around Taylor’s career from 1955-65, and you justifiably can rate that period with the heydays of any Australian actor, before or since.
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