Taylor Holmes (Taylor Holmes)

Taylor Holmes

Taylor Holmes was born on May 16, 1878, in Newark, New Jersey. Holmes began his stage career in vaudeville and made his first professional appearance at Keith’s Theatre in Boston in 1899. In 1900, Holmes appeared George Bernard Shaw’s Candida in Chicago, the first production in the United States. Noted British theater critic William Archer saw the production and encouraged Holmes to go to London to further his career. Holmes sought out Archer in London some months later and joined the company founded by Olga Nethersole. He achieved only middling success before returning to the American stages. He made his Broadway debut in February 1900 in the controversial play Sapho, which was briefly closed for indecency. Holmes played Rosencrantz with E. H. Sothern in a production of Hamlet and toured with Robert Edeson. He appeared in stage hits such as The Commuters, The Music Master, and His Majesty Bunker Bean. Early film appearances included Efficiency Edgar’s Courtship and Fools for Luck.

By the 1940s, Taylor Holmes was working more on film than on stage. Holmes played a number of memorable roles, including the gullible millionaire conned in Nightmare Alley (1947), a shifty lawyer in Kiss of Death (1947), the Bishop of Avranches, who fiercely denounces Pierre Cauchon in the Ingrid Bergman Joan of Arc (1948), Marilyn Monroe’s potential father-in-law in the 1953 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (“I don’t want to marry your son for his money, I want to marry him for your money!”), and the voice of King Stefan in Disney’s animated feature Sleeping Beauty (1959) – Holmes’ last credited screen role. He also played Ebenezer Scrooge in what is largely considered a notoriously bad (and cheaply made) half-hour television version of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, first telecast in 1949. Only months after the release of his final film, Sleeping Beauty (1959), as King Stefan, Taylor Holmes died on September 30, 1959, at the age of 81. He was married to actress Edna Phillips and was the father of actors Phillips Holmes, Madeleine Taylor Holmes, and Ralph Holmes. Taylor Holmes has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His interment was is in Culver City’s Holy Cross Cemetery.

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  • May, 16, 1878
  • USA
  • Newark, New Jersey


  • September, 30, 1959
  • USA
  • Los Angeles, California


  • Holy Cross Cemetery
  • Culver City, California
  • USA

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