Even though you don’t recognize his name, you do know Dub Taylor, who died on this day twenty-five year ago, in 1994. Taylor was a character actor whose career began in the 1940s, and his undeniable raffish charm led him to infamy, in part for playing ne’er-do-wells, buffoons, and drunkards. He was a staple of 1950s and ’60s westerns, and later of movies set in the South, including 1962’s Sweet Bird of Youth, 1970’s tick . . . tick . . . tick . . . and The Liberation of LB Jones, 1975’s Poor Pretty Eddie, 1976’s Gator, 1977’s Moonshine County Express, and 1981’s Soggy Bottom USA. Alongside Hal Smith, who played Otis the drunk in The Andy Griffith Show, Dub Taylor did a great deal to establish and perfect the modern TV-and-film caricature of the shiftless, carefree Southerner who was harmless but also useless. Dub Taylor was 87.
(Hal Smith also died in 1994, in January of that year. Smith’s career was mainly in TV, and in addition to Andy Griffith, he played on such Southern-ish programs as The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Gomer Pyle USMC, and Green Acres.)