Actor Rod Taylor, most recognizable as Mitch Brenner from Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and as "H. George Wells" from the 1960 film version of The Time Machine, has passed away from natural causes. He was 84.
The Australian-born Taylor had a career spanning decades, most recently appearing in Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds as Winston Churchill. He appeared in over fifty movies and dozens of TV shows, with a list of credits that's impossible to narrow down — Sunday in New York, Chuka, The Twilight Zone, Murder She Wrote, and on and on. But I'll bet that for a lot of us, the first time we actually heard from Taylor, it was as Pongo in Disney's 101 Dalmatians.
His Birds co-star Tippi Hedren reacted to his passing in a statement:
There are so many incredible feelings I have for him. Rod was a great pal to me and a real strength, we were very, very good friends. He was one of the most fun people I have ever met, thoughtful and classy, there was everything good in that man.
He is survived by his wife of 35, Carol, and his daughter, former CNN financial correspondent, Felicia Taylor. Taylor died surrounded by his family and friends. In her statement, his daughter said:
My dad loved his work. Being an actor was his passion – calling it an honorable art and something he couldn't live without.
He once said, 'I am a poor student sitting at the feet of giants, yearning for their wisdom and begging for lessons that might one day make me a complete artist, so that if all goes well, I may one day sit beside them.'