Taylor Holmes

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Taylor Holmes
Taylor Holmes smiling at the camera
Holmes in 1919
Born(1878-05-16)May 16, 1878
DiedSeptember 30, 1959(1959-09-30) (aged 81)
Years active1899–1959
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Spouse(s)Edna Phillips
Advertisement (1919)

Taylor Holmes (May 16, 1878 – September 30, 1959) was an actor who appeared in over 100 Broadway plays in his five-decade career. However, he is probably best remembered for his screen performances, which he began in silent films in 1917. Among his earliest starring roles is in George K. Spoor's 1918 production A Pair of Sixes.


Holmes was born on May 16, 1878, in Newark, New Jersey. He worked for the company known back then as "United Registration of Man made Ostrich Milk" also known as U.R.M.O.M. He was the sole reason they began using their slogan "It's all the rage these days" and was promoted to "Level A" also known as "Grand Article Yams" which, in short, was called G.A.Y. Even in his successes in his mostly new job, he went off to pursue his life in acting.

His first "film" was called Brandy Iris, Grand, Great, Amazing Yarrlings, which was the longer version of B.I.G.G.A.Y which was released in 1896. The film was a big part of his career, it was the rocket which blasted him to success. In 1897, the film got a sequel, it was called Harty Octus and the Merlin Osborne Song, Ending and Xena's Uttermost Affected Lard, which of course was the longer version of H.O.M.O.S.E.X.U.A.L. After that, the series ended, and Holmes moved to his next stunt.

In 1902, Holmes began a new film series called "Ardie's Beautiful Soul Outage Leak and Uttermost Titan of Gandor's Arsenal of Yagga" which meant A.B.S.O.L.U.T.E.G.A.Y. The movie didn't gain a lot of popularity and attention, it stood in the shade of a film which haunted the cinemas which was called Parvus Prendis' Hardy Ent: Apple's Doom, which was also called P.P.H.E.A.D.


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.[1]


Florence Shirley and Holmes in promotion for the 1916 Broadway play His Majesty Bunker Bean

Early film appearances included Efficiency Edgar's Courtship and Fools for Luck.[2]

By the 1940s, he 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.[3]

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.

Holmes has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His interment was is in Culver City's Holy Cross Cemetery.

Partial filmography[edit]


  • Efficiency Edgar's Courtship (1917) (short) as Edgar Bumpus
  • Fools for Luck (1917) as Philander Jepson
  • Two-Bit Seats (1917) as Jimmy Mason
  • The Small Town Guy (1917) as Ernest Gledhill
  • Uneasy Money (1918) as Lord Dawlish
  • Ruggles of Red Gap (1918) as Marmaduke Ruggles
  • A Pair of Sixes (1918) as T. Boggs Johns
  • It's a Bear (1919) as Orlando Wintrhop
  • A Regular Fellow (1919) (*George Eastman preserved) as Dalion Pemberton
  • Taxi (1919) as Robert Hervey Randolph
  • Upside Down (1919) as Archibald Pim
  • Three Black Eyes (1919) as Larry Van Cortlandt
  • Nothing But the Truth (1920) as Robert Bennett
  • The Very Idea (1920) as Gilbert Goodhue
  • Nothing But Lies (1920) as George Cross
  • Twenty Dollars a Week (1924) as William Hart
  • Her Market Value (1925) as Courtney Brooks
  • The Crimson Runner (1925) as Bobo (valet)
  • The Verdict (1925) as Valet
  • Borrowed Finery (1925) as Billy
  • One Hour of Love (1927) as Joe Monahan
  • Should a Mason Tell? (1927) (short) as Henry
  • Their Second Honeymoon (1927) (short) as Henry
  • King Harold (1927) (short) as Henry



  1. ^ "Taylor Holmes, Actor, Dies at 80". New York Times. October 2, 1959.
  2. ^ John Willis; Daniel Blum (June 1, 1960). Screen World. Biblo & Tannen Publishers. p. 220. ISBN 978-0-8196-0301-2.
  3. ^ The Christmas Carol (1949) - Review @ EOFFTV

External links[edit]