Meshach Taylor, the actor best known for playing the only male character on the popular television show “Designing Women,” died on Saturday at his home outside Los Angeles. He was 67. The cause was colorectal cancer, his agent, Dede Binder, said.
“It is with love and gratitude that we sorrowfully announce that our darling, amazingly brilliant and dynamic, Meshach, the incredible father, husband, son and friend has begun his grand transition,” the family said in a statement.
Mr. Taylor played Anthony Bouvier, an ex-convict who became a partner at a design firm in Atlanta with four women on the CBS sitcom that ran from 1986 to 1993. He was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1989 for his role on the show.
In a career that spanned more than three decades, he appeared in films and onstage, including his screen debut in the 1978 movie “Damien: Omen II,” roles in the 1987 film “Mannequin” and on the television shows “Dave’s World” and “Buffalo Bill.” He has appeared regularly in television dramas since, including the series “In the Heat of the Night,” “Hannah Montana,” and “All of Us”. He recently appeared in two episodes of the television drama “Criminal Minds.”
In 1998, Mr. Taylor played Lumiere in “Beauty and the Beast” on Broadway. Earlier, he performed at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, where in 1985 he played Jim, the runaway slave, in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”
“The eldest of three children of two former college professors, Taylor, a precocious child, first learned acting technique as a survival skill. ‘The kids called me the Professor, and I got beat up a lot,’ he says. ‘So I dummied up until I got into the 11th grade,’” the profile read.
“Even when he didn’t have any money, he always had style. He was on the cutting edge of men’s colognes, and he was always buying yachting magazines and GQ,” actor Joe Mantegna told the magazine.
He is survived by his wife, Bianca Ferguson, four children and four grandchildren.