Today we write to honor two unrelated guys named Kent Taylor; one in the form of an obit; one for his birth anniversary. They both wore different kinda hats,
The first Kent Taylor (1955-2021) died just over a month ago. He was the founder of Texas Roadhouse, the popular chain of steak restaurants founded in, and based out of, Kentucky. Taylor commited suicide as a result of sufferings wrought by the aftermath of Covid-19, tinnitus (incessant ringing in the years) in particular. Tinnitus makes people miserable, even insane, and as with Taylor, suicidal (along with other symptoms). A new study from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that the number of Americans killed by Covid-19 is closer to 900,000 than the official government number (which is climbing towards 600,000). Neither number counts the greater numerical toll — lives ruined by permanent damage short of death, such as Mr. Taylor’s, which must be in the millions. Those who have been calavier and dismissive and jocose about this disease deserve eternal condemnation. People who’ve belittled masks and vaccines throughout this national crisis are no patriots; they are seflish menaces to the public weal. But we’ve been saying that for well over a year now.
At any rate, I learned about this gentleman by researching this other Kent Taylor. I’m adding them both to my monster post on guys with the same name, for sure!
The other Kent Taylor (Louis William Weiss, 1907-87) was a movie actor of the classic studio era. He started out as a walk-on and crowd extra in 1931, but then got picked for a screen test and signed by Paramount. He had supporting roles in I’m No Angel (1933) with Mae West, Death Takes a Holiday (1934), Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1934), and The Gracie Allen Murder Case (1939), among dozens of others. His name is said to have been partial inspiration for the name of Superman’s alter ago Clark Kent. In the ’40s he was in such things as Washington Melodrama (1942), the Gang Busters serial (1942), Tombstone, The Town Too Tough to Die (1942), The Daltons Ride Agan (1945), and The Crimson Key (1947), gradually sliding to the status of B movie actor. 1951-53 he starred as the title character on the TV version of Boston Blackie. Later, he was the lead on the western The Rough Riders (1958-59).
Meanwhile Taylor’s movies went from B to Z level, from The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues (1955) to The Day Mars Invaded Earth (1962), The Crawling Hand (1963), Blood of Ghastly Horror (1967), Brides of Blood (1968), Satan’s Sadists (1969), The Mighty Gorga (1969), Hell’s Bloody Devils (1970), Brain of Blood (1970), Angel’s Wild Women (1972), and I Spit on Your Corpse (1974). I’m sure he made five good movies to every bad one, but those last titles were too entertaining not too include. He was in the terrific Phantom of Hollywood,(1974) which we wrote about here. His last performance was in a 1975 episiode of Barnaby Jones.