Nathaniel Taylor, Rollo on ‘Sanford and Son,’ Dies @ 80

Nathaniel Taylor, the actor known as Rollo on 32 episodes of Sanford and Son, died Wednesday, several days after suffering a heart attack.

He was 80.

Nathaniel Taylor: March 31, 1938-February 27, 2019 (Images via NBC)

Taylor's death was confirmed by his friend, promoter and entertainer Alonzo Williams, who wrote:

Today black Hollywood lost a 70s legend Nathaniel Taylor better known as “Rolo” of the hit show Sanford and son past Feb 27th at UCLA medical center of complications from a recent heart attack. Taylors character on Sanford and was the lovable, funny but questionable friend of Lamont the co-star of the show. Services are yet to be announced.

Born March 31, 1938, in St. Louis, Missouri, Taylor made his screen debut in the film Listen to the Man (1969) and continued in several actioners with predominantly black casts, including Trouble Man (1972), Black Girl [1972, directed by Ossie Davis (1917-2005)] and Willie Dynamite (1974).

Taylor also had parts in two of the films of esteemed L.A. Rebellion black filmmaker Larry Clark (b. 1948) — As Above, So Below (1973) and Passing Through (1977) — and made a final film appearance in the Steve McQueen (1930-1980) drama The Hunter (1980).

Taylor debuted on TV in a 1971 episode of The Bold Ones: The Senator, and also guested on such series as The Bill Cosby Show (1971), Adam-12 (1973), Harry O (1974), Police Story (1975) and 227 (1985).

He landed his most famous part, as lovably sleazy Rollo Larson on Redd Foxx's (1922-1991) Sanford and Son, in 1972 and played the character on the show through 1977. He reprised the role on the spin-off series Grady (1975) and Sanford (1980), and also played Jim-Jam on Foxx's short lived The Redd Foxx Show in 1986, his final on-screen appearance.

Taylor's other most recognizable character was Ike, the uncle of Freddie "Rerun" Stubbs (1951-2003) on two episodes of What's Happening!! (1977 & 1979).

In 2015, Taylor made a personal appearance to promote the discovery and restoration of the Sanford truck. At that time, besieged by autograph-seekers and fans, Taylor said:

“I’m really taken aback. This has been over for 40 years. I still get fan mail, but for this to be happening? Some people will say, ‘I grew up on you.’ I’m humbled by it. I’m blessed to be here, blessed to be able to be here.”

According to Lee Bailey's Eurweb, Taylor is survived by his wife, Loretta; four daughters; two sons; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

1 Response

  1. To the family and friends of Nathaniel Taylor. Once again, the enemy death has taken someone dear, leaving a void in your hearts. (1 Cor. 15:26) But there is one who knows the death of your pain. Pray to the God of Comfort to help you through these difficult days. (2 Cor. 1:4; Hosea 13:14)

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