Rod Taylor has passed away at the age of 84. His rep confirmed to People magazine that he died on Wednesday (Jan. 7) of a heart attack. The leading man appeared in over 50 Hollywood films throughout his career. His breakout role was in the 1960 adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine.
However, he is best known for his role opposite Tippi Hedren in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic horror film, The Birds. Most recently Rod appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar-winning film Inglourious Basterds as Winston Churchill. As well, he provided the voice of the lovable Pongo in Disney’s original animated version of 101 Dalmations.
His The Birds co-star Hedren told CNN, “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.”
Rod is survived by his third wife Carol and his only daughter Felicia, a former CNN correspondent, who said in a statement to the network, “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.'” ~Janine Wyslobicky