Thus far in 2019, fans have already said goodbye to several big name actors and actresses. Unfortunately, actor Nathaniel Taylor has now been added to that list. Taylor was best known for his role of Rollo Lawson on the 1970s sitcom Sanford and Son. He passed away this past Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles from a heart attack. He was 80-years-old, according to USA Today.
Taylor’s character of Rollo on Sanford and Sons was dynamic and intriguing. He was the right hand man of Lamont Sanford, played by actor Demond Wilson. Rollo was known for always being dressed to the nines in colorful suits and accessories. He’d spent time in jail, but had good intentions and was determined to get onto a better path. While the father, Fred Sanford, wasn’t impressed by Rollo’s swift talking or flamboyant nature, Rollo didn’t seem to notice. He affectionately called Fred, played by Redd Foxx, “Pops.”
Taylor’s career was far from over after his time with Sanford and Sons came to a close. He would go on to find success in several other shows and films. Such parts included roles in The Redd Foxx Show, Police Story, and What’s Happening!. He also appeared in Dynamite and Trouble Man.
‘Sanford & Son’ actor Nathaniel Taylor discusses Redd Foxx and classic sitcom https://t.co/UoWWom5viw
— Notorious J.I.M. (@pensjim66) March 1, 2019
However, there was always a special place in Taylor’s heart for Rollo. It was the part that really started off his career. At the time, he was playing a role in one of the most popular sitcoms of the decade. As a black man, he really paved the way for those who would come after him, something he was proud to do. His son, Kaedi Taylor, spoke of this pride his father had.
“It was a time and an era — just to be on TV as a black man, it was an honor. It was an honor for people to remember him.”
Taylor left behind his loving wife, Loretta, and their big family, including four daughters and three sons. Fans, friends, and former co-workers of the actor took to social media to express their condolences to his family and share the way he inspired them.
Alonzo “Lonzo” Williams is a music producer and one of Taylor’s closest friends. He spoke out about the lighthearted nature of the actor.
“He was always there with a wise word and a kind word and a joke to put a little icing on it,” he said.