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Noel Taylor

Noel Taylor

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Also Known As: Harold Alexander Taylor Jr. Died: November 4, 2010
Born: January 17, 1913 Cause of Death: natural causes
Birth Place: Youngstown, Ohio, USA Profession:

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A talented performer who successfully made the transition from juvenile roles to adult performances, Australian actor Noah Taylor broke through in the United States playing the adolescent piano prodigy, David Helfgott, in the Oscar-winning drama, "Shine" (1996). Prior to this success, Taylor had both supporting and leading roles in a number of projects made in his native Australia, while managing to crack through across the Pacific with a role in the television miniseries "Dadah is Death" (CBS, 1988). After "Shine," he starred in the indie period drama, "Simon Magus" (1999), before appearing in consecutive movies directed by Cameron Crowe, "Almost Famous" (2001) and "Vanilla Sky" (2002). While entering blockbuster territory as Angelina Jolie's sidekick in "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" (2001) and its sequel "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" (2003), Taylor delivered his most complex and critically acclaimed performances as a pre-Nazi Adolf Hitler in the unrelenting drama, "Max" (2002). From there, he settled into a series of foreign and independently made features like "The Proposition" (2006) and "Submarine" (2010), none of which received much play in the States. Regardless, Taylor remained a...

A talented performer who successfully made the transition from juvenile roles to adult performances, Australian actor Noah Taylor broke through in the United States playing the adolescent piano prodigy, David Helfgott, in the Oscar-winning drama, "Shine" (1996). Prior to this success, Taylor had both supporting and leading roles in a number of projects made in his native Australia, while managing to crack through across the Pacific with a role in the television miniseries "Dadah is Death" (CBS, 1988). After "Shine," he starred in the indie period drama, "Simon Magus" (1999), before appearing in consecutive movies directed by Cameron Crowe, "Almost Famous" (2001) and "Vanilla Sky" (2002). While entering blockbuster territory as Angelina Jolie's sidekick in "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" (2001) and its sequel "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" (2003), Taylor delivered his most complex and critically acclaimed performances as a pre-Nazi Adolf Hitler in the unrelenting drama, "Max" (2002). From there, he settled into a series of foreign and independently made features like "The Proposition" (2006) and "Submarine" (2010), none of which received much play in the States. Regardless, Taylor remained a talented performer capable of tackling a wide variety of offbeat characters in either supporting or leading roles.

Born on Sept. 4, 1969 in London, England, Taylor was raised by his journalist parents, Paul and Maggie, who moved the family to Australia in 1974. The young lad honed his talents as a child actor on stage with the St. Martin's Youth Theater in Melbourne, where he appeared in "Pierrot Lunnaire," "Alien in the Park" and "Eric and Verna." After attending the Swinburne Community School and University High School, Taylor made his features debut in Richard Lowenstein's "Dogs in Space" (1986), a rock-n-roll drama focusing on several young people sharing a house in Melbourne. He landed his first leading role in John Duigan's semi-autobiographical "The Year My Voice Broke" (1987), playing a youth coming to terms with his burgeoning sexuality. Taylor next made his American small screen debut in the two-part miniseries, "Dadah is Death" (CBS, 1988), before reprising Danny for Duigan's follow-up, "Flirting" (1990), which focused on the young lad's romance with an African student (Thandi Newton).

Once established as a young leading actor, Taylor continued to appear in a number of well-received Australian features, including Geoffrey Wright's "Lover Boy" (1989), in which he played a youth involved in a doomed love affair. He was a virginal youngster covering his inexperience with a tough exterior and fake Liverpudlian accent in "Secrets" (1992), his first collaboration with writer Jan Sardi. The coming-of-age comedy earned praise from local critics, who favorably compared it with American films like "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" (1978) and "The Breakfast Club" (1985). As "The Nostradamus Kid" (1993), Taylor stood out in the otherwise confusing and rather misogynistic film. But nonetheless, he inspired its director, Bob Ellis, to proclaim the actor to be his onscreen alter ego. Back on American television, Taylor was featured alongside Nicole Kidman in "Bangkok Hilton" (TBS, 1990), while additionally appearing in "The Boys from the Bush" (BBC, 1991-92) and "Inspector Morse: Promised Land" (PBS, 1993).

In 1995, Taylor displayed his broad comic abilities as the youngest child in a turn-of-the-century family carving a life in the bush in "Dad and Dave - On Our Selection," co-starring fellow Aussie Geoffrey Rush. Taylor had his biggest breakthrough playing the adolescent-age piano prodigy, David Helfgott, who suffers an abusive home life run by his authoritarian father and later succumbs to a debilitating mental breakdown in Scott Hicks' acclaimed biopic "Shine" (1996). The Oscar-winning, feel-good drama also starred Rush, who played the adult version Helfgott. The two actors went on to make cameo appearances in the Australian miniseries, "Frontier" (1997), before Taylor branched off on his own to a leading role in the small indie drama "Simon Magus" (1999), in which he played a Jewish outcast who is believed to converse with the devil. He followed that with supporting turns in major American films like Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical "Almost Famous" (2000), in which he played the put-upon, but resourceful band manager Dick Roswell.

Taylor reunited with Crowe in a small but pivotal role for the murky meditation on life and fate, "Vanilla Sky" (2001), before snaring a highly visible role as Angelina Jolie's trusty sidekick Bryce in the video game adaptation "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" (2001), a character he reprised for the sequel "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" (2003). Taylor's acting depths, however, were not pushed to their limits again until "Max" (2002), writer-director Menno Meyjes' controversial exploration of the edgy relationship between a youthful, impoverished, artistic Adolph Hitler (Taylor) and a one-armed Jewish art dealer Max Rothman (John Cusack). Taylor earned critical plaudits for playing a very human proto-version of the Hitler history has known and despised without delving into caricature or cartoon. After a supporting turn in "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" (2004), he appeared in Tim Burton's remake of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (2005), starring Johnny Depp as the reclusive chocolatier. He next had a supporting role in Terrance Malick's lyrical, but meandering look at the 1607 Jamestown colony in "The New World" (2005), starring Colin Ferrell as Captain John Smith.

Taylor starred opposite fellow Australian Guy Pearce and British actress Emma Watson for the little-seen Western "The Proposition" (2006), which followed a wanted outlaw (Peace) given the choice by a lawman (Ray Winstone) to either hunt down his psychotic brother (Danny Huston) or watch his other brother (Richard Wilson) hang. In the Italian-made "Lecture 21" (2008), Taylor was a young musician who seeks insight into Beethoven's grand 9th symphony before the composer dies, before playing a burial mound expert who helps a divorced novelist (Kevin Costner) unearth the secrets of a mound that mysteriously appears in his backyard in "The New Daughter" (2009). He next played an Iraq War veteran who forges an uneasy relationship with a misguided woman (Amanda Fuller) in the indie revenge thriller "Red, White and Blue" (2010). Taylor moved on to co-star in "Submarine" (2010), a coming-of-age drama about an ambitious 15-year-old (Craig Roberts), who tries to save his parents' marriage with a carefully orchestrated plan while also trying to lose his virginity before his next birthday.

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