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Rod Taylor, 'The Birds' and 'Inglourious Basterds' star, dies at 84

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ROD TAYLOR
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Australian-born actor Rod Taylor, who had a decades-long career that included roles in such films as The Time Machine and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, died on Wednesday at age 84.

His daughter Felicia, a former CNN anchor, confirmed the news in a statement to People on Thursday.

Taylor’s career spanned more than six decades, including memorable roles in television and film. Taylor came to Hollywood in the 1950s, and his first big break came in 1960, when he starred as Herbert George Wells in the George Pal’s adaptation of The Time Machine.

After starring as Mitch Brenner in 1963’s The Birds, he had a lengthy film career that included roles in The V.I.Ps with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor; Sunday in New York, opposite Jane Fonda; The Glass Bottom Boat; 36 Hours; Zabriskie Point; Young Cassidy; and 101 Dalmatians, in which he lent his voice as Pongo. His most recent role was that of Winston Churchill in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.

Taylor also had an impressive television career with roles in Hong Kong, Bearcats!, The Oregon Trail, Masquerade, Outlaws, Falcon Crest, and more.

Taylor is survived by his wife, Carol, and his daughter.

“My dad loved his work. Being an actor was his passion – calling it an honorable art and something he couldn’t live without,” his daughter, Felicia, told People. “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,” she continued, ” ‘so that if all goes well, I may one day sit beside them.’ “