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Taylor Mead

Taylor Mead
Born December 31, 1924
Grosse Pointe, Michigan, US
Died May 8, 2013(2013-05-08) (aged 88)
Denver, Colorado, US
Occupation Actor, writer, performer

Taylor Mead (December 31, 1924 – May 8, 2013) was an American writer, actor and performer. Mead appeared in several of Andy Warhol's underground films filmed at Warhol's Factory, including Tarzan and Jane Regained... Sort of (1963) and Taylor Mead's Ass (1964).


  • Career 1
  • Death 2
  • Filmography 3
  • Footnotes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Born in Detroit, Michigan and raised by divorced parents mostly in the wealthy suburb of Grosse Pointe, [1] he appeared in Ron Rice's beat classic The Flower Thief (1960), in which he "traipses with an elfin glee through a lost San Francisco of smoke-stuffed North Beach cafes.. ."[2] Film critic P. Adams Sitney called The Flower Thief "the purest expression of the Beat sensibility in cinema." Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman called Mead "the first underground movie star."[3]

In 1967 Taylor Mead played a part in the surrealistic play Desire Caught by the Tail by Pablo Picasso when it was set for the first time in France at a festival in Saint-Tropez, among others with Ultra Violet.

In the mid-1970s, Gary Weis made some short films of Mead talking to his cat in the kitchen of his Ludlow Street apartment on Manhattan's Lower East Side called Taylor Mead's Cat. One film of Mead extemporizing on the virtues of constant television watching aired during the second season of Saturday Night Live.

In 1995 Mead spent eight hours a day for a week at the Bon Temps bar, New Orleans, being documented in the photobooth costumed as a series of Warholian characters for Blake Nelson Boyd's documentary Photobooth Trilogy. Characters included Superman and Mickey Mouse from Warhol's Myth series and references to Mead's performances in Lonesome Cowboys and Nude Restaurant.

While living on Ludlow Street, Mead read his poetry regularly at The Bowery Poetry Club. His First book of poems "Taylor Mead on Amphetamines and in Europe" was written in 1968 (Republished by the Taylor Mead Estate, September 2015) [4] His last book of poems (published by Bowery Poetry Books) is called A Simple Country Girl.[5] He was the subject of a documentary entitled Excavating Taylor Mead, by Jim Jarmusch which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2005. The film shows him engaging in his nightly habit of feeding stray cats in an East Village cemetery after bar-hopping, and features a cameo by Jim Jarmusch, in which Jarmusch explains that once, when Mead went to Europe, he enlisted Jarmusch's brother to feed the cemetery cats in Mead's absence.

Mead appeared in the final segment of Jarmusch's 2003 film Coffee and Cigarettes. He has been "a beloved icon of the downtown New York art scene since the 60s."[6]


Mead was displaced from Ludlow Street in April 2013, receiving a settlement to move out, after many years of a dispute with his landlord.[7][8] He lived with his niece, Priscilla Mead, in Denver and was planning to return to New Orleans on May 21[9] to prepare for the opening of his exhibition at the Boyd Satellite Gallery on Julia Street in that city,[10] but he died on May 8, 2013 in Denver. He was 88.[11]



  1. ^ Martin, Douglas (May 9, 2013). "Taylor Mead, Bohemian and Actor, Dies at 88". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  2. ^ Ed Halter (2005). "Tracking shots: The Flower Thief". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2006-09-21. 
  3. ^ C. Carr (Oct 23, 2002). "Buried Alive". Village Voice. Retrieved 2006-09-21. 
  4. ^ ISBN 9781515054245
  5. ^ ISBN 097643590X
  6. ^ Dan Glass (2005). "Taylor Mead, Superstar". The L Magazine. Retrieved 2006-09-21. 
  7. ^ (May 9, 2013)The Lo-Down: News From the Lower East Side
  8. ^ (May 9, 2013)The AdvocateChristopher Harrity,
  9. ^ For Taylor: The last great Downtown bohemian artist | The Villager Newspaper
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ "Taylor Mead". The Daily Telegraph (London). May 10, 2013. 


  • Mead, Taylor (1961). excerpts from the anonymous diary of a new york youth. (Self-published, 41pp)
  • Excavating Taylor Mead, 2005, William A. Kirkley
  • Artist bio from the Whitney Museum 2006 Biennial, "Day for Night."

External links

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