Like the windswept West Texas Ranch he now calls home, Buck Taylor’s life and career begins at the end of a long and winding dirt road…
The Real West is tough country where cattle and horses form the backbone of the families that fight on to preserve their heritage and way of life.
Born the son of a famous Hollywood actor, Buck grew up on movie sets, watching his father, celebrated actor Dub Taylor, appear with such movie greats as John Wayne, Tex Ritter and Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. He initially took a different path, studying art at the University of Southern California, and, in 1960, trying out for the U. S. Olympic Gymnastic Team with the sponsorship of the cowboy actor Big Boy Williams.
But the acting profession came calling. It was deeply rooted in the young man, who, after all, had actor Chill Wills help him take his first steps as a baby. Buck began his acting career in the fifties working in television. He appeared in everything from the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and My Favorite Martian to the classic period westerns, including Have Gun Will Travel with Richard Boone, The Rebel with Nick Adams and Bonanza. He is best remembered for his eight-year run as Newly on Gunsmoke, which ended in 1975. Buck appeared in other popular shows including Wagon Train, The Virginian, Dallas, and Walker, Texas Ranger.
In 1963 his movie career began with an appearance in Johnny Shiloh. Since his start, Buck has worked nonstop for more than forty years with roles in such films as Tombstone and in 2004, The Alamo and Grand Champion.
Preserving and celebrating the heritage of the American West is the driving force behind Buck’s career as a watercolor artist. On movie locations he found himself sketching and painting during breaks in filming. He started in earnest at the 1993 National Finals Rodeo selling paintings and in less than a decade became internationally famous for his depiction of western scenes and figures. These paintings are sold through his website, private art shows and festivals, and at exclusive galleries. His private commissions can be found in the Loomis Fargo headquarters, DeLucca Liquor headquarters, Franklin Mint, John Wayne Enterprises, the American Quarter Horse Museum, the National Ranching Heritage Museum as well as in the hands of private collectors, including Sam Elliott, James Arness, Roy Clark, Val Kilmer, Roger Staubach, and Powers Boothe. He is also the official artist for several rodeos and state fairs.
Buck’s art is an invitation to explore America’s western past. The cowboys, Native Americans, horses and homesteaders he creates are at once authentic and captivating. Their faces and figures tell stories of the adventure, nobility, hardship and sacrifice that characterized the claiming of the American frontier. His paintings reflect a deep reverence and profound appreciation for the contributions of the hard working men and women who first survived and later prospered amidst landscapes both unforgiving and unforgettable. In his work, drovers push longhorns up dusty trails; braves pursue buffalo herds across vast prairies and horses race toward distant horizons. Such memorable images pay moving tribute to one of the most colorful and fascinating eras in our nation’s history. Buck once described his West Texas ranch as his “church” and his artwork as his attempt to honor his creator for the blessing He has bestowed upon his children, his wife Goldie, and the land.
His spirit and artistic philosophies came together on camera in 2003, when Buck assumed the starring role as “Harry Dodds” a modern day rancher trying to hold on to his family and ranch in the feature film Truce, released in the spring of 2005. Playing a tough, gruff cattleman, with fellow actors Barry Tubbs, Brad Johnson, and George Kennedy, Buck dominates the film with his natural grace and charm.
With an artistic career spanning fifty years both on canvas and on the screen, Buck has garnered substantial acclaim. Recently Buck was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and received the “Spirit of Texas Award.” In 2000, he was memorialized on the streets of Dodge City, “The Trail of Fame.” He has also received the “Golden Boot” award along side Ted Turner and the “Spirit of the West” award with Jack Palance and Roy Rogers. Additionally, Buck is recognized on “The Walk of Stars” in California with his great friends Sam Elliott and Katharine Ross and his star appears on the streets of Kanab, Utah on “Little Hollywood.” Buck is in good company, with his star placed between Ronald Reagan and Tom Mix. In 1981, Buck was inducted as a trustee in the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for his role as Newly on Gunsmoke.
Buck has lent his name and financial support to numerous charities including the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, the Walt Garrison MS Foundation, the FFA Scholarship Fund, the Screen Actors Retirement Home, the Ben Johnson Children’s Hospital and the Frontier Texas Museum.
The future? More acting. More painting. And more starring roles. The Fiftieth Anniversary of the landmark Gunsmoke television series was held in 2005, as was the reunion of cast and crew of the cult classic Tombstone, in which Buck played Turkey Creek Jack Johnson.
The recognition of his many talents is overdue and well deserved. But to an actor like Buck, it is just another stop in his long journey to the end of that winding dirt road where the real West and the real Buck Taylor begin.