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The Untold Truth Of Robert Taylor

Robert Taylor has been acting professionally for over 30 years but he's only just reached that big open sky of American stardom by playing the lead role of the stubborn, honorable, old-school Wyoming sheriff in his recent series, "Longmire." Despite the fact that he seems every bit the genuine Western lawman, Taylor's actually another of the Australian tough guys making their way in Hollywood, with a pre-acting history full of actual tough guy jobs.

Before "Longmire," Taylor was the actor you'd see and be like, "Hey isn't that the guy from..." because you definitely saw him in something. If you lived in Australia, you'd seen his guest stints, cameos and a main role or two in a ton of local series and TV movies, so you had a better chance of knowing his name.

Yet Taylor's long journeyman career, with its eventual star turns, only tells part of the story of who the man is. Taylor's also a father and a husband; a gardener and a bit of a recluse by Hollywood standards. Robert Taylor also, as evidenced by his Hollywood roles fighting criminals and mountains and giant prehistoric sharks, has remained every bit the tough guy that he used to be as an Aussie roughneck.

Taylor was a miner and an oil rig worker

Robert Taylor spent his later childhood years with his aunt and uncle in a western Australia mining town after his parents split. He worked for a local company like most kids do. Unlike most kids, though, that local company was a mine. So as a teenager he was, as the Daily Freeman notes, a miner.

After working in the mines, a person would think he'd leave for something easier. But when he did leave the mines, Taylor went for one of the most roughneck jobs a person can take: He worked on an oil rig. As Taylor says in a Dispatch article, "We were three guys covered in crap, in the middle of the ocean, in the middle of nowhere — hotter than hell. You get hit by cyclones."

Dealing with the dirty businesses of mining and oil drilling no doubt got him ready to navigate the tough road to Hollywood stardom. The irony can't be ignored, though, that Walt Longmire has issues with lawless oil field workers. At least it made him believable as a man who's not intimidated by a couple of guys with guns.

Taylor started acting after being shipwrecked

Speaking of that time as an oil roughneck, his time working in resource extraction did, in fact, lead to his acting career. Again according to that Dispatch article, "One time, we sank the biggest ship off the west coast of Australia since World War II. ... I was the youngest guy on board, and we got them all off because we breached the bulkhead to the engine room — and if you do that, you're going down."

Taylor was injured in that crash and the ensuing castaway adventure, ending his harrowing tale of survival in the hospital. Then he saw an ad to audition for a school of dramatic arts.

"I had never met anyone who had a creative thought or an interesting haircut or anything like that," he said. "But I saw this ad in the paper, and I figured I had gotten banged up pretty bad on the ship, so they would be chopping me off, and so I thought I would audition. So I did."

Robert Taylor was an athlete

According to Taylor in an archived interview, before he began acting, he described himself as "sporty."

"Swimming marathons in the ocean, for instance," he recalled. "Being in the ocean for two hours, just going flat-out ... I played Australian rules football, water-polo, I rowed. I competed in surfing and surf life-saving, I was a lifeguard for a long time." As a surfer, Taylor said, "We used to train for hours and hours. All day. In the surf all day."

Most of that was during his teens and early 20s. Unfortunately, after he became an actor, he had to quit some of his athletic endeavors. "I stopped playing football when I became an actor," he said. "You get a broken nose, which happens all the time, and you can't work."

So it seems that Hollywood deprived the world of Robert Taylor, the footballer. Thanks, drama school.

Robert Taylor trained at a music theater school

The drama school Robert Taylor auditioned for was Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in Perth, or WAAPA. "If you get in, you don't pay anything; you are on a full scholarship," Taylor told the Dispatch. "I had classical training for three years. I started that in '84 and graduated in '86, so I have done this for a long time." 

Graduating from WAAPA put Taylor in the esteemed company of fellow alum Hugh Jackman, who's known for playing the savage Wolverine in the "X-Men" films, but also for being comfortable as a singing and dancing musical star. That makes sense, since WAAPA is known as a top incubator for musical theater.

As a 2014 Sydney Morning Herald article put it, "Talented graduates of the leading performing arts school WAAPA flow into musicals all over the country and world."

Of course, again it does have a program just for actors. And according to the Herald article, "the acting course accepts about 18 students, from 700-800 applicants" — proof that Taylor obviously had some natural acting chops.

Taylor started off playing an Australian cop

Robert Taylor's most famous role to this point is Sheriff Walt Longmire. It isn't a big surprise, though, since he started his career playing cops. His early roles on IMDb read like a police station roll call. The shows and TV movies are unfamiliar to Americans since they're mostly Australian and British, but the characters have names like Constable Hanks, Constable Healy, and Constable Gottlieb. He even had a 7-episode arc as Detective Peter Marenta in "Yellowthread Street." His first big lead was playing David Griffin in a series of TV movies called "The Feds." Even after landing a recurring on a soap opera called "Home and Away," he went back to playing detectives.

Almost as if he was moving up in the police department, Taylor went from parts with the titles "officer" and "constable" to roles like Detective Barry Craig, Detective Sgt. Mick Foley and Detective Constable Porter. Eventually he got the big promotion every cop dreams of and became the sheriff of a whole county. A county with 3 deputies — which wouldn't even equal half the number of lawmen Taylor's played in his career.

His breakout American role was as a virtual agent

Robert Taylor spent years acting in Australian shows and TV movies. But his big Hollywood breakthrough was playing another man of authority, one who serves not so great overlords: Agent Jones in "The Matrix." Yes, Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) is the lead antagonist to Neo (Keanu Reeves) in the movie. But Agent Jones has one of the most famous scenes: He's the guy who dodges every one of Neo's bullets before Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) dispatches him point blank with the timeless line, "Dodge this."

"The Matrix" was Robert Taylor's first appearance in front of the big American movie crowd and his strong jaw and authoritarian bearing made him unforgettable, even while playing a faceless virtual agent who doesn't really exist in a way we're familiar with. Other than "Longmire" it's still one of his biggest roles, and was even mentioned as his big credit when he landed "Longmire."

And given the many times Walt Longmire's been shot, I bet he wishes he could dodge bullets like Agent Jones.

His first big international role was on a British-Irish show

Sure, Robert Taylor has played more cops than Stringer Bell. But his first long-running international TV role had the no-nonsense Australian playing a priest. After "The Matrix," Robert Taylor returned to Hollywood for the climbing drama "Vertical Limit." Then he took a detour to return to TV but no longer in his home country. This time he would join a British drama set in Ireland called "Ballykissangel."

The drama focuses on a small Irish town that revolves around its central church. Robert Taylor joined in the final season as Father Sheahan, who arrives from Australia, bookending how the show started with a priest arriving from England. Given that the show had distribution in Ireland, England, and Australia, it makes sense that they'd bring in some big-name Aussie talent for the last season.

It also showed that he could land top billing on a non-Australian TV series.

Taylor is married and has a kid with a successful Aussie producer

Ayisha Davies is kind of a big deal down under. She's been working in production since 1999 but her big producer credits are for several shorts and a few features. Those features, "Coffin Rock" and "What Lola Wants," coincidentally star — who else? — Robert Taylor.

As with everything else connected to Robert Taylor, details about their private life together are scarce. At least one website claims they've been dating since 2002. Most media sources mentions they have a daughter named Scarlet, and as with all the other details it's tough to find fully confirmed information about her beyond her name.

It can be confirmed that Taylor and Davies were married in 2017, on a ranch in Wyoming. The photo, a simple Facebook post from HF Bar Ranch, shows the Taylors and what looks to be a young girl, presumably their daughter. Based on the fact that she's standing up there, she was likely born before they got married. 

But since the Taylors obviously want some privacy, best not to pry too much beyond that.

Taylor runs a community garden

Robert Taylor is a man of many talents and interests, from a youth spent surfing, lifeguarding, playing Australian rules football, and roughnecking to his long and illustrious acting career. He can add one more thing to his CV, however: community garden organizer.

In St. Kilda, Australia, Taylor is president of Veg Out. While this isn't mentioned in much official press for the community gardens organization (lots of references to Rob Taylor), an article in The Age specifically made the connection, describing a place where local farmers had been "transforming a former bowling green in St Kilda into an inner-city oasis called Veg Out." 

The article confirmed the actor's role: "Actor Rob Taylor, who is the star of Netflix hit 'Longmire,' is the garden's long-standing president. When he's not playing a sheriff in the US crime drama, Rob can be found strolling down the tanbark paths in Blundstones, with a handful of weeds in his hands. This is where he feels at home."

As Taylor even said in the article, "I couldn't do this in America. Here I'm just Rob in the vegie path."

He only read 2 of the Longmire books

As of this article, author Craig Johnson has written 17 Walt Longmire novels. And there are quite a few differences between the books and the TV series. Yet Robert Taylor's turn as Walt Longmire has been a career-making move so he owes a lot to those books, the stories they tell, and the man who created him.

As the actor says in a Seattle Times article, "I have been waiting for a long time for a show like this. You always work hard to get a part that you want."

As the article also explains, he hasn't read all the Longmire adventures: "Taylor read the first two books when he started the series and realized there were enough differences that he shouldn't continue to read the novels. When the series ends, Taylor plans to read all of the books in the series."

Now that his time is up and "Longmire" is no more, you have to wonder if Taylor has finally cracked the other 15 spines yet.

He got Longmire from a video audition

It's tough for an Aussie actor to audition in America given that the two countries are separated by the Pacific Ocean. But increasingly actors from overseas have auditioned over video, which was perfect for Robert Taylor.

As he explained in a Collider interview, Hollywood sends out creative briefs all over the world to the main acting hubs, including Australia. Taylor was drawn to Walt Longmire so he decided to audition, remotely.

"By virtue of the fact that you're not here, it's easier, in a way. I just got a buddy with a camera and sat down and did it, and he sent it to another guy who's good with computers. It went through my manager in Australia, who sent it to the States," said Taylor in the interview. "So, we sent it over, and then I forgot about it. I remember, after a month or so, I thought, 'Oh, I never heard back. Oh, well, that happens all the time.' And then, that day, I got a call and they said, 'They want you to go to L.A. and do another audition.'"

Apparently video auditioning is Taylor's M.O. "That's the way I like to audition," he confirmed. "I prefer to do it privately and secretly. I've sent stuff to London, and then flown there. One time, I flew over there and went in the room for the final audition and they said, 'Congratulations, you've got the job!'"

Classic Walt Longmire, staying home on the ranch as much as possible.