Saturday, November 23, 2013

Donald F. Taylor -- He Ain't Go No Body

[The following is offered in acknowledgment of the birthday of Rebecca Baumann, stalwart friend and "First Lady of LaffLand."]

The sixth husband of wannabe sex symbol Marie "The Body" McDonald, Taylor produced the 1963 sex farce Promises!  Promises! starring his wife and Jayne Mansfield, who appeared nude in the Tommy Noonan-directed film.  Despite a massive publicity campaign that touted McDonald's impressive physical dimensions, the bonde glamour girl never achieved star status.  On October 21, 1965, Taylor found his 42-year-old wife's lifeless body slumped at her dressing table in their ranch-style home in the Hidden Hills section of Hollywood.  An initial coroner's inconclusive finding of suicide or accidental death by "acute drug intoxication" was later ruled "accidental" based on a review of McDonald's past life and normal pattern of living.
On January 3, 1966, Taylor, 47, was found dead in the same house at 5337 Jed Smith Road by his 16-year-old stepdaughter and her boyfriend.  His fully-clothed body was discovered lying on the floor alongside his bed.  An empty bottle of Seconal was found on the nightstand.  Taylor left two handwritten suicide notes and a will instructing that his mother be fiven the remainder of his estate after the payment of bills.  In a note addressed to Robert N. Hirte, his business partner in the Marie McDonald, Inc., cosmetics firm, Taylor wrote:  "Please go on with the cosmetics business.  It was Marie's fervent desire to give women a product that would do them some good at a reasonable price."  The fact that the note was dated two days before the discovery of his body led police to believe that Taylor actually took his life on January 1, 1996.

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