Libby Taylor: Trailblazing Actress Who Appeared in Over 60 Films Between 1932 and 1953


Here at Black Then we enjoy paying homage to the numerous African-American actors and actresses which helped pave the way for Black roles in the media today. Libby Taylor is one of those prolific trailblazers who’s story has been forgotten.

Born Elizabeth Taylor in Chicago, Illinois, she was the daughter of Charles Taylor and Jannie Harris. She was best known for playing maids(mostly uncredited), in 63 films between 1932 and 1953. She began in vaudeville as a singer and dancer in Baltimore. Later, she became a successful actress in New York, appearing on stage in “Subway Express”(1930), “The Up and Up”(1930), “Social Register”(1932), and “Here Today”(1932).

During the depth of the Depression, Libby was hired by Mae West as her personal maid. Libby went on to appear in Mae West’s films, “I’m No Angel”(1933) as Libby, and “Belle of the Nineties”(1934) as Jasmine.

Among Libby’s film appearances were: “Mississippi”(1935) as Lavinia, “Shanghai”(1935) as Corona, “Ruggles of Red Gap”(1935) as Libby, “Society Doctor”(1935) as Mercedes, “The Great Ziegfeld”(1936) as Flossie, “Satan Met a Lady”(1936) with Bette Davis, “Hollywood Hotel”(1937) as Cleo, Ted Healy’s “Good Old Soak”(1937) as Clare, “The Toy Wife”(1938) as Suzanne, The Three Stooges,”Calling All Curs”(1939) as the maid, “The Howards of Virginia”(1940) as Dicey, “The Great McGinty”(1940) as Bessy, “My Gal Sal”(1942) as Ida, Shemp Howard’s “Society Mugs”(1946) as Petunia, and “Another Part of the Forest”(1948) as Coralee.

In 1953, she was cast in a non-stereotypical role as Miss Winthrop, in “Bright Road” with Dorothy Dandridge. Libby Taylor died at Los Angeles County General Hospital, Los Angeles, California, on August 23, 1961.


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