FOLLOW-UP

A TV star in the wings

JANE O’HARA November 26 1984
FOLLOW-UP

A TV star in the wings

JANE O’HARA November 26 1984

A TV star in the wings

The move astonished the CTV network. Carole Taylor, the glamorous host of the investigative current affairs program W5 had decided to quit to be closer to her boyfriend, Art Phillips, then the mayor of Vancouver. Her announcement in April, 1976, drew a collective gasp of disbelief from colleagues at the Toronto headquarters who were puzzled that a TV star would sacrifice a national television career. One CTV executive scolded her saying, “Next thing you know, it will be barbecues and Caloña red.” But Taylor, 39, never became an aficionado of charbroiled steaks, much less the local wine produce. And now she may be on the verge of a major decision concerning her career. Said Taylor: “I have done a lot of soul-searching in the past six months. I feel that I am at a crossroads.”

Since 1977, when she married Phillips—she met him during a 1974 interview for W5—the couple has been enjoying a good deal of relaxation time, skiing and mountain-Diking, rarely missing a Seattle Seahawks’ National Football League home game. Taylor and Phillips became the “go den couple,” as one journalist dubbed them, living what seemed a charmed existence. After moving to Vancouver, Taylor did some local television work but she quit her job as the host of a West Coast public affairs TV show, Pacific Report, in 1978 to help Phillips campaign for a federal seat in Vancouver Centre as a Liberal. Phillips defeated Conservative Pat Carney but he lost the seat to her a year later, and she is now federal energy minister. Almost two years after Phillips’s defeat at the polls Taylor gave birth to Samantha. She spent two fears at home, and since then has been i ivolved in local TV shows. She is currently the host of Vancouver Life, a weekly arts and entertainment program.

It was a beauty contest in 1963 that gave the Toronto-born Taylor a start in her career. She won $1,000 as Miss Toronto, and her pageant win brought her to the attention of John Bassett Jr., the then-host of After Four, who picked her for the Toronto Telegram’s “After Four” youth supplement. At the time, Bassett’s father owned the Telegram and CTV’S flags lip station, CFTO. Bassett Jr. then picked Taylor as hostess of CFTO’s video version of After Four. At the time, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau raved abDut Taylor’s stylish hair when he saw her on television. Said Trudeau: “I love it, love it. I love Afros, particularly on pretty women.” So en-

thusiastic was Trudeau about Taylor that he once urged her to choose a riding and “we will put you in Parliament.”

Taylor was admired for her brains as well as for her beauty. She obtained her English degree at the University of Toronto in 1967. While there, she met and married medical student and U of T Blues football quarterback Bryce Taylor. After she graduated she did a series of talk shows, which included Woman’s World, Toronto Today and, finally, The Carole Taylor Show. In 1972 she gave birth to Christopher (who now lives with her in Vancouver), but later that year she became a cohost of CTV’S new morning show, Canada A.M., along with former weatherman Percy Saltzman. Six months later she became the cohost of the acclaimed W5, making her one of the highest-profile women in Canadian television.

Taylor is acutely aware that her TV options are limited in British Columbia. She says that both she and Phillips would move back East for the right opportunity, though she admits that might be hard to find. Explained Taylor: “I do not feel like repeating jobs I have done in the past.” Taking all of her TV experience into account, finding a job she has never done may be the hardest task Carole Taylor has yet to face.

-JANE O’HARA in Vancouver.