Remember Rollo from 'Sanford and Son'? He is 80 now and one of the few living members of the cast

Cynthia Rita
Sep 20, 2018
05:20 A.M.
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- Nathaniel Taylor is one out of the five survivors of the ‘70’s sitcom ‘Sandford & Son.’


- He still does some public appearances and even at 80 years old he still keeps in form.

- Celebritist learned how life has been for Taylor after ‘Sanford & Son’ and also how he started in the acting world thanks to an interview he did with The Washington Times.

Taylor’s character on the mentioned series was Fred Sandford’s best friend and in real life, he also got along wonderfully with Redd Foxx.

When asked how started in the acting world, Nathaniel expressed that he was never interested in it but once the opportunity came, he took it and turned it to his benefit.


Taylor worked in a theater doing maintenance work; if there was a light that needed repair or a stage to build, he was the man people would look for.

He said:

‘One day I was standing there with the guy who ran the theater named Vantile Whitfield. He had moved from running the theater to working for National Endowment for Humanities and the Arts. He told me, ‘You oughta go. They are doing interviews for the TV.’

Nathaniel was reluctant at first but after his friend insisted, he went and read for the producer of the show by telling a lie.

Since he didn’t have any experience with acting, he said he was the telephone repairman and got access to Aaron Ruben’s office, who was the man in charge of making the auditions.


Once he fixed the phone he revealed the white lie to Ruben, who gave him the opportunity to read for the part of Rollo.

He remembered the encounter:

‘We read back and forth. Then he asked if I knew Redd Foxx. I said, ‘I’ve heard of the clown, but I ain’t never met him.’ He told me Redd was on stage 13. He told me to go down to stage 13, tell him what happened upstairs and see what he thinks about it.’

After that, Nathaniel met Redd and even though his initial reaction wasn’t an amicable one, they later became friends for the 32 episodes that Taylor did on the show.


Unlike Redd, the other star of the show, Demond Wilson, didn'’t get along with Nathaniel, which led to his eventual departure from the show.

After reprising his character in the spin-off of the series ‘Sandford’ alongside Foxx, and getting a small role in ‘What’s Happening!!,’ Nathaniel decided to retire from the spotlight.

He said:

‘I had three sons to raise. I had neglected my sons for the five years that I was in the business. I was out all the time. I really wasn’t ‘Hollywood,’ so to speak. I was happy going back to the community to teach in the theater.’


Since then, Taylor has led a quiet life, teaching, mentoring and directing young actors in his local theater and taking care of his family.

He has an important piece of advice to young people who want to venture into the acting industry:

‘First of all, learn your craft and you can’t go wrong. And the best way to learn your craft is in small theaters. Got to go and get some theater work. Come out of the theater. Most of the best actors and actresses back in the day come from the theatre. And they knew their craft.’

Did you know that the actor who played Rollo Lawson was still alive?


The Washington Times

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