Erroll Taggart (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 07, 2022

Even before he ran away from home at fourteen Errol Taggart was an earnest advocate of preparedness. Living in Ottawa, Canada, he studied the railroad branch lines that extended into territory where cowboys and their kind existed in the flesh. Accordingly, he left the train at Kamloops, British Columbia.

There, for the next few years, he ran pack trains back into the mountains. He learned to cook from the chuck wagon and what is more, to eat what he cooked and like it. He also acquired the trick of loading more truck on a wagon train than anyone thought it could take.

Equipped with this and sundry other knowledge, Taggart drifted to Hollywood and just naturally became a transportation man in a studio. From that beginning he followed step by step to his present position as a director.

Worked His Way Up

Inevitably before he undertakes a job, Taggart turns it over in his mind and observes what makes it function. Before he directed his first picture, “Women Are Trouble,” for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, in 1936, he served as co-director with some of the most distinguished men in the profession, and before that worked in various capacities in the studios, observing as he traveled up.

When war started Taggart joined the Canadian troops and served through to the finish with distinction.

He became associated with silent pictures in 1918 as a script clerk. In succession then he became film editor, production manager and assistant director. He joined M-G-M, where he served as assistant to such noted directors as George Cukor, W. S. Van Dyke, Clarence Brown and Robert Z. Leonard.

Lucien Hubbard chose Taggart to direct “Women Are Trouble,” with Stuart Erwin and Florence Rice. Then he was assigned to direct “The Longest Night,” with Florence Rice and Robert Young, which tested Taggart’s development of a new technique for screen mysteries and later made “Sinner Take All,” Song of the City” and “The Women Men Marry.”

Fond of Palm Springs

Taggart was born in Ottawa, the son of Stuart Taggart, a portrait artist of distinction. His brother Harry is a Dominion land surveyor and another brother, Frederick, is a transportation expert. In 1935, Taggart married Eleanor Johnstone and they reside in Hollywood, where they are moderately active in social life and extremely contented.

Between directorial assignments he reads extensively, preferring fantastic fiction, and spends many leisure hours at his favorite resort, Palm Springs.

Always Helps Others

Taggart is not only a director, but takes an active interest in the writing of the script, working hand-in-hand with the producer and writer.

He also likes to visit the locales of his pictures long before it is time for him to actually start production on them. Before he directed “Song of the City,” he went to San Francisco’s famous Fisherman’s Wharf and lived with a family so that he could get first hand information and atmosphere.

Because of the fact that he rose from the ranks, he is always willing to give a helping hand to other aspiring youngsters. When he’s not busy, his office is filled with young men who want advice on directing or who have a story that they’d like to have him read. Knowing how an encouraging word helped him along the rough road to directorship, Taggart is never too busy to give whatever aid he can.

Source: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1937