Playwright Samuel Taylor, who wrote the literate Broadway comedies Sabrina Fair and The Pleasure of His Company, favorites in stock, died May 26 in Blue Hill, ME, according to The New York Times.
Mr. Taylor also wrote the libretto for the 1962 Richard Rodgers musical, No Strings, and the 1950 stage adaptation of The Happy Time, based on the Robert Fontaine novel. His strong suit was the comedy of manners, with rich folks wondering which way to turn in their complicated romantic and social lives.
He was born in Chicago in 1912, but raised in San Francisco, and he attended the University of California at Berkeley. Before he wrote for the stage, he penned radio scripts and was a play doctor.
His first big splash was The Happy Time, in 1950, drawn from a novel about a lusty French Canadian family. He did not write the libretto of the 1968 Kander and Ebb musical of the same name.
Sabrina Fair, from 1953, about a chauffeur's daughter who falls in love with a rich man, became the famous Audrey Hepburn-Humphrey Bogart film, "Sabrina," later remade in 1995 with Julia Ormond and Harrison Ford. The Pleasure of His Company, from 1958, written with Cornelia Otis Skinner, has been called one of the last of the literate high comedies to have success on Broadway.
Among Mr. Taylor's screenplay credits are Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo," "Topaz," "The Eddie Duchin Story," "Rosie" and more. His plays include Beekman Place, Avanti!, A Touch of Spring, Flying Colors and Three by Three.
Mr. Taylor's wife, Suzanne Combes Taylor, survives, as do two sons, David and Michael, and a stepdaughter, Ellinor Mitchell.
-- By Kenneth Jones