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The Chillicothe Voice

Chillicothe’s Hometown Hero – Josh Taylor: Once a Grey Ghost, always a Grey Ghost!

Oct 30, 2023 11:45AM ● By Brian L. Fislar

Days of Our Lives Cast Members from Left to Right: Billy Flynn, Lauren Koslow, Josh Taylor, Deidre Hall, Drake Hogestyn.

This month’s Hometown Hero is certainly no stranger to the limelight.

Growing up and living flush on the banks of the Illinois River, Josh Taylor was a young man whose journey from a star athlete in high school to the city of Angels is one that has been well documented.

But Josh’s story began long before anyone knew him as Josh. Classmates and townspeople knew him as Tim Taylor. His father, George Taylor, loomed large in his life, serving as his coach, mentor, boss, and teacher all in one. “Coach” as many referred to him, was a guiding light who instilled in his son the values of discipline, hard work, and sportsmanship. Together with his mother, Dorothy, older brother Ron, and younger sister Vicki, the Taylors were a close-knit family and very well-known in the community.

Just before Josh’s 9th birthday, Coach Taylor took on the responsibility of being the Superintendent of the park grounds at Shore Acres. The Taylors made their home within the historic Shore Acres Clubhouse, a place already rich in history. Josh would spend much of his adolescence working on the park grounds, planting trees with his father and brother, hunting, and fishing on the Illinois river, or just riding his bike around town with his friends. 

Chillicothe proved to be much more than just a hometown; it was a place where friendships were forged, and dreams were nurtured. Josh spent much of his youth with some of his closest friends, Rich Johnson, and Dave Potts, to name a few. Josh was once asked by a reporter from People Magazine, what it was like growing up in Chillicothe along the Illinois River, he replied, “I had a Tom Sawyer upbringing, but with a football in my hand.” 

When Josh entered High School, he followed in the footsteps of his brother Ron, and was the field general for the football team, while also being a team leader in basketball, track, and baseball. He excelled in both football and baseball and was named to the All-State team in football. One of Josh’s most prized possessions is the Illio Conference Champions trophy that was salvaged from the old high school. After the passing of his teammate and co-captain Don Gill, the Gill family felt the trophy should be passed to the other remaining captain. It now sits in Josh’s home in a place of prominence.

While Josh was certainly familiar with the many accolades that came with being a star athlete, it wasn’t until his senior year in high school that Josh would get his first taste of being on stage, when he was cast as a football player in the school production of “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” where the stage took the place of the playing field. Little did he realize at the time how much of his life it would become.

Upon graduating from Chillicothe Township High School in 1961, Josh knew he wanted to continue being a student athlete. He was recruited by Notre Dame, Colorado, and Illinois, but decided on Dartmouth College, renowned for its academic excellence. It was an opportunity to continue his love for football and baseball, while also exploring new horizons and getting an Ivy League education.

After college, Josh continued his education, finishing his Juris Doctor degree at the University of Denver – Law School along with his lifelong friend, Bob Cook. The legal profession seemed like the natural path, but life often unfolds in unexpected ways. The day after he was sworn in as a lawyer, Josh took off on what he calls his Easy Rider adventure. He left Colorado and headed west intending to work his way up the coast and eventually to Alaska. 

On May 1, 1970, Josh pulled into Los Angeles, and the allure of the city and the beach was irresistible. He knew that the owner of the Bratskellar restaurant where he had worked in Denver was opening a new location in Beverly Hills, and he convinced Josh to stay to manage the new location. The wheels were in motion now. He quickly found himself interacting with regulars from the entertainment industry. 

A co-worker kept urging Josh to attend an actor’s workshop, and he finally went. That is where he met director Jack Garfein. He put Josh on stage with only a chair and a spotlight pointing directly at him, and it was such an adrenaline rush. Garfein continued to work with Josh and felt he had what was needed to be successful but emphasized that he must never give up on his dream.

Joining the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Josh, then known as Tim, underwent a transformation. The guild already had a Tim Taylor, and per the guild’s guidelines, a new name was needed. Inspired by the rugged Steve McQueen character Josh Randall from the “Wanted: Dead or Alive” TV series, he chose the name Josh. This marked the official transition from one life to another.

As Josh Taylor, he navigated the challenges that Hollywood presented, securing roles in various television productions. Josh persevered, fueled by his passion for acting. The dream that may have first been awakened on that Dobie Gillis set on the high school stage, was now a living, breathing reality.

On July 26, 1977, Josh landed the role of Chris Kositchek on the daytime soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” The role exploded for him and made him a hot commodity on most of the daytime talk shows like Dinah Shore and Mike Douglas. His portrayal of Kositchek and his magnetic presence endeared him to viewers across the nation.

Through all the highs and lows of his career, Josh Taylor remained grounded, guided by the values instilled in him by his parents and his upbringing in Chillicothe. He continued to stay connected with his high school classmates, attending all the reunions, keeping true to the adage that you can take the boy out of the town, but not the town out of the boy.

But Josh’s journey was far from over. In 1986, primetime called, and Josh answered—on the other end of the phone was a role starring opposite Jason Bateman and Sandy Duncan in the series “The Hogan Family.” Josh continued doing both shows for a couple of seasons until the workload became too hectic. In 1987, he would eventually leave Days of Our Lives to focus on The Hogan Family.

Josh made his return to Days of Our Lives in 1997 when he returned not as Chris Kositchek, but as the ever-popular Roman Brady. Josh remains an integral part of the show, having been in over three thousand episodes.

Josh Taylor’s story is a testament to staying focused and never giving up. From the football fields of Chillicothe to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, he embraced change, pursued his passion, and remained true to himself. But most of all, he remained that small-town boy who dared to dream big but never forgot where he came from. He is our Hometown Hero, and he reminds us that once you are a Grey Ghost, you are ALWAYS a Grey Ghost!