An actress who was known for her roles in three of the four “Billy Jack” movies has died. The New York Times reports that Delores Taylor died March 23 of natural causes at the Motion Picture and Television Fund Home near Los Angeles.
Taylor, who had reportedly suffered from dementia, was 85.
Taylor co-starred with her husband, Tom Laughlin, in his productions of the “Billy Jack” films, playing a teacher, Jean Roberts, whose progressive school is defended by the title character, a half-white, half-Native American anti-war Vietnam veteran.
“The films became counterculture favorites,” The Times notes. “Billy Jack was first seen in the 1968 biker movie ‘Born Losers,’ but became widely known after ‘Billy Jack,’ the second of four films Laughlin made about him (only three made it to theaters).”
The Times adds: “’Billy Jack’ was released in 1971 after a long struggle by Laughlin to gain control of the low-budget, self-financed movie, a model for guerrilla filmmaking. The film became a surprise hit and the theme song, ‘One Tin Soldier,’ was a hit single for the rock group Coven.”
Taylor, who was described by her daughter as a “reluctant” celebrity, received a nomination for a Golden Globe for New Star of the Year in 1972.