Paul Louis Taylor, 66; Longtime Director of CBS News Programs

Paul Taylor was also a self-taught musician.
Paul Taylor was also a self-taught musician. (Family Photo - Family Photo)
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By Joe Holley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 8, 2008

Paul Louis Taylor, 66, a director of CBS news programs, including "Face the Nation," died of cardiac arrest Jan. 31 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring. He was a Wheaton resident.

In his 38-year career with CBS, Mr. Taylor directed a number of news programs, including "Nightwatch with Charlie Rose" and Washington news items for the CBS Evening News. One of the first African American directors at CBS, he became senior director of "Face the Nation" in the late 1970s.

Mr. Taylor was born in New York's Harlem neighborhood and attended the city's public schools. A singer who taught himself to play the piano and a number of other instruments, he was proud to have been chosen to sing for famed contralto Marian Anderson when she visited his school. He had a fine tenor voice.

He served in the Army from 1959 to 1962, stationed for most of that time in Bussac-Foret in France. A confirmed Francophile, he studied at the Sorbonne.

He joined CBS after he was discharged from the Army, working briefly in New York before being transferred to the network's Washington bureau. He perfected his craft at a time when TV news programs were making the changeover from film to videotape. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of the District of Columbia in 1981.

Mr. Taylor, known as "PT," had a penchant for bestowing nicknames on his colleagues.

"He was just a real character," said Arlene Dillon, a former associate director who worked with Mr. Taylor for 25 years. She recalled how he would work 12- to 15-hour days at CBS and then hustle over to a bar in Adams Morgan or a restaurant in Annandale called the Black Orchid and play jazz into the early hours of the morning.

He retired in 1999, which gave him more time to pursue his interests in music, painting, photography, gardening and cooking. A self-confessed gadget freak, he sought out new technologies, whether for the kitchen, his computer or his digital camera.

He enjoyed playing the conga, a percussion instrument that reminded him of beating out rhythms on outdoor mailboxes when he and his buddies were growing up in Harlem. On summer Sundays in Washington during the late 1960s and early 1970s, he often played drums with ad hoc gatherings in Dupont Circle.

His marriages to Annie G. Taylor and Dotti Sparks Taylor ended in divorce.

A son from his first marriage, Guy Taylor, died in 2003.

Survivors include his companion of 18 years, Agnes Nuval of Wheaton; a son from his first marriage, Devon Taylor of Wheaton; a brother; two sisters; and three grandchildren.

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