Delores Taylor, Star of ‘Billy Jack’ Movies of the 1970s, Dies at 85

Taylor and husband Tom Laughlin starred in five indies featuring a half-Indian/half-white ex-Green Beret

Last Updated: March 27, 2018 @ 7:59 PM

Delores Taylor, a Golden Globe-nominated actress who starred with her husband Tom Laughlin in five indie movies featuring counterculture hero Billy Jack, died Friday. She was 85.

“Delores Taylor and Tom Laughlin seemed two impossibly contrasting forces. He, the brilliant, volatile man with immense personality and charm. And she, the serene, almost ethereal woman with of unwavering devotion. Yet somehow, they were interconnected, interdependent, and forever intertwined,” Taylor’s daughter, Teresa Laughlin said in a statement provided to TheWrap. “Together, they were far greater than the sum of their parts, and together, they left their mark on this world.”

News of Taylor’s death was posted by her family on a “Billy Jack” Facebook fan page.

Delores Taylor and Tom Laughlin seemed two impossibly contrasting forces. He,
the brilliant, volatile man with immense personality and charm.  And she, the serene,
almost ethereal woman with of unwavering devotion. Yet somehow, they were

interconnected, interdependent, and forever intertwined. Together, they were far greater
than the sum of their parts, and together, they left their mark on this world..

A native of South Dakota, Taylor met Laughlin in college and married him in 1954. Together, the two developed the character of Billy Jack, a martial arts expert who was half-Navajo, half-white Green Beret Vietnam veteran and defended youthful members of the counterculture from authorities who just didn’t understand.

Laughlin directed and starred in five films featuring the character, beginning with 1967’s “The Born Losers” and helped to revolutionize indie cinema by self-distributing his films. He died in 2013 at age 82.

Taylor, who had only a small role in the original film, assumed a co-starring position in the 1971 sequel, “Billy Jack,” for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination as New Star of the Year – Actress.

She reprised her role in the three sequels, 1974’s “The Trial of Billy Jack,” 1977’s “Billy Jack Goes to Washington” and 1986’s “The Return of Billy Jack.”

Taylor is survived by her children: Frank Laughlin, Teresa Laughlin and Christina
Harrington, her grandchildren: Jessica Laughlin, Ellery and Hutchens Harrington, and
Lily and Arlan Laughlin, and sisters: Joan Wishart and Darlene Taylor.”