The busy comedian and character actor Taylor Negron, who called his type of straight-faced style as "California Gothic," died
due to cancer
on Saturday, January 10. His cousin, Chuck Negron of the 1970s rock band Three Dog Night, announced his passing in a
In his 35-year career, he first made an impression in Amy Heckerling's 1982 cult hit,
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
, where he played a world-weary pizza deliveryman who brings a pie to Sean Penn's surfer dude character, Jeff Spicoli. He later played memorable characters in
Better Off Dead...
(1988), and later as a hairdresser in a 1993 episode of
In his final essay published Saturday on
, "Reflections On a Life Spent Playing Everyman," Negron reflected on playing the "Alternative Everyman," that "guy from so and so."
As he wrote: "After 30 years in show business I've given up on the idea that people will know my first and last name together, and I've accepted that I will never, ever be actually famous.
Instead, I am fame-ish."
It reads like a humorous obit, including this section:
"Having been raised in the Charles Manson part of Los Angeles with a rock star for a cousin (Chuck Negron from Three Dog Night), I contemplated at an early age that fame was something to be slightly scared of -- like doctors or palmetto bugs.
Having brushes with fame but realizing that I will always be That Guy, it's been easy for me let go of my ego.
"Over the years, I have enjoyed my proximity to Hollywood and to celebrity itself knowing fully well that a truly huge career can only happen with an ambitious, determined team of agents, club owners and carefully placed waitresses. I've let go of being the guy who gets the girl to help the girl who wants the guy.
"Instead, I am the Alternative Everyman. I have been your postman. I am the man who delivered your pizza. I was the gang member who kidnapped your daughter at gunpoint. I'm a nanny for children. I am a stylist for Stuart Little. I am your shrink. I direct porn films. I am the groom and the maid of honor."
Then he goes on to state, in an inimitable manner, that he's proud to have the name Taylor now, since when he was 15, it was a rarity. In fact, he was actually born Brad to parents of Puerto Rican descent who moved to Los Angeles from the Bronx in the 1950s. He later took an
eight-week comedy class
with Lucille Ball in 1977 for $125 a pop. As he writes in the xoJane piece:
"I enjoy that I am a 'Taylor' in the tradition of 'Swift' and 'Dane.' It supports my tried and true pansexuality. Really, I am just grateful I am on the actor's food chain at all. Stefon talked about me on
. The punk band Anthrax wrote a song referring to my role in Rodney Dangerfield's
. All very fame-ish credits.
"Sometimes, my quasi-celebrity makes me vacillate between defensiveness, shame and then pure joy."
RIP Taylor Negron. Watch this clip from
opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus: