Taylor made her TV debut in tiny roles in "Crisis in Central High" (CBS, 1981) and "Concealed Enemies" (PBS, 1984) and portrayed a lawyer in "Howard Beach: Making a Case for Murder" (NBC, 1989) before being cast in the highly-acclaimed (but low-rated) series "I'll Fly Away" (NBC, 1991-93). Her performance as Lilly Harper, a black housekeeper and surrogate mother to the three children of a widowed white prosecuting attorney (Sam Waterston) in the 1950s South, won her such accolades as "superb, conveying a mixture of strong intelligence and simmering anger with a complete absence of extraneous fuss" (THE NEW YORK TIMES). Taylor also appeared in the follow-up TV-movie, "I'll Fly Away: Then and Now" (PBS, 1993), and the miniseries "Children of the Dust" (CBS, 1995), as one of a group of freed slaves out to claim land in Oklahoma.Film work was slower in coming. Taylor made her feature debut as a crack addict trying to kick the habit in "Lean on Me" (1989), then had a supporting role in the child-custody drama "Losing Isaiah" (1995). After appearing in the crime drama "The Keeper," Taylor got a break from director Spike Lee, who cast her as a Brooklyn mother trying to keep her son safe from drugs and crime in "Clockers" (both 1995). She went on to appear in the military drama "Courage Under Fire," with Denzel Washington and Meg Ryan, the drama "A Family Thing," with Robert Duvall, and a ghost story, "Spirit Lost" (all 1996). Taylor has not forsaken the stage. She wrote and starred in a one-woman show, "Escape from Paradise" (1994), and two of her one-act plays were performed in Chicago.