PENINSULA WOMAN: Former TV daytime actress takes up microphone in Sequim radio drama

She’s coquettish but not coy, a show-businesswoman delighted to switch from daytime television to nighttime radio.

Shelley Taylor, whose satin tones will be heard in tonight’s premiere of “Adrian Cross, For Hire: The Schooner Mystic Rose” on KSQM-FM 91.5 and www.ksqmfm.com, revamped her life six years ago. She left Hollywood behind and, contrary to her expectations, found a new kind of warmth among the people of the far north.

These days she’s feeling quite settled in. And Taylor starts a conversation with a reporter in a way few actors will.

“I’m 60,” she proclaims. Then Taylor unabashedly declares herself “a great proponent of plastic surgery,” who had a nose job at 12 and a pre-emptive face lift at 45.

When she and her husband, Greg Taylor — whom she calls “Monsieur Greg” now that he dyes her hair fiery red — departed California, they were looking for a place to cocoon.

He’d worked as a carpenter and photographer for clients such as Playboy while she appeared on “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives” in the 1980s and hosted “Pure Soap” in the ’90s.

But they’d had more than enough of Los Angeles life, and one day ducked into a Barnes & Noble and found a book about the Olympic Peninsula.

The couple moved up, first to a rental in Discovery Bay, in April 2004. After attending a home-building and remodeling show at Sequim High School, they met a real estate agent who showed them an irresistible piece of land west of Sequim. They broke ground in April 2005 on what’s to be a 3,100-square-foot home.

The Taylors expected to get away from it all, to a house she considers a work of art.

“My incredible husband has built 85 percent-plus of this home with his own hands; otherwise we couldn’t afford it,” she notes.

But in the meantime, friends happened.

“We didn’t think we were going to make any,” Taylor says.

She had, after all, grown up in Southern California’s metropolis, but people in and around Sequim befriended the pair.

Their social life is more vigorous than it ever was in California, Taylor says; they count among their friends retired policemen, engineers, even fellow actors.

About the time the couple relocated, a friend from Los Angeles also moved to Port Angeles. Judie Rich, who worked as a personal chef in Southern California, has known Taylor since they were 12, and later got into gourmet food while cooking for her friends.

“There is never a dull moment” with Taylor, Rich says.

The two have been through plenty together; Rich said Taylor has been a smart guide through life. Today, they enjoy “just simple things,” like sharing meals and taking long walks.

Soon after moving to Washington state, Taylor began talking taxes with her neighbors and friends. Retirees told her how their property taxes were leaping skyward, even as their incomes stayed fixed.

In November 2005, Taylor organized a meeting, in which she, the leader of the new Property Owners for Predictable Tax Now, called for a 1-percent limit to property tax increases statewide.

The meeting packed the Pioneer Park clubhouse in Sequim; Taylor remembers it as similar to the climax of “Field of Dreams,” when incoming car headlights stretch as far as the eye can see.

Taylor worked with then-Rep. Jim Buck on House Joint Resolution 4214, which would have amended the state constitution and impose the 1 percent cap.

The bill didn’t survive the 2006 Legislature, and Property Owners for Predictable Tax Now later disbanded.

Taylor, however, has continued to speak out against what she believes is an unjust property tax system.

Earlier this month, she gave a talk in opposition to the Port Angeles School District levy to the Port Angeles Business Association, and she’s been a prolific writer of letters to the editor and guest point-of-view columns in the Peninsula Daily News. Her latest PDN opinion piece tackles the school levy.

School funding should come from the state and not from steady increases in property tax, Taylor believes. At the same time, Taylor says she’s for smaller government, fiscal responsibility and individual responsibility.

“If you’ve got a problem, go to your church. Go to your family or to your friends,” she says, adding that to her mind, the government’s coffers shouldn’t be the first resort for solving problems.

Taylor did, however, make use of a city grant plus funding from the University of California at Los Angeles back when she mounted a neighborhood-cleanup effort in her hometown of West Los Angeles.

The streets around her home were being trashed by fraternity parties, so she installed large garbage cans and established a website about how the neighborhood used to be.

That, however, was all part of her past life. In Los Angeles, and especially “in the business” of television and movies, looks have a lot to do with everything.

Taylor remembers carrying a whole suitcase of products she called “The Face” whenever she traveled. And during her run as Lorena Sharp on the top-rated “General Hospital,” she recalls the surreal experience of having people gasp, “There she is!” and rush toward her.

Which is one of the reasons why the “Adrian Cross” radio drama was so appealing.

Taylor is a volunteer like everybody else in the cast; she’s also reveling in the fact that she doesn’t have to worry over wardrobe or makeup — and she gets to play 25-year-old Christine Hale, a wealthy heiress and Cross’ love interest.

Taylor is also the spokeswoman for the show, which will air from 8 to 9:15 tonight on KSQM, Sequim’s noncommercial radio station.

She promoted and attended a mingle-with-the-cast party last Saturday at Olympic Cellars winery, and appears in a making-of “Adrian Cross” video now showing on the station’s website, www.ksqmfm.com.

“Her energy has pushed us, propelled us toward this event,” said Tama Bankston, volunteer coordinator at KSQM.

Despite all of her activities, Taylor says her fondest hope for 2011 is to curl up with her man, in the house to be finished this spring.

“I want to live in my home,” she says. “This has been an incredible journey. . . . I’m not into the Zen of anything. I want it done. I want to be able to feast my eyes on the environment my husband and I created.”

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