Before he was Newly O'Brien on ''Gunsmoke,'' Buck Taylor earned his nickname when he was just a baby
Taylor's father gave him the name.
Some nicknames are given to adolescents on the playground, and some are given to those on the cusp of adulthood, but it seems that the nicknames given to you as a baby are the ones that really manage to stick around. It's like a prophecy seemingly being fulfilled like you were destined for the nickname as surely as you were destined for the one on your birth certificate. Some nicknames are a blessing, some are a curse (We're looking at you, Lumpy Rutherford).
The name Buck Taylor gives off the vibe of a certified Western man, the sort of man more at home in a cowboy hat than anything else. But would you be shocked to learn that Newly O'Brien of Gunsmoke's real name is, in fact, not actually Buck?
An actor going by a nickname is not necessarily an unusual thing. Another western star, Chuck Connors, actually had the first name Kevin, but was given the nickname of Chuck on the baseball field, and it stuck. Bonanza actor Michael Landon was born with the name Eugene Maurice Orowitz. So, Taylor was undoubtedly in good company.
According to Riding the Video Range: The Rise and Fall of the Western on Television, Taylor's real name is actually Walter Clarence Taylor III. Besides being quite a mouthful, it doesn't necessarily fit the Buck Taylor we all know and love. Author Gary A. Yoggy explained that the nickname Buck came from Taylor's father, Dub Taylor, himself a Western actor.
Dub had given his son the nickname of Buck firstly because of his sheer size, a whopping nine pounds at birth. According to a TV Guide article in 1973, Taylor was also gifted the nickname because he "looked like a big buck."
While Taylor had grown up by the time he was cast on Gunsmoke, one of the reasons he was chosen for the role was due to his youthful features in the hope that the show might attract a younger audience. Glenn Strange, better known as Sam the bartender, said "He [Taylor] captures the kids — they're his."