On Broadway, Taylor played Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North, in The Wiz. Film credits include Clint Eastwood's Play Misty for Me, Sommersby (with Jodie Foster) and Smoke (with William Hurt). On television, Taylor appeared on Sanford and Son and was Anna Huxtable, the mother of Bill Cosby's character Cliff Huxtable, on The Cosby Show, which led to Taylor's sole Emmy nomination.
Her acting career spanned more than five decades, and included radio, television, and film. She co-founded the American Negro Theatre in Harlem.