Born to a Syrian-Lebanese family in Brooklyn, Victor Tayback grew up learning how to aggressively defend himself and those he cared about, qualities that he'd later carry over into his acting work. Moving to California with his family, the 16-year-old Tayback made the varsity football team at Burbank High. Despite numerous injuries, he continued his gridiron activities at Glendale Community College, until he quit school over a matter of principle (he refused to apologize to his coach for breaking curfew). After four years in the navy, Tayback enrolled at the Frederick A. Speare School of Radio and TV Broadcasting, hoping to become a sportscaster. Instead, he was sidetracked into acting, working as a cab driver, bank teller and even a "Kelly Girl" between performing gigs. Shortly after forming a little-theatre group called the Company of Angels, Tayback made his movie debut in Door-to-Door Maniac (1961), a fact he tended to exclude from his resumé in later years. His professional life began to improve in 1967, when he won an audition to play Sid Caesar's look-alike in a TV pilot. Throughout the early 1970s the bulging, bald-domed actor made a comfortable living in TV commercials and TV guest-star assignments, and as a regular on the detective series Griff (1973) and Khan (1975). In 1975, he was cast in the secondary role of Mel Sharples, the potty-mouthed short-fused owner of a greasy spoon diner, in the theatrical feature Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. When the film evolved into the weekly TV sitcom Alice in 1976, Tayback was engaged to recreate his "Mel" characterization. He remained with the program for the next nine years. In contrast to his gruff, abusive screen character, Tayback was dearly loved by the rest of the Alice cast, who regarded him a Big Brother and Father Confessor rolled into one. Five years after Alice's cancellation, Vic Tayback died of cancer at the age of 61; one of his last screen assignments was the voice of Carface in the animated feature All Dogs Go to Heaven.