Sir Richard Leslie Taylor KNZM is the creator and head of New Zealand film prop and special effects company Weta Workshop.
Raised in the small town of Patumahoe, just outside of Pukekohe, Taylor was educated at Wesley College, Paerata.
A close friend of Peter Jackson, he and his company created all of the props, costumes, prosthetics, miniatures and weaponry for Jackson's epic The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. For his work on the three films, he shared in winning four Academy Awards. This included two for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in Make Up and Visual Effects, and two for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in Costume Design and Make Up.
Taylor can be seen and heard on all of The Lord of the Rings DVDs, in behind-the-scenes documentaries and on the audio commentaries on the extended edition DVDs. He also appeared on set to give direction to actors and stunt personnel in several fight scenes.
He had a cameo appearance with Peter Jackson and other crew members in the special extended edition of The Return of the King as a Corsair pirate.
Both Richard Taylor and Weta Workshop appear in the documentary film, Reclaiming the Blade, where they discussed the creative and technical process of how movie props are created at Weta Workshop. Swords created by Weta for films such as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia are featured in the film as well.