Jim Taylor: the greatest wolverine?

Meet Jim Taylor, a class of 1980 Bellevue alum and critically acclaimed screenwriter, and the only student from Bellevue ever to win an Academy Award.


Many successful people have come out of our school- from actors, to businessmen, to entrepreneurs. But one that really sticks out is the only Bellevue High alumni to win an Oscar, a screenwriter by the name of Jim Taylor.

He won his Oscar for best screenwriter, along with Alexander Payne, someone who he has collaborated with for many other projects, for his 2004 film, Sideways. He also produced the 2011 film, The Descendants, which was nominated for best picture at the 84th Academy Awards. Other notable films he has worked on include Jurassic Park III, About Schmidt, and Election.

Taylor grew up in Bellevue, along with his four siblings, and graduated from Bellevue High School in 1980. Taylor then graduated from Pomona College in 1984, choosing to get a liberal arts degree because he did not think he could make it in the movie business. Then, after moving to Los Angeles, he was left broke and desperate until he won 30,000 dollars on Wheel of Fortune, which enabled him to go to film school. This was the first step for him in reaching his current success.

“Great at writing … amazing sense of humor … I think our family has a wry sense of humor, all of us, starting with my parents. … And I think that’s really come through in his work,” his older brother, Andy Taylor said of him.

His beginnings, however, were the very same as our own. Growing up in Bellevue may or may not have helped in his endeavors, but his story does prove that Bellevue students have the tools to reach whatever goals they may have.