Memories of growing up in Baltimore in the 1990s conjure up many nostalgic thoughts, and one in particular is John “Kinderman” Taylor. He became a household name for his in-school performances, signature smile, bowler hat, red suspenders, and catchy songs like “Friends.”
After news spread on social media yesterday that Taylor had passed away, an outpouring of sorrow and love for the child entertainer flooded news feeds. In an original post from the Facebook group Straight Outta Baltimore, it was announced that the beloved performer passed away after a lengthy illness at age 82.
“Farewell my beloved Kinderman,” wrote Diana Fowlkes. “I will never forget all of the chuckles, Lolol in public, lessons you taught me, and for being my mentor and beloved friend.”
But, in fact, Taylor is still alive. His friends and family quickly jumped on Facebook to dispel those rumors.
“Dear friends, I am writing this post on behalf of our beloved friend John Taylor—known far and wide as the Kinderman,” said Linda Joy Burke on Facebook. “Some of you may have seen a post on his personal page that appeared to state that Kinderman had passed. He has not.”
In that same post, Burke explains that Taylor was diagnosed with a terminal illness last month and is currently in hospice care in Columbia. His brother, Randy, also felt compelled to post about his status to dismiss the rumors.
“Come on y'all, Kinderman is resting peacefully in his bed. . .not RIP,” he wrote. “FALSE NEWS . . . however he is happy to know how you feel. Knowing him, he would push out his hand and say, ‘SAVE. IT.’”
As a three-time Emmy award-winning host and former co-producer of WMAR’s It’s Kindertime, and The Kinderman Show, he has reached thousands of children across the state with his innovations in educating, entertaining over the past 50 years. His unique approach to teaching is brought to life by incorporating movement, dance, rhyme, song, story-telling adventures, and interactive learning games.
Now that his family has confirmed that he is indeed alive, they are grateful for the outpouring of love and happy to know that his legacy has had such a major effect on those he met. Burke says that Taylor would love to hear from everyone and is accepting cards that can be sent to Gilchrist Hospice in Columbia.
“He is now on the most important journey of his life, and he truly does appreciate each and every one of you that has sent him messages,” she said. “Continue to hold him in prayer.”