Elizabeth Taylor- Farewell To A Legend

I first recall hearing my Mother talk about Elizabeth Taylor when I was very young. This was in the ’70s, during her seventh marriage, to Senator John Warner. She had put on some weight, and looked a lot like my Godmother, whose middle name happens to be Lizabeth.

There was something mystifying and intriguing about Liz Taylor. I mean Elizabeth. She once told Barbara Walters in an interview she did not like being called “Liz.” I can relate. I’m not too fond of being called “Kel” either. Mom told me about the huge star she was when she was growing up, how she almost died from a severe case of pneumonia in the early ’60s, how she was known for being the most beautiful woman in the world. When I got older, she told me about the scandalous breakup of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher’s marriage, and how Elizabeth was at the center of it. She also told me she was rumoured to have once said she was so beautiful, she could have any man she wanted. If she really said that, she sure was one confident woman.

I began to notice her films on my own, usually on the weekends. She and Rock Hudson were a perfect looking pair in “Giant.” She took a drastic turn in 1966’s “Who’s Afraid Of Va. Woolf?” She was plump, loud, obnoxious, a heavy drinker… It won her a second Oscar for Best Actress. My favorite of all became “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.” She and Paul Newman were so gorgeous together, they almost didn’t look human.

Of course, this was a woman who was more than an actress. She was a movie star, a fascination, an obsession. Everything she did captivated the public’s attention for decades. My sister was the first amongst us to buy her perfume, White Diamonds. She tried marriage eight times. Her love life could not have been written by anyone in Hollywood. It had to be lived out. She and Richard Burton had a love story people still talk about. The two married twice. She kept his letters to her.

She was loyal, feisty, and passionate. She made AIDS her own personal cause, taking it on when it was a disease people were terrified of and ignorant about. She stood by Montgomery Clift, Rock Hudson, and Michael Jackson when others turned their backs on them, and were ashamed to be in their midst. She embraced Twitter, tweeting often. She reconciled with Debbie Reynolds, and became a great-grandmother. She remained relevant, and interesting. I liked her style.

She was one of the last of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Others are still with us. Sidney Poitier… Kirk Douglas… Shirley Jones… However, there is only one Elizabeth Taylor. She was one of a kind.

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~ by kmnnz on March 28, 2011.

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