And so the world of entertainment, in fact the world in general, has lost one of its great sparkly lights in Elizabeth Taylor, who passed away yesterday at age 79. Although legally we ought to call her the late Elizabeth Taylor: Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
There was nobody quite like her.
She epitomized the word “movie star” and made some fifty of them (talk about the actress who you’d go see regardless of the film– here is one of the originals!) Her illustrious life unfolded both onscreen and in the pages of every tabloid on earth. Her ongoing romance with and marriage(s) to Richard Burton (the subject of a very good book called Furious Love, BTW) mesmerized the world; she also married Conrad Hilton, Michael Wilding, Mike Todd, Eddie Fisher, Senator John Warner and Larry Fortensky.
She married copious times, struggled with many demons (and paramours), forever blazed trails that Hollywood ladies today take for granted, and won two Academy Awards in the process. She took on causes that most people weren’t familiar with – or didn’t find fashionable – long before the rest of society caught on. She was a tireless advocate for education — and awareness — in many arenas, and never hesitated to make her opinions known.
She also had one hell of a weakness for baubles.
When I was brand new to Los Angeles, I remember being taken to a Fourth of July Party in Malibu which is of course, one of the more fabulous places to live in Southern California. Upon entering a spectacular home I recall realizing two things: 1) that the pounding surf was not twenty feet from the patio where guests stood milling about holding champagne and 2) that Elizabeth Taylor was seated quietly not five feet away from me, regarding all who entered the home with a smile I would only call regal. Everyone was introduced, and it just felt kind of like meeting an extremely soft-spoken monarch who happened to have the most beyond-surreal eye color I’d ever seen.
This was definitely one of the great ones…and she will be sorely missed. Glamorous, courageous, passionate and then some, Elizabeth Taylor was a beloved friend to many in Hollywood, and an inspiration to millions.
1) A Place in The Sun
2) Butterfield 8
4) Suddenly, Last Summer