Elizabeth Taylor

Peggy Ann Garner and Elizabeth Taylor in Jane Eyre

First, there was her overwhelming beauty. A heart shaped face, delicate beauty like the most exquisite china doll. From her earliest appearances on film, as in Jane Eyre, you could not take your eyes off this gorgeous child.

Second, she was as S-T-A-R. She epitomized the glamour of old Hollywood and the swank of the swinging 1960’s. She relished it and so did we!

Third, she grew into a fine actress. Not much was required of her beyond her spectacular beauty in so many of her films. As she was nurtured by the likes of George Stevens and her dear friend Montgomery Clift for A Place in the Sun, her depth as a performer grew. Hardly perfect, she gave 100% and left some fabulous performances that will live on as classics long after my generation is long gone from this earth.

A Place in the Sun

She was a gusty woman, an earthy lady by all reports. She could swear a blue streak and delighted in it. When it was required, she could be one of the boys. She was more than the sum of her legendary career. She lived her life to the fullest; she had her demons and conquered most of them. She survived more marriages and had at least one great love in her life. She was a loving mother and grandmother. She was an intensely loyal friend. She had tremendous courage. She’s a person I wish I had the chance to know.

Her death was not unexpected; she nearly died so many times. Her life was plagued by ill health of all sorts as well as addictions, accidents and a brain tumor. She gave so much with a real and truly generous heart, it’s no wonder it gave out at last.

We’re fortunate to have so many films to remember her by, the fun, the campy, and the truly fine. This is all wonderfully delicious gravy.

For me, I keep turning back to the words courageous and loyal. As much as I love her films, it is that which I will always remember her. Elizabeth Taylor took her fame and twisted it into something to do something truly good. The creation of AmFar and the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and the worldwide good it has done for AIDS research and AIDS patients is a tremendous legacy to leave. She tried very hard to give where it mattered most to her. Before ill health prevented her, she traveled the globe for her cause and donated countless millions and gave of her heart and time. When she accepted her Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, she said "I call upon you to draw from the depths of your being — to prove that we are a human race, to prove that our love outweighs our need to hate, that our compassion is more compelling than our need to blame." She was no saint and I am sure would raucously laugh at the hint of it. She did what she believed in. That's admirable.

RIP Liz, I think I’ll watch Cleopatra, it’s such good fun. Sleep well and thank you.


Tinky said…
What a lovely tribute. It's true that we somehow see her as a person almost more than as an actress. I think her vulnerability, on and off the screen, is part of what made her so appealing.
Jim Barkley said…
Lovely. Thank you.

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