Elizabeth Taylor, RIP (Photos Inside)

Categories: Liz Taylor

I thought it would never happen.

I wrote several times that if it did happen, it would mean the end to old-time Hollywood glamour as we know it.

Elizabeth Taylor has died at 79.

A great movie star and a fabulous personality, Liz had radioactive charisma centered by those violet eyes which, as a friend notes, look violet even in black and white.

From her knockout turn in 1958's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to her 1966 transformation in Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf? (in which she was again a hectoring wife, but this time blowsy and hilariously twisted), Liz had the chops to go with her physical perfection.

I loved her in Cleopatra, being carried by shirtless hunks and ruling Egypt with 1960s makeup and speech patterns.

I even adored her truly bad films like Boom (great headdress), The Driver's Seat (wonderful eye makeup scene), and The BlueBird (indescribable).

Liz was always game, always present, and made the screen a fun and glam thing to look at.

And off-screen, she redefined the role of the celebrity by daring to talk about AIDS way back in the '80s, when no one else wanted to touch it.

She risked everything by heaving her famed cleavage forward and speaking up about the illness and the need to take it seriously, and for that she's even more legendary.

Her life was always an Oscar winning movie too, from the parade of high-profile husbands (most notably two times at bat with can't-live-with-him-or-without-him Richard Burton) to her other riveting antics that sold more tabloids than Lassie.

Everything from now on will be known as "pre-Liz" and "post-Liz." I'm glad I was around for the "during."

RIP, lady.

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Further thoughts: Liz had so many chapters in her life and career, from accomplished child star to sex symbol to real actress to AIDS activist and perfume spokesperson and beyond.

Let's not forget that in her heyday, Liz was the original Angelina, stealing crooner Eddie Fisher away from America's sweetheart Debbie Reynolds and being branded a voracious sexual predator, which ultimately helped her career.

My favorite period of hers was after her second Oscar for Virginia Woolf, when she and Dick Burton were game for anything, even a rip-roaring, cleavage-filled movie of Taming of the Shrew (1967) and 1972's Hammersmith Is Out, which Leonard Maltin describes as a "grotesque comedy about a mental patient, his male nurse, and a hash slinger which proves once again that Liz and Dick would do anything for money."

Yeah, MY money!

Here's amfAR's statement:

"The board of trustees and staff of amfAR mourn the passing of our beloved Founding International Chairman, Dame Elizabeth Taylor. Dame Elizabeth was without doubt one of the most inspirational figures in the fight against AIDS. She was among the first to speak out on behalf of people living with HIV when others reacted with fear and often outright hostility.

"For 25 years, Dame Elizabeth has been a passionate advocate of AIDS research, treatment and care. She has testified eloquently on Capitol Hill, while raising millions of dollars for amfAR. Dame Elizabeth's compassion, radiance, and generosity of spirit will be greatly missed by us all. She leaves a monumental legacy that has improved and extended millions of lives and will enrich countless more for generations to come."


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31 comments
Donbi33
Donbi33

I fell in love with Liz at age  - what? 12? watching Natiional Velvet. 

Hansonmike61
Hansonmike61

Does anyone know where I could buy a print of the Richard Avedon photograph? Have searched and can't find it anywhere.

La Grand Puta
La Grand Puta

We were having torrential rains and thunder storms here in California shortly before and after her passing. If such a thing exists, Heaven was making room for Elizabeth Taylor's luggage......

Jorge Alves
Jorge Alves

The sky now have one more star, but this is the greatest of allForever Elisabeth <3 <3 <3

beau brummell
beau brummell

dear Liz..I am sad.Nobody does remeber a movie which became a generation icon.Sadly her partner is as well forgotten.Sic transit gloria mundi I refer toA PLACE INTHE SUN,with Monty Clift It still makes me sentimental:You regretted that desperatecloset gay´s depart but now you are together.Yopu are part of our lives as few stars are.You will not be forgotten

Roy Potaha
Roy Potaha

R.I.P Liz....A sad loss to the movie industry.she started young and left young..

Sadie Heldberg
Sadie Heldberg

An icon has now passed into legend, and the effect is being felt all over the world. Can you imagine living life having the influence of a classical, great actress? Her confidence for life was ever present in the way she walked throughout her life. Her devotion for her loved ones even more impressive, I will never forget how she stood my her beloved Michael Jackson's side throughout his ordeal. I have a few favorite celebrities and thanks to modern technology, I can stay in tune even when away. I travel a bit through work at Dish Network and I feel like the Dish Sling Adapter has worked miracles in my life. It sends me all my programming, guide and DVR access included to my iPad. This way I can stay up to date on the front seat to Hollywood shows that I love. This technology is fun and pretty incredible and would imagine that there are a lot of you who feel the same. With Elizabeth Taylor's death comes the beginning of the end of the classical Hollywood that built the foundation for what has become our modern Hollywood. We all love the celebrities of today, but there is a huge difference. Back when Elizabeth was in her prime in Hollywood, you never looked anything but absolutely fantastic regardless of what else was going on in your life. This elegance was a beautiful presence she withheld all the way till the end of her life. Long live the legend of the classical beauty, Elizabeth Taylor.

La Grand Puta
La Grand Puta

Very nice obit. She is truly the Star of Stars. I remember as a kid the uproar over the Burton/Taylor affair during Cleopatra. When Richard Burton was in Camelot, she would arrive in her limo to pick him up after the show and create mass hysteria on Broadway. The American media, especially the tabloids, owe her tributes of the highest order since she made them so much money and will continue to make them moola after her death. She knew how to work the press and ultimately used them for her charity and AIDS awareness. No one else could have pulled that off with such flair, such style in big hair and diamonds....Elton has tried but even he isn't queen enough for that Dame.

BJF
BJF

The only Old Hollywood star left is Olivia de Havilland (sorry Joan).

F. Packer
F. Packer

Beautiful obituary, Michael.

Gay Movie Fan
Gay Movie Fan

One of the biggest camp-fests of all time was 1967's Reflections in a Golden Eye starring Liz and Marlon Brando. Marlon plays a career soldier who is secretly gay and Liz is his pussy-whipping wife, who is having an affair with Brian Keith. Meanwhile, Brian's wife, Julie Harris, is sinking into madness while refusing to relate to anyone but Anaclato, her gay Japanese house-boy/companion. Brando is fixated on a private (Robert Forster), who rides Liz' horse around IN THE NUDE; the semi-nude scenes by hunky Robert Forster alone are worth the price of admission. Of course, it ends badly for all.

May Ms. Taylor rest in piece.

Missboo42
Missboo42

Her mother lived 20 years longer! We knew this morning was coming, but we are still teary. She played an enormous role in my teen and early adult years. When you walk into my apt. the first thing you see is a hall full of Liz Taylor photos. "This is the gayest apartment I have ever seen!" cried a friend of mine from SF when he came to visit. "Girl, there's a gay man inside your head screamin' to get out!" How true. In the mid-60s everyone in Atlanta was Liz Taylor-Richard Burton mad. She is the last of the true Hollywood superstars. She suffered so badly at the end I am sure her family is relieved she won't have to suffer any longer. After she passed over and hugged her parents, I wonder whom she went to first? Mike Todd? Richard Burton? Montgomery Clift? She is up there with an all-star cast right now. She is young, beautiful and free from pain. Miss you already!

Vodkastinger
Vodkastinger

She was an amazing actress, humanitarian, she will be missed.

latenitebump
latenitebump

john belushi couldn´t be reached for comment.

Southern Dave
Southern Dave

Let's not kid ourselves: Elizabeth Taylor was The Last Real Movie Star.

Movielover
Movielover

I actually cried when I read it this morning! And I'm pretty jaded. Always loved her, an original with brains, beauty and humanity. She was so good in so many movies too. One of my faves is Suddenly, Last Summer.

CCGirly
CCGirly

Lauren Bacall is the last of the era left.

Jonster
Jonster

When I used to visit sick friends at the AIDS ward in San Francisco back in the mid-80's, they would wheel in the "Elizabeth Taylor" cart with a TV, VCR, movies, etc. I remember seeing her name on the plaque and being grateful that my friends knew this kind and beautiful woman was there for them when nobody else was.

Ping
Ping

Susan Boyle will carry on the torch of Liz Taylor.

MSpeer
MSpeer

As Mammy said in Gone With the Wind, "This is a sad day."

Nice tribute to an enduring star. We are lucky to have her films to remember her magnificent presence.

Azra
Azra

What a great obit. Thanks, Musto.

Troofire
Troofire

Gee, who's left now? Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus? I haven't felt this sad since Kubrick died.

Galnyc31
Galnyc31

We have lost a true diamond

LIZ
LIZ

RIP DEAR LIZ MAY WE ALWAYS LOVE YOU.

Bwayjoe
Bwayjoe

"A Little Night Music" was one of the few times she misstepped, but at least she tried! Like you say, she was game. Lovely obit. And her AIDS work was amazing.

Musto
Musto

PS: She had the chops even as a child star. LLiz was a natural.

Option
Option

Hope the Mickster isn't too despondent.

SFTom
SFTom

and Angela Lansbury!

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