How Liz Taylor Dealt With Ogling And Remarks

In his new book, Fortune In My Eyes, producer/activist David Rothenberg writes about his extraordinary life.

Yesterday, I quoted the book about the not-always-so-lovely-to-work-with Lauren Bacall.

And then there's Liz.

According to Rothenberg, she was the picture of grace, even when being stared at and dissected like a specimen.

He writes:

"I was Elizabeth's date at the opening night of Hamlet at the O'Keefe Centre...

"We were seated on a wide aisle, which enabled us to escape at intermission to a protected area backstage. However, the second-act curtain rise was delayed about twenty minutes, as the entire audience paraded themselves past our seats to gain a glimpse, a close-up of the fabled Elizabeth.

"People were uttering comments right into her face as if she were an inanimate creature. One woman was critical of her hairstyle, another uncomplimentary about her dress.

"I turned to her and asked if she was okay. Her hand dug into my arm, and I watched her--in her mind--go away.

"She had developed the capacity to withdraw into her own head, to turn off the world's judgments, an extraordinary maneuver of survival...

"I was with the world's most glamorous woman in the most celebrated theatrical production of its time, and I was starting to feel that this was not the world I wanted to be in.

"I loved the work, but the offstage drama was beginning to take its toll."

And that's why I never took Liz to an opening night!

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In her last interview, Marilyn Monroe said she loved it when truck drivers yelled "Hey, Marilyn!"

to her on the street or when sharp teen-agers recognized her and buzzed around her happily. She also had a protective band of loyal fans in New York. But the flip side was when people assumed that her fame gave them the right to say anything to her, no matter how hurtful, "like they're talking to your clothing or something."


"Fame stirs up a lot of envy," Marilyn said.


To add to the Elizabeth Taylor at Hamlet lore, she was constantly hounded by the producers and was overheard at a party saying "If I'm not out front, they complain they're not selling tickets. If I am out front, the company complains I'm pulling focus.  I can't do anything right".



The legendary O'Keefe Centre became the Hummingbird Centre and is now Sony Centre, partway through an ugly and nasty reno that includes an ungainly condo tower.



@mikeymusto Hate to admit it but this story actually brought tears to my eyes. ;-( Guess we'll all love her forever.


"I loved the work, but the offstage drama was beginning to take its toll."


I'm not sure who said that...Liz or David?  (and I'm not being snarky)

musto moderator

 @SavannahMontgomery That quote is from David, the author. He started to see the toll that show biz takes on its players.