There is no questioning that Elizabeth Tayolor, whose striking face captivated audiences everywhere, was a Hollywood icon. Taylor died Wednesday at the age of 79.
The two-time Academy Award-winning actress was just as famous for getting married as she was for her acting career. It’s truly unfortunate, because she was a true talent.
I hope she’ll be remembered for her philanthropic and charity work, particularly in the early days of the AIDS epidemic, when she kept the frighteningly new disease in the spotlight and was part of a very important dialogue.
Her career was tarnished early on when people doubted her talent. Green can be an ugly color. Taylor gave no effort to make the camera love her. Despite her critics, she worked with many of the most gifted filmmakers and writers, eventually winning two Academy Awards for best actress in “Who’s Affraid of Virginia Woolf” and “BUtterfield 8.” She earned a wealth of career honors—from the American Film Institute, the Kennedy Center, the Motion Picture Academy, and even the Queen of England, who gave Taylor a Dame of the British Empire title.
In 2003, Taylor announced her retirement and public appearances became rare. When she did venture out, she was often in a wheelchair. In 2006, Australian and U.K. tabs said Taylor was “at death’s door.” Her publicist labeled the reports false. A month later, the National Enquirer said Taylor was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. This time, Taylor herself labeled the report false.
Though retired from Hollywood, Taylor refused to retire from her activist work. “There’s still so much more to do,” she told the Associated Press in 2005. “I can’t sit back and be complacent, and none of us should be. I get around now in a wheelchair, but I get around.”
Indeed, she was active to the end. I hope that’s what she’s remembered for. The poparazzi was always glued to her. But who could blame them?