Elizabeth Taylor, the loss of an icon


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?

The Associated press contributed to this report, as did E! Online News

3 responses to “Elizabeth Taylor, the loss of an icon

  1. Good post, Matty. Liz Taylor was a classy lady. Her daughter Liza (from her marraige to Mike Todd) lives in Coxsackie, and my mom ran a nursery school for 15 years in our community. In the late 1980s/early 1990s, she had Liz Taylor’s granddaughter in class, and my parents became friends with Liza and her husband. They were very nice people, kinda crunchy and earthy, but really sincere and friendly. When their daughter graduated from my mother’s Nursery School, we got a thank you card from Liz Taylor — who was very active at the time in the charities you mentioned and in the middle of a lot of bizarre press — as usual. My mother was elated, and it was a nice little thing that showed Taylor’s true spirit — caring, thoughftul and thankful.

  2. mcarteratthemovies

    She’ll always be Martha to me, and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” always will be one of my favorite war movies.

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