Elizabeth Taylor, 79, Has Died

I’ll always remember this scene in the movie that summed it all up for this woman. Yes, it wasn’t historically correct, and Cleopatra VII never looked that good in real life, plus despite her long Greek nose, she was a woman of color. But Elizabeth Taylor was a latter-day Queen of Hollywood, and the way people bowed or deferred to her in this film was how people regarded her in Hollywood and this country once upon a time.  A tad overweight, but violet eyes to die for, as one Doonesbury cartoon called it.

Again, the Enquirer was right. They had photos of her being brought to the hospital, and she looked startlingly very frail and less a screen goddess than an old woman and very, very human. She had been sick and near death’s door so many times it was hard to think that she could be at last on her road to eternity. But die she did early this morning of congestive heart failure. She was 79 years old.

It was seemed as if she was acting in her life with all those husbands and illnesses; she became more a personality and a symbol than an actress as time went on.  I remember my mother talking about her when she read the entertainment section of the S.F. Chronicle to my grandmother.  La Liz had finally married Richard Burton in Canada in 1964 after getting a quickie divorce in Mexico.  She and others made Puerto Vallarta the place to be seen in the Sixties and Seventies.  Her passion for jewelry went on beyond her two divorces with Burton, but her taste wasn’t always good.  But I’ll always commend her for putting AIDS up front, especially in light of her deep friendships with gay/bisexual actors like Montgomery Clift and  Rock Hudson. Clift especially helped make her the star that cleared a swath through Hollywood with films like BUtterfield 8 and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

And Michael Jackson.  I nearly forgot about their close relationship, possibly because it was weird to me and weird to many of us.   Jackson gave Taylor away, it was said, to Larry Fortensky.   (Jackson seemed to have on his arm either Liza Minnelli or Elizabeth Taylor during those latter days.  Remember when Minnelli married David Gest?  Taylor was there, too.   Ew.)  They had a lot of things in common as former child stars.  She supported him through all the child abuse allegations and trials.  Now she is lying in the Great Mausoleum near the likes of Clark Gable and Jean Harlow–and also very near her former friend,  Michael Jackson, whose private funeral she attended.  Lying entombed like former pharaohs themselves.

Sometimes Taylor looked absolutely ridiculous, and she knew it. But that was temporary. She went on to do it all. And now she has peace.

~ by blksista on March 23, 2011.

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