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RIP Elizabeth Taylor
March 23, 2011 6:33 AM   Subscribe

Film legend Elizabeth Taylor died today at the age of 79. The two-time Oscar winner, who was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in February for symptoms of heart failure, was reported to be feeling stronger as recently as late February. She celebrated her 79th birthday on February 27th.

"Though her loss is devastating to those of us who held her so close and so dear, we will always be inspired by her enduring contribution to our world. Her remarkable body of work in film, her ongoing success as a businesswoman, and her brave and relentless advocacy in the fight against HIV/AIDS, all make us all incredibly proud of what she accomplished," says her son, Michael Wilding.
posted by litnerd (182 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Damn. Thank you, Elizabeth, for everything.

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posted by rtha at 6:36 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


This makes me very sad.
posted by JanetLand at 6:37 AM on March 23, 2011


Wow.

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posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:37 AM on March 23, 2011


Yabba-Dabba Boo
posted by Optamystic at 6:37 AM on March 23, 2011


Farewell, Maggie the Cat.
posted by ColdChef at 6:37 AM on March 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


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posted by gaspode at 6:38 AM on March 23, 2011


. Thank you for the movies.
posted by arcticseal at 6:39 AM on March 23, 2011


RIP Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky.
posted by ColdChef at 6:40 AM on March 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


Debbie Reynolds gets the last laugh.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:41 AM on March 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


A forever ageless Cleopatra.

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posted by mooselini at 6:42 AM on March 23, 2011


I know I shouldn't be shocked... but I am shocked. Such a talent. I always feel like we were robbed of even more great performances in her later years because of her health.
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posted by kimdog at 6:42 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just recently I said to Mr. Kinnakeet, "the only survivor from the golden age of film is Liz Taylor; when she's gone, there will be no really big stars left."

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posted by kinnakeet at 6:42 AM on March 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


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posted by snapped at 6:43 AM on March 23, 2011


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posted by JoanArkham at 6:43 AM on March 23, 2011


RIP. And thanks for motivating me to finally send my grandmother those pictures I owe her.
posted by theredpen at 6:44 AM on March 23, 2011


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posted by vibrotronica at 6:45 AM on March 23, 2011


Oh. I don't cry for celebreties. I just don't. These? Oh this is acting...I'm not really crying.



Goodnight, you magnificent woman. Maiden, mother, crone and goddess...I hope your reincarnation is a place filled with all the beauty and joy you gave the world this time around.

posted by dejah420 at 6:46 AM on March 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf"? No one, not anymore. RIP Liz.
posted by Gungho at 6:46 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bick Benedict: Leslie... don't behave like that... making a fuss o'er those people. You're a Texan now.
Leslie Benedict: Is that a state of mind? I'm still myself.
Bick Benedict: You're my wife now honey, you're a Benedict.
Leslie Benedict: I still have a mind of my own. Elsewhere being gracious is acceptable.

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posted by shakespeherian at 6:46 AM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


What kinnakeet said. I don't like to slag on current pop culture, but I'll be surprised if we ever see somebody with her level of celebrity and talent in one package.

I should probably thank her for her work for HIV/AIDS but I'd rather remember her for making movies better.

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posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:48 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lock the door, Maggie.


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posted by jquinby at 6:50 AM on March 23, 2011


The lady was a classic, the last of a legacy. And she was the spittin' image of my mother, so I'm thinking of both of them today, I hope they finally get to meet.

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posted by dbiedny at 6:52 AM on March 23, 2011


You're all flops. I am the Earth Mother, and you are all flops.

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posted by Beardman at 6:52 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


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Forever the most glamorous dame in the world.
posted by Krazor at 6:53 AM on March 23, 2011


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posted by cass at 6:53 AM on March 23, 2011


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posted by pemberkins at 6:54 AM on March 23, 2011


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posted by Webbster at 6:54 AM on March 23, 2011


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posted by Halloween Jack at 6:56 AM on March 23, 2011


You know it's coming, but it's a shock when a star winks out. I'm pretty cynical about celebrity culture but Elizabeth Taylor was a one of a kind actress. Such a master.

And then her second act, her AIDS activism. Back in 1985 when people were afraid to so much as shake hand with an AIDS-infected faggot, when congressmen were proposing quarantines and pronouncing God's Judgement of the Plagues.. There was Elizabeth Taylor, fearlessly pressing the urgency of the AIDS crisis, speaking publically, going out in front of the Congress, the media, anyone who would listen. To save her friends' lives. It was a singular act of courage and compassion, someone using their celebrity to make a difference in the public sphere on behalf of a reviled minority. Bless her.
posted by Nelson at 6:57 AM on March 23, 2011 [60 favorites]


Will she get her own Pyramid?
posted by homodigitalis at 6:57 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by dlugoczaj at 6:58 AM on March 23, 2011


Elizabeth Taylor's letter to President Reagan about the AIDS crisis.
posted by hermitosis at 7:00 AM on March 23, 2011 [20 favorites]


Just recently I said to Mr. Kinnakeet, "the only survivor from the golden age of film is Liz Taylor; when she's gone, there will be no really big stars left."

Yeah, she may have been the last of the 50's A-list -- Brando, Clift, Monroe, Kelly, Sinatra, Grant, Stewart, Guinness, Olivier: all down now. The only one still around I can think of who is arguable would be Kim Novak.

Oddly, just last night I was reading about the behind-the-scenes turmoil during the making of Cleopatra and wondering about how Taylor had receded from public life in the last few years.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:01 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. I sincerely thought she'd live forever. I suppose, in a way, she will. It's surprising to me that she didnt even live into her eighties.

There has never been anyone like her, and won't be, I'll wager.


posted by perilous at 7:01 AM on March 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


From Velvet Brown to Martha and beyond. Goodbye!
posted by nj_subgenius at 7:03 AM on March 23, 2011


And to think that the first thing I ever saw her in was The Flintstones Movie.

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posted by phunniemee at 7:04 AM on March 23, 2011


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posted by DizzyLeaf at 7:05 AM on March 23, 2011


Oh no. Elizabeth Taylor had been in poor health for quite some time, but for some reason I thought she still had a good five years left.

A classmate of mine in university related this story to me, told to him by a co-worker of his, who was an English teacher at a high school.

Back in the sixties Richard Burton played Hamlet in Toronto. This teacher saved her money for months to get a ticket to Hamlet. The night arrived and there she was in her front row seat, basking in Richard Burton's performance. Suddenly there was a notable disturbance in the second row as someone came in and sat down directly behind her. The teacher was just so fit to be tied that someone had marred her once-in-a-lifetime Richard Burton as Hamlet experience that she turned half around and said, "People with manners arrive on time," and turned face about again.

There was no response from behind her then, but at intermission she felt a gentle tap on her shoulder, turned around, and beheld Elizabeth Taylor sitting in the seat behind her. And Elizabeth Taylor said, "I am so sorry I caused a disruption. I do hope I haven't spoiled too much of the play for you."

This being in the sixties, when Elizabeth Taylor was in her prime, she was just so incredibly stunning in her satin dress and diamonds and the teacher was so stunned to find she'd bitten Elizabeth Taylor's head off, and by Taylor's gracious response, that she was left utterly speechless.

Go in peace, Miss Taylor. You left us in awe and we won't see your like again.
posted by orange swan at 7:05 AM on March 23, 2011 [44 favorites]


Ms Taylor, it was a pleasure knowing you. As a child, I simply knew you as the most married woman I could think of. Then I saw National Velvet and the Taming of the Shrew. And the love affair simply never ended after that. Film after film that I have thoroughly enjoyed. RIP madam.
posted by bardophile at 7:05 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Five words: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

If she had done only that she'd already be immortal.

RIP, Elizabeth.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:06 AM on March 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


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RIP my most marvelous birthday buddy.
posted by raztaj at 7:07 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


She's one of the many famous people who share my birthday (Feb 27). That always made me feel special, in some weird way. What a face, those eyes, my God.


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posted by polly_dactyl at 7:07 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


What a terrible loss. She led such a tremendous life. She was a brilliant, brilliant actress, and then in later life turned into an incredible powerhouse activist for AIDS.

May her memory be for a blessing.

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posted by zarq at 7:08 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


More 'Virginia Woolf'. Goodnight, Elizabeth.
posted by h00py at 7:09 AM on March 23, 2011


At 7:07 two Mefites who share Taylor's birthday post simultaneously. Wow!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:10 AM on March 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


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posted by JABof72 at 7:10 AM on March 23, 2011


god fucking damn it.

i can't make a . big enough to match how i feel.
posted by palomar at 7:11 AM on March 23, 2011


I like that we saw her flawed yet courageous life unfold into old age. We didn't get to see that with Marilyn.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:11 AM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am more impressed with her activism than her acting and she was a very good actress. She auctioned off the Taylor-Burton 69 carat diamond to help build a medical facility in Africa. She did way more than simply lend her celebrity name to a cause.

RIP Liz!
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:11 AM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]



posted by fixedgear at 7:12 AM on March 23, 2011


A Tad Overweight, but Violet Eyes to Die For

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posted by chavenet at 7:12 AM on March 23, 2011


*Kiss me, Kate*


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posted by infini at 7:15 AM on March 23, 2011


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One of the last of the living legends.
posted by immlass at 7:16 AM on March 23, 2011


I'm too young to remember her as a movie star, but I will always think of White Diamonds when I hear her name. The foul smelling stuff it is, the marketing was done well.

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posted by Malice at 7:16 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by iviken at 7:16 AM on March 23, 2011


I remember reading that the day Elvis Presley died, some pundit said "It's like somebody just told me there won't be any more cheeseburgers in the world." This is similar. She was part of the landscape, the culture. Her abscence will be felt.
posted by jonmc at 7:18 AM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Did she have an asp clasped in her grasp?
posted by vbfg at 7:19 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]



At 7:07 two Mefites who share Taylor's birthday post simultaneously. Wow!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:10 AM on March 23 [+] [!]


I failed to preview! Eerie.
Hey raz happy belated bday
posted by polly_dactyl at 7:20 AM on March 23, 2011


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posted by HandfulOfDust at 7:20 AM on March 23, 2011


I keep wondering if the string of movies she did in the 70s would be reconsidered. (or in the case of Butterfield 8 re-reconsidered.)

One of the last, great, premethod, operatic, physical actresses. That woman could move better than anyone else on the screen.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:20 AM on March 23, 2011


That she was only 79 surprises me. It shouldn't, but it does.

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posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:20 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


She was the original Veronica but her heart of gold wasn't feigned. Amazing woman who lived, as mentioned by someone else recently, an epic life.
posted by h00py at 7:22 AM on March 23, 2011


Pain kept her private for so many years. There's an end to that, anyway.
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posted by cookie-k at 7:22 AM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Another birthday cohort here.

You can't match Liz Taylor for sheer extravagance -- if anyone lived life, she sure as hell did. Some of the most memorable film roles of all time, some of the most memorable scandals of the silver screen, all in one package. And her work on behalf of fundraising and advocating on HIV/AIDS issues when nobody else would touch the issue with a ten-foot pole -- unmatchable and classy. I love the epithets attached to her when she had her affair with Burton and Fisher dumped her: Il Tempo called her "an avaricious vamp who destroys families and devours husbands." The Daily Mirror said that she was "one long eruption of matrimonial agitation." The Vatican newspaper, Osservatore della Domenica, printed a supposed letter from an anonymous reader which read, in part, "Children count little to illustrious ladies like you when there is nothing for them to hold together," and concluded that her life would end in "erotic vagrancy." I'm sure she wore those attacks as badges of honor.

Rest in peace, dear Ms. Taylor. I love you.
posted by blucevalo at 7:23 AM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thank Liz and Richard as you stand in line at the supermarket, your eyeballs accosted by the shenanigans of Brad and Angelina, Oprah, Charlie Sheen or any of the other "stars" of the entertainment industry.
posted by pianomover at 7:23 AM on March 23, 2011


The fact that her last film role was in The Flintstones (as Fred's Mother-in-Law) shows that she had a great sense of humor about her image, too.
posted by jonmc at 7:24 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


At 7:07 two Mefites who share Taylor's birthday post simultaneously. Wow!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:10 AM on March 23 [+] [!]

I failed to preview! Eerie.
Hey raz happy belated bday
posted by polly_dactyl


eerie indeed, and kinda cool. right back atcha polly!

and blucevalo too!
posted by raztaj at 7:25 AM on March 23, 2011


Thank Liz and Richard as you stand in line at the supermarket, your eyeballs accosted by the shenanigans of Brad and Angelina, Oprah, Charlie Sheen or any of the other "stars" of the entertainment industry.

No ..... thank anyone from time immemorial in Hollywood, going back to Fatty Arbuckle and Charlie Chaplin and other silent "stars" (using your air quotes).

Scandal didn't start with Liz Taylor. I'm not sure of your point, but whatever it is, it's not accurate.
posted by blucevalo at 7:26 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


For those who don't know her work, National Velvet, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf are highly recommended. She was smokin' hot, scandalous, stacked, stunning, vulnerable, and genuinely, seriously talented. And she used her fame and fortune to advocate for research on AIDS, when it was most needed, and least forthcoming. She deserves every . and tribute she's going to get.
posted by theora55 at 7:27 AM on March 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


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posted by Iridic at 7:29 AM on March 23, 2011


When Warner was first running for Senate, he and his wife came to my grandmother's church for some sort of fundraiser/speech. The place was so crowded that my wheelchair-bound grandmother couldn't see, so they wheeled her right up front. Then Elizabeth Taylor sat down next to her, and held her hand through the whole speech.

The celebrity, the awards, the charity work--whatever. I'll remember that she gave Mamaw a story to tell until the day she died.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:30 AM on March 23, 2011 [29 favorites]


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posted by Ahab at 7:31 AM on March 23, 2011


If Elizabeth Taylor had been just empty beauty she still would have been an enormous star, because she was astonishingly, scaldingly beautiful. But she had so much game, too. She was such a fine actor - easily the best of her generation - sensitive, fearless and meaty. AND THEN, as if that all isn't enough, you throw in her humanitarian efforts, and she is just without peer.

The last of the greats was probably the greatest of them all.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:31 AM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


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posted by LMGM at 7:32 AM on March 23, 2011


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posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:34 AM on March 23, 2011


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posted by clavdivs at 7:36 AM on March 23, 2011


Probably the greatest, and certainly the most beautiful, of the dwindling cohort of old-school movie stars. Goodbye, Liz.

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posted by steambadger at 7:37 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by bz at 7:38 AM on March 23, 2011


She also photographed amazingly well--this one, by Beaton, for the Proust Ball, in 1971 has a monumentality and a self contained intensity.

Plus, who else could pull off headdresses like that anymore?
posted by PinkMoose at 7:38 AM on March 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


I was definitely afraid of her acting brilliance in Who'a Afraid of Virginia Wolf?

And Burton.

What a drag.


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posted by Skygazer at 7:38 AM on March 23, 2011


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posted by Foosnark at 7:40 AM on March 23, 2011


I still vaguely remembered a quote I'd seen when Fred Astaire died in 1987, and I just hunted it down: ''Wrap up the 20th century,'' mourned Newsweek. ''Fred Astaire is gone.''

So many other classic film actors have departed in the years between then and now, from the likes of Burt Lancaster to Paul Newman. But yes, perhaps now the Golden Era of film truly is gone today.

As someone who's still trying to make sense of the fact I'm old enough to be an AARP member it's so unsettling to see so many cultural icons in my life pass on. And then to feel like even more of an old fart as I try to find those celebrities younger than me who command the same sort of status.

But thanks to 20th century (and beyond) technology we will always be able to say, in a way, that Maggie the Cat is ALIVE.
posted by NorthernLite at 7:42 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by armisme at 7:42 AM on March 23, 2011


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posted by drezdn at 7:45 AM on March 23, 2011


Oh, this is so sad. Onscreen and off, so brave, so beautiful, so fierce in her compassion and generosity.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:46 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 7:48 AM on March 23, 2011


"Married or single, sick or healthy, on screen or off, Ms. Taylor never lost her appetite for experience. Late in life, when she had one of many offers to write her memoirs, she refused, saying with characteristic panache, 'Hell no, I’m still living my memoirs.'"

(from the nyt obituary).

i'm usually not moved by the passing of people simply because they were famous. but her work on hiv/aids issues, her passion to keep living, i grew up with them. definitely one of the last of the greats from her time/our time.
posted by anya32 at 7:50 AM on March 23, 2011


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Also, for the sake of trivia - how many husbands did she outlive?
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 7:58 AM on March 23, 2011


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posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 8:00 AM on March 23, 2011


Debbie Reynolds gets the last laugh.

Now that's just mean. Eddie Fisher wasn't the first actor to leave his wife for another actress and he certainly wasn't the last. Could someone please send a memo to Jennifer Anniston?

(Not that I'm defending Liz Taylor's presumptive heir to the man-stealing actress throne, Angelina Jolie. How dare that wannabe think she can outdo Liz's Cleopatra?)

Anyway,

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posted by fuse theorem at 8:00 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]




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posted by rmd1023 at 8:05 AM on March 23, 2011


The pictures of her in her prime are about as gorgeous and glamorous as movie stars ever were.

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posted by readery at 8:07 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I didn't realize she was mortal. You might as well tell me that suns expire.
posted by dywypi at 8:07 AM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


One of the few true definitions of class. We won't see her like again for a long time.

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posted by hippybear at 8:09 AM on March 23, 2011


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posted by gomichild at 8:09 AM on March 23, 2011


Legend.

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posted by oneironaut at 8:12 AM on March 23, 2011


perhaps now the Golden Era of film truly is gone today.

I don't know if I'd say that - we still have Olivia de Havilland, Joan Fontaine, Maureen O'Hara, Eli Wallach, Kirk Douglas, Herbert Lom, Luise Rainer, Ray Harryhausen, Mickey Rooney, Esther Williams, Deanna Durbin, Doris Day, Jackie Cooper, Cliff Robertson, Stanley Donen, Eva Marie Saint, Lauren Bacall, and Dorothy Malone to get through.
posted by Iridic at 8:12 AM on March 23, 2011 [12 favorites]


Very sad indeed. I grew up with watching her movies throughout my childhood. National Velvet was my favourite. She was so beautiful
posted by Sonyab at 8:12 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:13 AM on March 23, 2011


"...to get through."

Dang, that reads as callous. I wish all those mentioned above life, health and happiness.

posted by Iridic at 8:15 AM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Quite possibly the greatest beauty in recorded history. Even more amazing was that it was apparent even in black & white films.

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posted by willpie at 8:17 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


She was in her own class.

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posted by Glinn at 8:26 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
In Memoriam
"We mourn the loss of legendary actress, businesswoman, and fearless activist Elizabeth Taylor. If you want to honor the memory of Elizabeth, you may do so either by making a contribution in her name to the foundation or by posting a personal message here."
Thanks, Liz.
posted by ericb at 8:33 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dang, I love her movies, especially Suddenly Last Summer and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I am shocked that she actually died, simply because ever since I was a kid in the mid-1980s, it seemed like she was always dying. It's quite weird.

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posted by Calzephyr at 8:37 AM on March 23, 2011


beautiful photos of her here (from magnum).
posted by anya32 at 8:41 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sweet Elizabeth, thank you for being an ardent benefactor of the UCLA AIDS Institute, AIDS Project Los Angeles and the UCLA CARE Center. You gave strength to those of us in the trenches, you brought other celebrities out in the open to support us and you were loud and ornery when someone with status needed to be.

Thank you
Thank you
Thank you

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posted by Sophie1 at 8:53 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


“I lust after your smell … and your round belly and the exquisite softness of the inside of your thighs and your baby-bottom and your giving lips & the half-hostile look in your eyes when you’re deep in rut with your little Welsh stallion…. My blind eyes are desperately waiting for the sight of you. You don’t realise of course, E.B., how fascinatingly beautiful you have always been, and how strangely you have acquired an added and special and dangerous loveliness. Your breasts jutting out from that half-asleep languid lingering body, the remote eyes, the parted lips.”

-- early love letter from Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor.
posted by hermitosis at 8:54 AM on March 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


(According to this post, anyhow...)
posted by hermitosis at 8:54 AM on March 23, 2011


Goodbye.

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posted by ZeusHumms at 8:55 AM on March 23, 2011


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posted by annsunny at 8:59 AM on March 23, 2011


A tribute from amfAR.

I had the honor of meeting Elizabeth Taylor once, when I was a scruffy young AIDS activist. She was charming and glamorous (and very short!). I got to meet her because she did a press conference at the International AIDS Conference that year, drawing attention to the absurd immigration restrictions against people living with HIV, which had necessitated moving the conference out of the US. She managed to insert glamour and drama into the press conference by declaiming that were she HIV +, she would not be allowed to return to the States, for she herself was a British citizen and would be barred from entry, as she drew her British passport from her elegant purse and held it up, and the cameras flashed.

She took the time to talk to our little band of AIDS activists, and was particularly fascinated by the eyebrow piercing on one of our comrades. She just wanted to reach up and tug on it, she said. At the time she was being followed by a photographer for Vanity Fair, and posed for a photo with us in all our ACT UP t-shirted glory. So yes, I was photographed with Elizabeth Taylor for Vanity Fair magazine.

She took her AIDS activism to heart. She didn't drop it in later years. She testified at Congressional hearings when she was asked to. She raised money for amfAR, among other groups. She was willing to speak out on the controversial issues, like syringe access and the immigration ban, not just some generic "awareness" statement. She really cared about HIV and she put a lot of time and energy into it. She was the real thing.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:01 AM on March 23, 2011 [31 favorites]


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posted by exlotuseater at 9:14 AM on March 23, 2011


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posted by Hairy Lobster at 9:21 AM on March 23, 2011


Wow. In retrospect now, it seems that on some level I had just assumed that she was the exception: that she was just somehow automatically immortal.

Goodbye Liz. Thanks for everything.

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posted by trip and a half at 9:31 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Oh Pie...." RIP Ms. Violet Eyes. :(
posted by Lynsey at 9:33 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Turner Classic Movies will be airing an Elizabeth Taylor marathon on April 10.
posted by hippybear at 9:33 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by Leta at 9:33 AM on March 23, 2011


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I know it's standard practice to write obits for famous people ahead of time, but I was struck by the fact that the NYT Obit was writren by Mel Gussow who died in 2005.
posted by donovan at 9:34 AM on March 23, 2011 [12 favorites]


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posted by condour75 at 9:40 AM on March 23, 2011


I liked "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", but couldn't get past the fact that they eliminated all of the homosexual content, which was pretty much the whole point of the original play.
posted by Melismata at 9:42 AM on March 23, 2011


I came of age during the '80s, when Taylor's public image had sort of morphed into a tabloid joke, so it was a revelation when I finally saw Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? and learned how great she was in her prime.

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posted by The Card Cheat at 9:42 AM on March 23, 2011


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probably woefully out of context, but as Hunter Thompson would say, she really stomped the terra. The world feels a smaller suddenly, and less spectacular.
posted by philip-random at 9:44 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by Splunge at 9:44 AM on March 23, 2011


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posted by aganders3 at 9:46 AM on March 23, 2011


She cheated death so many times that to hear she has died is surprising.

RIP, Dame Elizabeth, and thank you for everything.
posted by mogget at 9:46 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by zombiehoohaa at 9:48 AM on March 23, 2011


I didn't realize she was mortal. You might as well tell me that suns expire.

If feel the same way. After she's come through so much I expected her to be around for a good bit longer.

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posted by TooFewShoes at 9:52 AM on March 23, 2011


I liked "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof", but couldn't get past the fact that they eliminated all of the homosexual content, which was pretty much the whole point of the original play.

Really? I think it's still completely apparent what the characters are talking about in the film, and I'd even disagree that it was the whole point of the play.
posted by hermitosis at 9:56 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]



posted by luminous phenomena at 9:56 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow. I was married to her for a while.
posted by bokane at 10:02 AM on March 23, 2011


I knew being married to Larry Fortensky would shorten her life.
posted by Relay at 10:05 AM on March 23, 2011


Truly a legend. I loved her best in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

If you liked the letter excerpt above and you haven't read Furious Love yet, you should.

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posted by Go Banana at 10:08 AM on March 23, 2011


Cleopatra is dead.

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posted by New England Cultist at 10:14 AM on March 23, 2011


Oh, Liz. Go be awesomely sultry in the hereafter.

She was amazing.
posted by chatongriffes at 10:15 AM on March 23, 2011


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Several years ago Margaret O'Brien spoke before a screening of Jane Eyre at LACMA and told the audience" Elizabeth is one who will always say hello".

She saved Montgomery Clift's life when he had his accident (he was choking on the teeth which had been knocked out), and put up the bond so he could be in Reflections in a Golden Eye (he died before it went into production).
posted by brujita at 10:22 AM on March 23, 2011


Many will praise her greatness in great films. But she also made great bad films, and those are always worth watching. For every Cat on a Hot Tin Roof there was a Reflections in a Golden Eye, for every Virginia Woolf there us a Secret Ceremony. She tended to like films with big themes and big characters, and this slipped over into camp and melodrama more often than not, and they were often wonderful as a result. You need somebody capable of great bigness to make a bad film really special, and nobody came bigger than Liz.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:30 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


My mom says that when I was 6 we were watching Cleoprata on TV I guess, and I told her that Elizabeth Taylor was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. Growing up, no matter who I was in love with at the time, my mom would say, "Aye, but do you think she is Elizabeth Taylor worthy," and I would say, "No, but who is." When I got married, the best moment I remember is when my mom leaned into me before the ceremony and said, "Son, you finally got your Elizabeth Taylor."

An incredible woman, who I will always remember.
posted by Senator at 10:31 AM on March 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


perhaps the only serious actress who wasn't above laughing about herself.

.
posted by krautland at 10:39 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


am actually not sad about her death. the woman had an AMAZING life and lived it to the fullest. she will forever remain an inspiration.

.
posted by liza at 10:42 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Talent, beauty, and class.

The most astounding eyes I have ever seen.

Flores para los muertos, Liz.
posted by tzikeh at 10:43 AM on March 23, 2011


In the future, when everyone has a personally selected personality and image for their windows/PC, many, including mine, will be Liz. She will live on for as long as America is around, and then maybe just a little bit longer.

.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 10:45 AM on March 23, 2011


.
posted by Gelatin at 10:59 AM on March 23, 2011


.
posted by lapolla at 11:01 AM on March 23, 2011


She was wonderful in National Velvet, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Maggie the Cat! Lordy, how she could chew the scenery!), Taming of the Shrew, Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolff, Butterfield 8: all great, all memorable. But don't forget smaller films like A Little Night Music, one of my own guilty pleasures.

I remember an interview with Ms. Taylor once, when she was asked why she kept getting married: she said she was 'just an old-fashioned girl at heart: I won't sleep with a man unless I'm married to him!'

And, of course, there's the AIDS activism, where she raised a standard few will ever come near matching. She could have ignored it, but no: the immortal Liz saw a need, and joined the fray. God speed, Ms. Taylor, and many, many thanks.
posted by easily confused at 11:30 AM on March 23, 2011


So many things to remember and thank her for, especially her wonderful and amazing willingness to speak out about HIV/AIDS when few people would; her amazing loyalty to her friends; her love of animals.

I first saw her in "National Velvet" when I was very young, and my determination to own a horse one day grew from seeing her wonderful relationship with -- and love for -- the horse in that movie. (They actually gave her the horse after shooting was completed, so I know the love was real.)

Thank you, Liz, for everything, from me and my own beautiful (if now elderly) chestnut Thoroughbred, for being one of the sparks that brought us together. My life wouldn't have been the same without him, or you.
posted by OolooKitty at 11:32 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


My first movie of hers is still my favorite: Ivanhoe.
posted by bukvich at 11:53 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't believe I have ever watched one of her movies through, so I know her only as a "public figure" in the news. But those eyes of her smoked when she was young and never cooled down. What a girl, what a life.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:01 PM on March 23, 2011


*
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:14 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


.
posted by pearlybob at 12:35 PM on March 23, 2011


I never saw her movies either (though I've seen a couple of Burton's). But in about 1999, the BBC aired an interview with her which I watched as I only knew her as this large friend of Michael Jackson, which seemed a shame. At the end, the camera panned into a still of her violet eyes.
posted by mippy at 12:42 PM on March 23, 2011


.
posted by treepour at 1:19 PM on March 23, 2011


Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? remains one of the most stunning movies I've ever seen. I had a not great home life and the sheer imploding intensity of those performances, the animal rage, the laser-focused desire on crushing the person to whom you are irrevocably bound -- I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it. But they got it exactly right. I'll always be thankful to her for reflecting my feelings in great, true art.
posted by Errant at 1:37 PM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not only an incredibly talented lady, but those eyes... oh those eyes...

...
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:48 PM on March 23, 2011


I didn't know about Liz Taylor's involvement in HIV/AIDS activism until I read this thread. Glad to hear she was a brave and compassionate human being as well as a fine actress and a glorious beauty.


.
posted by duvatney at 1:58 PM on March 23, 2011


I have to admit that I only paid attention to the things she did around the time she married Larry Fortensky. Maybe I missed the years when she was something other than kind and gracious (aside from the Battling Burtons label and the times she was off the wagon), but I've never seen any accounts other than the kinds of things people have said here: how absolutely lovely she was to people who could only sit back and gasp at her presence.

I read an interview several years ago that discussed her marriages and family. One of her children mentioned something about how "she just wants to be loved and to take care of other people." That really struck me -- how she kept hoping, time after time, that she would finally get it right. Not many people have that kind of optimism.

She was a real dame, period.

.

(Also, in what world does William Shatner turn 80 and Liz Taylor die at 79 -- at the same time?)
posted by Madamina at 2:17 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


.
posted by awesomebrad at 2:40 PM on March 23, 2011


.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:09 PM on March 23, 2011


She auctioned off the Taylor-Burton 69 carat diamond to help build a medical facility in Africa.

And she could "do comedy."

A guest appearance: Lucy Gets Elizabeth Taylor's Ring Stuck On Her Finger*

* -- The Taylor-Burton Diamond.
posted by ericb at 3:19 PM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:24 PM on March 23, 2011


she's, in fact, hilarious.

mystery challenger on What's My Line
posted by nadawi at 3:29 PM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]



She auctioned off the Taylor-Burton 69 carat diamond to help build a medical facility in Africa.

Richard Burton purchased the 69.42 carat, inch thick diamond from Cartier for $1.1 million, making it the world’s most expensive diamond at the time, and became known as the Taylor-Burton Diamond.
A humourous exchange between Elizabeth and the late Princess Margaret of England: “Is that the famous diamond? But it’s so large—how very vulgar!” “Yes,” said Elizabeth. “Ain’t it great?”
Margaret then asked to try on the huge stone. “It doesn’t look so vulgar now, does it?” remarked Elizabeth.

"Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses."

.

thanks for the memories
posted by 404 Not Found at 3:31 PM on March 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Six degrees of separation, between me and that other, wonderful Elizabeth, or make that two-
my once upon a time upstairs neighbor, Burl Ives, and Maggie the Cat--

"Are my seams straight?" Always.

.
posted by emhutchinson at 5:03 PM on March 23, 2011


:(
posted by bjgeiger at 7:39 PM on March 23, 2011


Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety

.
posted by casarkos at 11:54 PM on March 23, 2011


Gay guys my age hardly remember AIDS. We certainly weren't around to experience the decimation of the gay community. And we are too young to know Liz Taylor's work either as an actress or an activist.

I am reminded that my generation would be much better off if we did. Thanks for all the great movies and for reminding us to slip on a condom when we slip in a friend.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:04 AM on March 24, 2011


Westboro Baptist Church Plans to Protest Elizabeth Taylor's Funeral.

Darn.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:17 AM on March 24, 2011


The funeral will be private.
posted by brujita at 1:00 AM on March 24, 2011


I'm sorry, but has "private" ever stopped WBC in the past? Unfortunately, Phreaky Fred and his wacko cohort won't want to miss a big opportunity like Ms. Taylor's funeral.

I just hope her family has shoulder-to-shoulder security.....
posted by easily confused at 3:30 AM on March 24, 2011


They can't show up if they don't know where it is....unless some slimeball tells them.


WBC aside, all the accounts I've read of Mike Todd's funeral describe it as being a circus.
posted by brujita at 8:41 AM on March 24, 2011


Elizabeth Taylor has a Lady-Di level of devotion going on around her... will be interesting to see how this plays out with WBC.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 10:46 AM on March 24, 2011


.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:17 AM on March 24, 2011


An inspiring example of how to be fearlessly true to one's self...without being self-absorbed.


.
posted by quietalittlewild at 11:33 AM on March 24, 2011


Why We Must Never Forget Elizabeth Taylor
" ... Like so very many before, my generation has seen its share of death. Every crop takes on the world that it’s dealt. In the 80’s and 90’s a generation once again went to war. This time, initially the soldiers were gay people…and this war was not about bullets, bombs or battlefields. In the fall of 1981, doctors began to diagnose otherwise healthy people with pneumocystis pneumonia and within months AIDS joined the global lexicon.

Almost instantly, heroes stepped forward in a petrified grace that history will surely one-day acknowledge was a dramatic example of love. These souls, in total darkness embraced those falling all about in a faithful upholding of the promise of our promised land. This epitomized the legend that was Elizabeth Taylor.

Back then, people were dying in weeks not years. In a tortured ignorance of muck, our community would comfort those dying all about all the while having to debate health, human rights and tolerance.

It was a time for heroes. Those volunteers shaking, crying, hugging, easing brethren to death and every second trying to comprehend something that was just simply incomprehensible.

It was a terrible time. The walking dead were caring for those who were truly dying. People were really, really sick. For the first time ever, the gay community and all that meant came together. Lesbians became the first caregivers. The early heroes rallied with hotlines and fundraisers for medical care, food and shelter. Very slowly we were raising money and awareness. But damn, AIDS was the stuff of pariahs. Lord, we were an island.

Southern California and Hollywood specifically was the creator of lifestyle and arbiter of taste. Some very smart folks right here in our community knew that if we were going to gain support outside our hamlet, we would need a respected voice to bridge the fear and ignorance…This is a tribute to that voice.

There was never a time she wasn't famous. The beauty, the roles, and the husbands were legendary. When she floated into a room, she was the only star. It was a small, connected group at AIDS Project Los Angeles led by Bill Misenheimer that got her involved. She had long ago realized the power of her celebrity.

With Rock Hudson's disclosure in 1985, Elizabeth conceived the amazing benefit Commitment to Life. That first one raised over $1.3 million for APLA. They went on to do eleven of them, most produced by me. Over the years CTL attracted every major star on the planet: Streisand, Springsteen, Elton, Billy, Garth, Hanks, Janet. No one ever turned us down. That was all due to Elizabeth. She made it o.k. to lend your time and talent to people living with HIV/AIDS. Perhaps others could have led. But they didn't.

Elizabeth single handedly made the war on HIV/AIDS cool for Hollywood to embrace. She went on to amfAR and dazzled those old goats in Congress to help create the Ryan White Care Act, yet it was right here in Southern California that her personal commitment to life began. And for that, our community owes this incredible woman a debt of gratitude we can most certainly never repay. ..."
posted by ericb at 1:09 PM on March 24, 2011


"Fourteen years after Kevin Sessums spoke to Elizabeth Taylor about her AIDS activism, he offers never-before-seen outtakes from the fun, feisty interview—from her secret about James Dean to why she never wrote a memoir. Plus, Valentino, Diane von Furstenberg, and writers and AIDS activists remember the late Hollywood queen's advocacy."
posted by ericb at 1:16 PM on March 24, 2011


"I know I'm vulgar, but would you have me any other way?"

No, you weren't always nice, Liz, but you made history.

.
posted by droplet at 5:47 PM on March 24, 2011


From ericb's link:

There was a quality to her AIDS activism that was not only warrior-like but also maternal, and I confessed to her myself that afternoon that it was as if she were turning to all of us who were HIV positive and saying, as she did to Clift, in A Place in the Sun, in the cinema's most famous closeup, "Tell Mama..."

She touched my hand and stopped me. She leaned forward. "Tell Mama all..." she finished the line for me with the most fervent of whispers.

posted by marsha56 at 9:10 PM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Clift called her Bessie Mae.

The Bosworth bio quotes Burton as telling him: "Monty, she likes me, but she loves you."
posted by brujita at 10:29 PM on March 24, 2011


The world is a darker place now.
The Queen of Hollywood has died.
.
posted by Goofyy at 2:40 AM on March 25, 2011


As was her request, Elizabeth Taylor was 15-minutes late to her funeral.
posted by ericb at 1:31 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apparently, wbc was foiled.
posted by brujita at 2:05 PM on March 25, 2011


I don't know if anyone is still reading this thread or not...

But if you are, I found the Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? Dialogue Soundtrack Album is available for those who want it.
posted by hippybear at 7:50 PM on March 27, 2011


Whoa! hippybear! Thanks!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:12 PM on March 27, 2011


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