Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor dead at 79 of congestive heart failure

Wikipedia: Taylor photographed for
Argentinian Magazine in 1947
Actress Elizabeth Taylor, sometimes referred to as "the last movie star," died today in Los Angeles. She won two Best Actress Oscars, for Butterfield 8 and Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?

She is survived by her four children, Michael Howard Wilding and Christopher Edward Wilding, Elizabeth Frances Todd and Maria Burton.

One of her last interviews, to, was in late 2010. Promoting her fragrance Violet Eyes, she shared 25 things she felt people didn't know about her:
 1. Before I made films, I had a lemonade stand in Southern California.

2. When José Eber is out of town, I love to cut my hair and anyone else's.

9. The film I'm proudest of is Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

13. My very first memory is of pain.

14. I'm still heartbroken that Richard [Burton] never won an Oscar.

15. I am sincerely not worried about getting old.

16. I never tried to act until A Place in the Sun.

24. My dog Delilah is in love with my cat Fang. To each his own.

25. My family and people with HIV/AIDS are my life.
Aksarbent vividly remembers Taylor's bravura real live performance with then-husband Sen. John Warner of Virginia at the Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia where, clutching her bible, she managed to listen to Jerry Falwell talk shit from the pulpit while simultaneously maintaining a mien of attentiveness, respect and decorum.

Taylor was born in North London to an art dealer and an actress from Arkansas City, Kansas. She had a mutation that caused double rows of eyelashes, which enhanced her appearance on camera.

Wikipedia chronicled her love of jewelry:
Over the years she owned a number of well-known pieces, two of the most talked-about being the 33.19-carat (6.64 g) Krupp Diamond and the 69.42-carat (13.88 g) pear-shaped Taylor-Burton Diamond, which were among many gifts from husband Richard Burton. Taylor also owned the 50-carat (10 g) La Peregrina Pearl, purchased by Burton as a Valentine's Day present in 1969. The pearl was formerly owned by Mary I of England, and Burton sought a portrait of Queen Mary wearing the pearl. Upon the purchase of such a painting, the Burtons discovered that the British National Portrait Gallery did not have an original painting of Mary, so they donated the painting to the Gallery.
Taylor's worst press came when she was accused of being a home wrecker after having an affair with Debbie Reynold's husband, Eddie Fischer. Reynolds described her discovery of the affair to London's Daily Mail:
Lonely at home, while Eddie was away on tour, she telephoned her best friend Elizabeth Taylor at her hotel for a chat.
     To her great shock, Fisher answered.
     'Suddenly, a lot of things clicked into place,' she recalls. 'I could hear her voice asking him who was calling - they were obviously in bed together. I yelled at him, "Roll over, darling and let me speak to Elizabeth".
     Fisher slammed the receiver down and rushed home for a face-to-face confrontation. 'I'm sorry,' he told her. 'Elizabeth and I are in love and I want a divorce.'
Taylor was a tireless fundraiser for AIDS/HIV causes and was one of the first celebrities to do so. Shortly after the disclosure that Rock Hudson was struggling with HIV, she appeared with Burt Lancaster, Shirley MacClaine, Burt Reynolds and other celebrities at an L.A. Benefit to fight the disease.

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