Friday, March 25, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor's eerie interview with Johnny Carson: 'I've been pronounced dead...I've read my own obituaries. They were the best reviews I ever had.'

From Elizabeth Taylor's only interview (in 1992) with Johnny Carson:

On dying:

Taylor: I've almost died a couple of times. I've been pronounced dead.
Carson: That's true. It was in London, were you not?
Taylor: I've read my own obituaries. They were the best reviews I ever had.

On Marriages:

Carson: I've often made jokes about mine...
Taylor: And mine too...
Carson: If marriage was a giant slalom, I'm a bronze medal winner. And you're a gold medal winner, right?
...Recently, it seems that older women are marrying younger men. In your case, that's the way it worked.
Taylor: Well, no... See, my men have stayed the same age... I used to marry men 20 years older — and they've stayed the same age. You know, around 40. I like it.
Carson: Did you ever think...of marrying a comedian?
Taylor: They were, most of them, comedians...
Carson: I was married to a Pisces once.
Taylor: I'm sure you were.

On live audiences:

Carson: When you went on tour... you felt uncomfortable working in front of live audiences. Now most people would find that strange, because you've been in front of audiences, in a way, all your life.
Taylor: Well, no because the camera is, in a sense, like an eye, but it's only one... I never have been on your show because I thought I'd be terrified of an audience [in Shirley Temple voice] AND YOU'RE REALLY NOT SCARY AT ALL!
Carson: Come and try the monologue some night. You'll find out.

On Michael Jackson:

Taylor: Until about two months ago, he kept saying to me: "Oh, God, I just loved your performance in Jane Eyre!" I said "Jane Eyre! I was 11 years old! Michael, I have grown up." He finally saw "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and he said "I was very impressed." and I said "Thank you Michael. Now I can play other records than 'ABC.' "

On Louis B. Mayer (the second "M" in MGM) and her clout as a movie star:

Taylor: ...I realized there was a certain value to this commodity called Elizabeth Taylor when I told L.B. Mayer, who was swearing at my mother and using words that I really have never heard before...
Carson: He was a tyrant, wasn't he?
Taylor: Oh, he was foaming at the mouth and carrying on like a lunatic and he was swearing at her and being so abusive and I jumped up with tears pouring down my face and said, "You and your studio can both go to hell!" and I stormed out of his...
Carson: How old were you?
Taylor: 15.
Carson: And you told that to Louis B. Mayer!
Taylor: ...And that kind of made me realize, when they didn't fire me, that this commodity must have some value to them, otherwise I would have been sacked.

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