By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Taylor, 79, Forever Young On Film
What can one say?
Her last theatrical film appearance was in The Flintstones, harkening – though surely unexpectedly – to her earliest work as a child actor, 52 years earlier.
I met Taylor in 1980, when she was in the stage show, The Little Foxes. The breathlessness around her in Miami was astounding. I knew who and what she was, but this was the first time I had encountered a pop star reaction by people over 50.
I was 16. And was more interested in her co-star Maureen Stapleton, And before that, Mercedes McCambridge, who had turned up in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I was not being an acting snob. I just never really “got” Elizabeth Taylor.
But many millions did.
Her film career really peaked just two years after my birth, in 1966′s Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Wolff?. After that, she was really more famous for being famous than anything else. And in many ways, that may have been the case for much of her career. Marriages, White Diamonds, Michael Jackson, AIDS benefits…. even Cleopatra is a better story (helping bring down a studio) than a movie… even the first Oscar she won – an achievement peopple felt she was entilted to and would not earn on merit – was for the forgettable Butterfiield 8.
I guess it was the exception proving the rule, but perhaps even more, her personal tenacity, that ended up finding her a second Oscar for Wolff, in a role no one knew she had in her, just 6 years later. Maybe it was that drive that made her and the eyes and the body greater than the sum of its parts.
Did she live too long to end up on the same cloud with her once co-star James Dean, friend Michael Jackson, Marilyn, and Elvis? Only time will tell.