Wednesday, March 23, 2011

God has another most beautiful angel

When Audrey Hepburn died, Elizabeth Taylor said, "God has a most beautiful new angel."

Elizabeth Taylor died this morning, and as my friend Amy would say, "that's some heck of a team God is putting together up there."

If you're not an old movie buff like moi, your idea of Liz Taylor is probably incomplete. Husbands out the yin yang, weight gain, weight loss, weight gain, pills, rehab, crazy hair. Perfume shiller. Maybe you even think of her as an AIDS research advocate and fund raiser extraordinaire.

Personally, she was also known for being an extraordinary friend. By all accounts, she saved Montgomery Clift's life after his car accident near her home, climbing through a back window because the doors were too mangled to open and reaching into his mouth to pull out loose teeth that were blocking his airway. She continued to care for him, renting a suite at the Chateau Marmont for his recovery and doing her part to see that he continued to work in Hollywood.

Indelibly linked to AIDS and AIDS research, she was inspired to campaign for the cause when another friend, Rock Hudson, announced he was suffering from the disease. Against the advice of friends and publicists, Elizabeth went ahead and became the face and voice for a disease that at the time, no one wanted even to discuss, let alone acknowledge the scale of the threat it posed.

Professionally, Elizabeth Taylor won two Academy Awards for acting (for "BUtterfield 8" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"). One of the last fixtures of "Old Hollywood," she was almost so un-really gorgeous, it's sometimes hard to see her performances past her face, but they're there. Everyone has their favorites, but for me, it's

National Velvet (I don't care, I love that movie)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Paul and Liz in the same movie? Need I say more?)
A Place in the Sun (when Montgomery Clift was almost as beautiful as Liz)
Suddenly, Last Summer (though really, it's Katherine Hepburn in that movie who is so riveting — can you say twisted and obsessed? Brrrrr.)
and Giant. Not because I should, but because I actually do. And also because in it, Dennis Hopper plays Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson's son. Who knew?
(By the way, the average RT score for those movies? 94.4. Nice going, Elizabeth.)

Albert Einstein said "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity." Feels like Elizabeth Taylor was here not even a minute.

1 comment:

Mike said...

That was an incredibly vivid and moving obit for Elizabeth Taylor, I don't think anyone has written a better one.