Favorites List --- Elizabeth Taylor
A few weeks ago, I read something to the effect that Elizabeth Taylor had an explosive tell-all memoir sealed in a bank vault of unknown locale, and upon her death, it would be unearthed for right-away publication. Could anyone blow the lid off Hollywood so completely as Liz? News of her death came over a drug store fountain's TV halfway through my foot-long hot dog. Everyone in the place set down forks to watch. We'll hear more about this Last Star's legacy before a week (or day) is out. TCM already sent a mass e-mail announcing tribute nights. Taylor stayed longer than you'd expect of a glamour name with so much offscreen baggage. Where was life-saving difference in way she handled personal travails as compared with a Marilyn Monroe broken by her own? What ET experienced in this life would not be believed if we knew just the half of it. That's why I really hope there's a book where it's all gotten down for what I'm sure would be a more than eager readership.
Taylor's best friends were said to be those best at keeping secrets. Who could a person in her position trust? There must have been a score who gained confidence, then betrayed it. Imagine unerring eye she developed for users and their agendas. And did anyone get closer to so many doomed personalities? There's James Dean, Montgomery Clift, Rock Hudson to start, plus others I've doubtless forgot. Taylor never sat for a career interview (did she?), I guess for fear they'd harp on personal stuff, for which you'd not fault her reticence, but then there'd be surprise of participation in Paramount's A Place In The Sun DVD, where she spoke of Monty Clift with insight and affection. Such was exception she'd make to No Press rules chiseled in rock from madness of a Liz-Dick era unknown to generations after and near-forgot by those of us around during tabloid hysteria.
I always wonder if stars look at their old movies. Laid up as she mostly was toward the end, did ET finally revisit a lifetime's screen work? Must have been several the actress barely recalled doing. If not for TCM, would most be seen anywhere? To younger folk, Elizabeth Taylor was eldest support for Michael Jackson, if that. She stayed prominent through the 60's of Burton and Cleopatra, continued marrying through a disco 70's, remained famous for having been so famous through decades since. Taylor never had to worry about outliving legend as did others still around long past a public's recognition. Will Liz as definitive face and fashion of a gone era capture a generation groping for something like her style? Think of Audrey Hepburn stepping down runways from beyond. And Marilyn Monroe, known better today for still, rather than moving, images. Now that Elizabeth Taylor's past frailty and age, might there be icon status more lasting than these and even fame she knew during life?