She grew up in the spotlight; we grew up watching her. She was an original.
Could you imagine Jennifer Aniston becoming friends with Angelina Jolie, the woman who stole her husband and plastered her humiliation on every publication in the world? That’s what it was like when Eddie Fisher abandoned Debbie Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor. And yet…today Debbie Reynolds remembered the last conversation she had with her friend Elizabeth.
Could be it’s the mellowing of age, or it could be an example of the extraordinary Elizabeth Taylor.
She embodied impossible contrasts—fragile yet strong; old-fashioned yet modern; bawdy yet elegant; a man’s woman and a girls’ girl—someone men could imagine as a fantasy and women could imagine as a friend.
Next to her stunning natural beauty, today’s goddesses seem artificially manufactured. Elizabeth Taylor was the real deal.
A product of the Hollywood system since she was a child, it’s impossible to imagine her playing by today’s rules, obeying some stylist who insisted her colors were too bright, her makeup too much, her jewels too big, her behavior too brazen. She always pulled it off—remaining herself to the core.
Along with her passion, she had compassion. She stood up for AIDS, changing the landscape before everyone was wearing ribbons, before there was Saint Angelina, before every star was attached to a good cause.
She turned her image on its head and let it all hang out in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf-– before stars won Oscars for taking off their makeup.
She was a diva who could also adapt and roll with the punches—and she absorbed punches that could have knocked down a lesser woman.
Maybe most of all, she was a survivor—through scandal and health crises and close calls that marked her life. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to imagine that she’s gone. Somehow it feels like the end of an era. She embodied the word STAR—and there will never be another one like Elizabeth Taylor.