My Personal Elizabeth Taylor Memories
My personal story on how I became familiar with Elizabeth Taylor.
I am too young to have known who Elizabeth Taylor was when she was ruling Hollywood and lighting up the big screen. For me – and I’m sure many people of my generation – she was often just this woman who Michael Jackson wanted to look like, who had several fragrances and who our parents raved about. I guess you might say I never got her, never understood why everyone said she was so gorgeous and I never really cared to find out.
I also have to say that I am typically not a fan of older movies, such as the Elizabeth Taylor classics. I find most of them, even the so called classics, to be overacted, melodramatic and just not very well done. There are a lot of reasons for this including the reality that the movie as an art form was still developing as was screen acting, writing and so on when these movies were made. Still, whatever the reason, I didn’t get it.
Then I started dating this girl named Dee and Dee loved older movies. One night she showed me Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and I got it. Elizabeth Taylor oozed sex, frustration and beauty. I could see then why she was a movie star and why so many men fawned over her. I could see why men wanted to be with her and women wanted to be her. We also watched Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which showed a completely different side to her talent and furthered my appreciation for her.
However it wasn’t her roles on screen that impressed me most about Elizabeth Taylor it was her willingness to share illness with the public. It is no secret that she had been ill for some time before passing away today. She never shied away from it. Yes, she would defy it and if someone claimed she was so sick she was close to death she would often go on TV or to the press and refute it, but being sick, often wheelchair bound, never kept her from doing as she pleased. Many people withdraw from the public eye in times of illness, but Taylor still made appearances. In 2007, three years after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure she actually appeared on stage in the play Love Letters in order to raise $1 million dollars for her AIDS foundation. In the last few months of her life she did become more reclusive, but she has shown us that a person can be sick and still have dignity. She never asked for sympathy, she just lived her life. That is the Elizabeth Taylor I am most acquainted with.
There have been reports that she was near death for several years now and her health problems had been getting worse and worse in the past few years so it was no real surprise when I saw this morning that she had passed away. I will miss her, but more I will miss the memory of what she has given me. The great ones transport you to a place and time. When you hear a great song it often takes you to a certain memory – a time or place in your life where that song almost acts as your personal soundtrack. Movies do the same. There are movies that bring back parts of your life and that you associate with certain events. For me Elizabeth Taylor takes me back to laying on Dee’s couch with my arm around her as the world around us faded away and we just relaxed, enjoyed the moment and watched one of the best that ever lived do her thing on the screen. With a Elizabeth Taylor’s passing, a little bit of that memory goes with her, but I let them both go with a smile knowing that my life is better, richer and more complete have had then both in it even if only for a short time.
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