The Ultimate Dame | Elizabeth Taylor
By: Callye Peyrovi
Hollywood’s most legendary leading lady, Elizabeth Taylor, passes at age 79 from ongoing health issues related to congestive heart failure. She was with her four children at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.
“Though she had recently suffered a number of complications, her condition had stabilized and it was hoped that she would be able to return home. Sadly, this was not to be,” Taylor’s publicist said.
Often remembered for her whirlwind public love affairs, Taylor offered so much more to her generation than continuously publicized romances. Starring in a string of headlining movies and beginning as a child star, Taylor snagged 2 Academy Awards, 5 nominations and was the first female actress in history to be paid one million dollars for a single film.
“My mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest with great passion, humor, and love. ” Michael Wilding said on Good Morning America.”
During Hollywood’s Golden Age of actors being signed to major studios, [prior to the modern-day independent set up], Taylor set the standard of what it meant to be a celebrity, gilding herself into pure Hollywood Royalty. The British-American actress catapulted into international superstardom and became the single most photographed person of her time along side of those such as Grace Kelley. She was, in short, the ultimate object of tabloid affection.
Long before “Brangelina” there was Liz & Dick and no nonsensical conjunction of their names was needed to show it. She and Richard Burton coined the term “on-set romance”, after winning him over, while filming Cleopatra in 1963. They were the first internationally recognized Hollywood love scandal, largely in part due to them filming in Italy. Images of the torrid love affair leaked around the globe, ultimately creating the niche for what is now known as paparazzi. The lavish spending sprees, having their favorite American cuisine flown cross-continent and drinking binges in Italian villas were to say the least of their toxicity toward one another. In 2010 Taylor handed private love letters between her and Burton to Vanity Fair describing their tumultuous relationship after being married and divorced twice.
“I don’t pretend to be an ordinary housewife,” Taylor once said.
With 8 marriages in total and despite the lusting addiction she and Burton had for one another, the love of her life was said to be husband Michael Todd, who died in a plane crash.
Burton courted Taylor with countless carats of diamonds creating her one on the most coveted personal jewelry collections in the world. His first purchase for her was a 33.19 carat Asscher-cut Krupp diamond that she wore as a ring in which Larry King admired on his show while interviewing Taylor. “Where does one get a ring that big,” King asked? Taylor then appropriately replied “Richard.” His largest gift to her by far was a 69.42 carat pear shaped necklace known as the Taylor-Burton diamond. Taylor’s love for jewelry later stemmed into her designing her own pieces and having numerous books published about her knack for gems. “Big girls need big diamonds,” Taylor said.
Upon the AID’s epidemic, it was Taylor who urged people to become more involved after loosing her dear friend Rock Hudson to the disease. She approached the President and assisted in creating the American Foundation for AID’S Research or amfAR and devoted much effort to cause.
She shared a deep bond with the late King of Pop Michael Jackson due to her being one of the only people who could grasp what he experienced as being the most famous man on the planet. “The purest, most giving love” was how she described their decades of friendship. Taylor supported Jackson throughout his trial and was deeply distraught about his passing. “My life feels so empty, I don’t think anyone knew how much we loved each other,” Taylor said after his death. She also was the godmother to two of his children.
Taylor battled a series of ailments including a brain tumor and was no stranger to loss and heartache. She lived a fruitful life on Earth by serving as a fashion trendsetter, cosmetics mogul, philanthropist and eternal icon as “The Most Beautiful Woman In The World.”
“Although her loss is devastating to those who held her so close and so dear, we will always be inspired by her contributions to our world,” Wilding said. ♦ Callye Peyrovi