A talented actress, activist, beauty icon, successful business woman, philanthropist, movie star...Elizabeth Taylor went by many titles throughout her lifetime but even after her passing many are still left with the question; Who was Elizabeth Taylor really? A recent article from the New York Times points out that Taylor did not come from a time like we live in now where media outlets like TMZ, Perez Hilton, personal blogs and other websites are dedicated to spreading celebrity gossip and news the second it happens. This may be the reason we are left with such a strong impression of the actress, but at the same time remain aware of a sense of mystery surrounding her life.
When Elizabeth Taylor was in the prime of her acting career, movie studios were known to protect the anonymity of their stars more than they do today, allowing the press only to see what they wanted them to. This is not true today where stars like Lindsey Lohan and Britney Spears can’t go to the local coffee house without a brigade of paparazzi following them, just waiting for them to say or do something that may stir up controversy. Somehow, Taylor was able to marry seven men, have numerous affairs, collect diamonds like they were going out of style, go through treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, cuss like a sailor and still remain well-respected and America’s sweetheart.
In some respects, her past was more controversial than a lot of today’s “tabloid” performers yet that is not what we think of when we remember Taylor. Part of the reason for this may be the time she came from, but she also gained a lot respect through her early and long-standing dedication to AIDS research. She was one of the first celebrities to adopt the cause and even went before the senate in 1986 to testify about AIDS and the research that needed to be done. The AIDS work she did, through the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation she founded, continues to benefit many people and will perhaps remain the most important legacy she leaves us.
What was your impression of the life of Elizabeth Taylor and what did you think of her passing?
Do you think it is more difficult to be a celebrity today than it was in Elizabeth Taylor’s time?