I got out of yoga this morning around 10 a.m. ET and had four texts telling me Liz died. I have to admit I teared up a bit when I called my mom about it after that. One of my professors even said he was surprised I wasn’t wearing all black today. No, Elizabeth Taylor isn’t one of my all time favorite actresses. She isn’t one of the actresses I’m trying to see all of her movies, but only because I don’t care to see most of late 1960s, 1970s and 1980s films. I have seen all of her movies made up until the early 1960s.
I’m not going to go on about how Liz was married so many times. Or her work for AIDS, though I admire her work that she did for her friend Rock Hudson. I just plain want to celebrate Liz’s life and career.
She first caught our attention as Priscilla, Nigel Bruce’s granddaughter in “Lassie Come Home” (1943). She stole our hearts-and kept them for decades- with her sparkling blue-purple eyes, adorable smile and her plead to her grandfather to keep Lassie the collie in his dog kennels. Originally wanted for the role of Bonnie Blue Butler in “Gone with the Wind,” Taylor’s father wanted to keep her out of movies, however, I wonder if he anticipated how big a star she would become.
Taylor was one of the few actors who gracefully transitioned from child actor to teenager to successful adult actor. She was allowed to look like a grown up young lady in “A Date with Judy” with green eye shadow, grown up gowns and older Robert Stack. Jane Powell, who was still the same age, said she was a little jealous of this as she still dressed like a teenager in the film.
Miss Taylor grew up quickly. Taylor went from a sophisticated young woman to a sexy, shapely and independent woman in the mid and late 1950s.
I think Liz looked her prettiest in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and then, for me, she started to go downhill. She started gaining weight, the 1960s began and movies started to change. I start to lose interest in her films once you get past “Butterfield 8.” “The Sandpiper” is lousy, “The VIPs” is star studded but overly dramatic and I couldn’t even finish “The Comedians” out of boredom. However, I haven’t seen “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” yet, but I have it taped and plan to watch it when I get the chance.
My favorite movies of Taylor’s are “Giant”, “A Date with Judy,” “Cynthia” and “Father of the Bride,” but there are so many other great ones. She is a great bratty, selfish Amy in “Little Women” and looks beautiful in “Ivanhoe,” especially the white dress she wears. “Father of the Bride” and “Father’s Little Dividend” are family favorites at my house. My dad is the only man in our family (3 daughters, mom and our female dachshund) so he sympathizes with Spencer Tracy.
Elizabeth Tayor was the last really big super star of the Golden Era. Though Doris Day, Lauren Bacall and Esther Williams are still living, they aren’t on the same scale as Miss Taylor. Taylor was Hollywood royalty with her highly publicized life and two Oscar winning roles. No one was quite like her or ever will be.
So I bow down to the last royalty of the Golden Age. Farewell, Miss Taylor. You will be greatly missed.
I leave you with a funny side of Liz on “What’s My Line” from 1954 when she was pregnant with one of her children: