I was in a news blackout when Elizabeth Taylor died at 79 Wednesday. The first I heard of it was seeing somebody reading USA Today at a coffee shop in Miami. I treasured the headline, "The biggest star ever?" because there are so few enduring celebrities anymore.
God knows Liz was far from a pure presence: stealing her best friend Debbie Reynolds' husband Eddie Fisher among eight marriages and seven divorces, her bobbing weight issues, trips to the Betty Ford Center for various addictions. In a word, she was fabulous.
Taylor also left a legacy of 100 movie roles, was a worthy friend to the gays—not only maintaining life-long friendships with Montgomery Clift and Rock Hudson—but also raising millions of dollars via her Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, formed in 1991.
And of course she made "Giant" with my hero James Dean in 1956, the last of his three films (with "East of Eden" and "Rebel Without A Cause"). He died in a car accident before the film was released, earning his second Oscar nomination for the role.
She told TV Guide her motto in life was "the more the better." She certainly lived life to the fullest, through so many highs and lows. There will never be another quite like dame Elizabeth. R.I.P.
With good buddy and tortured soul Montgomery Clift.Paul Newman and Liz in "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof," where he played a closeted homo.Easily her most bombastic role in "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Wolff?" with Richard Burton. Art imitates life.Ever a friend to the gays.