There was no other beauty in the world like Elizabeth Taylor. She influenced millions of creative souls over her lifetime, including mine and she will be missed. And while the earlier part of her life she may be remembered for her remarkable beauty (who will ever forget those violet eyes?) and landmark performances in movies like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff? and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, its the work she embarked on later in life, that she found as her calling. Back in the day when most people, especially celebrities, were afraid to even acknowledge the AIDS epidemic, Elizabeth tackled it head on, bringing help and awareness globally to those who needed it. She was key in the founding of AMfAR and her foundation, The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation has raised over $12,000,000 to date in funding and grants are awarded to organizations to help prevent the spread of AIDS, the treatment and care of those affected by HIV/AIDS, and for research to fight the disease.
Elizabeth’s start in the industry was before the throw away era we currently live in. And thank God for that! Although, I doubt she would have had any trouble making her mark no matter what era she had lived in. Back then careers were developed over time and unless you were the kind of artist that imploded from the pressures of stardom, you didn’t have a built in sell-by-date. Elizabeth Taylor understood how the business worked and she created a lot of “firsts” in order to grow her “brand”. She was the first actress to create and launch her own designer fragrance, with White Diamonds being the best-selling celebrity fragrance of all time – 20 years after its launch. She was an untouchable. She had her dramas, scandals and diamonds galore. And of course, all those marriages. But she also had something else. She had backbone and strength, loyalty and a sense of humor which she applied to all aspects of her life. She had moxie. Whether it be AIDS awareness support, to standing by her friends (she had Michael Jackson’s back during the height of all his press troubles) to her Children’s food projects, she threw herself into the deep end, willingly and wholeheartedly. It takes more than just being beautiful to be the kind of woman that ELizabeth Taylor was. I hope I am around for the sweet young thing that has what it takes to carry her torch. But there may simply never be another person as dynamic and fiercely loyal to the dignity of human life as Elizabeth Taylor. Her actions and her words spoke volumes to the woman she was. We should aspire to be a little more like her and a little less reality-obsessed and perhaps we will find the balance we so desperately need in our society today. Until then, we’ll all just have to make do with the memorable moments that represent everything that she was.
From her closest friends Liz Minnelli: “She was a true star, because she not only had beauty and notoriety; Elizabeth Taylor had talent. As a friend she was always, always there for me. I’ll miss her for the rest of my life, but I was so lucky to have known her.” and Elton John “We have just lost a Hollywood giant, but more importantly we have lost an incredible human being.”
To donate to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS foundations visit: http://www.elizabethtayloraidsfoundation.org/
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