Legacy: Elizabeth Taylor, More Than Our National Violet

RIP Dame Elizabeth

It was imminent, forthcoming really (too often, her near death experiences and hospital visits were the fodder for tabloid headlines and sickening TMZ-style sleazeball journalism all but proclaiming her demise) but it’s still a sad day in Hollywood and the world of cinema.

I can say nothing that a thousand far superior writers can, have and will about Dame Elizabeth – who has left us today at the age of 79.  She was one of the last of the great Hollywood icons, a true “movie star”, something that’s been lacking in the movies these last few decades. She certainly was and remains a revered actress (the too-often tossed around lapel “legend” actually applies to her), winning two Oscars for Best Actress (still an elite club) for 1960s BUTTERFIELD 8 and 1966s WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF.

She was also a great and peerless humanitarian….

After helping initiate amfAR, in 1991 Taylor founded the The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF), which has raised countless millions of dollars for research. Her impetus was due to the death of her longtime friend, Rock Hudson, who succumbed to the disease in 1985. Her work for equality and understanding during the tumultuous beginnings of AIDS was profoundly tireless. Besides her two aforementioned Oscar wins and three other nominees (for 1957s RAINTREE COUNTY, 1958s CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, 1959s SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER) she was awarded the Jean Herscholt Humanitarian Academy Award in 1992 for her prodigious charitable work. It wasn’t enough to merely raise funds – she embraced her role fearlessly, understanding that  while money was an absolute necessity, education and knowledge were the missing ingredients, and knowing it takes power to educate the uneducated mass.

Also one of the most beautiful women the movies (and world, really) has ever seen, Taylor’s natural, gorgeous violet eyes stunned the world into submission upon first arrival, and her magnificent beauty captivated fans for decades. They grew with Taylor, and every generation has succumbed to her charms and iconicity.

Rest In Peace, Dame Elizabeth. Will there ever be another like you?

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