Feature writing


Elizabeth Taylor: The star who loved us

Attitude magazine

May 1, 2011


Elizabeth Taylor wryly recognised her roller-coaster life had been played out in the glare of a million flashbulbs. She said she would like to have inscribed on her tombstone,”Here lies Elizabeth. She hated being called Liz. But she lived.”

She would not have been surprised that when she died of congestive heart failure, aged 79 on 23 March 2011, the media went doolally. Clips from her most famous films (Cleopatra, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?) played. The tributes dropped in delicious detail: the jewels, the eight husbands, the two marriages to Richard Burton, the pictures of her fiery, intense beauty, and then older, her weight fluctuating, the illnesses more debilitating, the public appearances in wheelchairs more frequent.

In the coverage of her death, Taylor’s passionate advocacy around AIDS was relegated to a polite footnote. However, according to those closest to her, she considered this to be her greatest achievement. The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) still exists, administering grants to organisations, and Attitude has learnt that it will continue to do so, overseen by family members. A sale of the actress’s effects, including jewellery will also benefit AIDS charities.


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