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A great STAR, but what a mess!
An extraordinarily willful woman who desperately needed a strong man and found one in Mike Todd. His death set her adrift again. No other man, including Richard Burton, could provide that strong hand. That is the essential story of her life. Her place in movie history is important but secondary.
She never did that much for me. Audrey Hepburn was more my style.RIP Liz
Loved her on Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
No replacement in sight either.RIP Elizabeth Taylor
Those eyes...Burton and Taylor in CLeopatra, Virginia Woolf, Butterfield 8. Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Katherine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn are the archetypical women in movies. None can match them in todays movies. Not even close.RIP Elizabeth Taylor.
By the time I was old enough to be aware of movie stars she was already past her '50's prime, so my first impression of her was from Who's afraid of Virginia Wolff Not a great visual impression but I was definitely impressed with her acting.Only later did I see her '50's films. For me, the young Elizabeth Taylor indelible image is Maggie, in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"
I'm not that young but mostly for me she was just a weird celebrity.
Liz Taylor was known to me entirely as a supermarket tabloid headline.
Who played the horse in National Velvet?
Marking your life by celebrity obituaries is pretty weird.Because when you really think about it, Liz Taylor had absolutely nothing to do with my life or your life.The celebrity is sort of an fake family member.Whether she was a goddess... who in the hell knows except for the men involved with her?
All women are actresses.Best actress doesn't look at a large enough field, is the trouble.
Bigger news in my world...Pinetop Perkins, who replaced Otis Spahn as piano player in the great Muddy Waters bands of the 60s and 70s died yesterday.I actually met and shook hands with Perkins back in the small club days in Chicago.Saw him play at a community college in NY a couple of years ago.Perkins was 97. He was one of the last of the great Delta bluesman. That era has passed.
Certainly the greatest entrance, ever:Cleopatra enters Rome.
All women are actresses.LOL (well, chuckle quietly, anyway). Very true. Of course all men are actors."All the world's a stage...."
Penny was okay in Sky King, though she lacked character development.She flew a Cessna 140, apparently not having earned a multi-engine rating.
I never understood her relationship with Michael Jackson......Larry, the construction guy....Richard Burton...Richard Burton, again....and a cast of others.At some time, you gotta sit down, and reflect. What the hell am I looking for??
I never understood her relationship with Michael Jackson......Larry, the construction guy....Richard Burton...Richard Burton, again....and a cast of others.Well, the Burton thing appears to have been genuine lust. He was an Welsh drunk. That's always attractive to the ladies. And, they acted together in movies. That's an aphrodisiac in itself.What's hard to understand about that?
"All women are actresses."Ha. I think Erich von Stroheim would agree with you, but he'd be slightly more. . .direct.And, ST, I quite agree with you about "marking your life by celebrity obituaries." I didn't know ET, she didn't know me, and I suspect neither of us would have liked the other had we met (from everything I've read about her, La Liz was, at bottom, a spoilt, petulant brat). I'm probably one of ten people in the world other than the Mankewicz family who likes "Cleopatra," and I never cared for her in anything else.However - she was a link to an older, more glamorous (and, frankly, more admirable) Hollywood, even if most of her work was done while the grand studio system collapsed around her ears.
However - she was a link to an older, more glamorous (and, frankly, more admirable) Hollywood, even if most of her work was done while the grand studio system collapsed around her ears.Odd to think about it, but Taylor worked in an era when the classy actresses didn't pose naked and spread eagled for the cameras.Enhances her status and memory in an odd way, doesn't it.
Whoops - I posted without really coming to a conclusion.In "Sunset Boulevard," Max the butler calls Norma Desmond "the greatest star of them all," and we believe it, even if all we see of her 'career' is a clip from an uncredited "Queen Kelly." It is Norma's personality and presence that allow us to believe this woman could have been queen of the Paramount lot.Similarly, Taylor, though not a great actress ("Woolf" probably the closest she came to a rounded character, IMHO), was a STAR - a grand personality who commanded a room despite the fact that there were dozens of actresses in Hollywood who could run rings around her, thespian-wise.Self-possession, self-confidence, presence. A WOMAN, in all senses of the term. Not a pallid wraith like Chloe Sevigny or a dull, workaday nonentity like Jennifer Anniston.
I'm with Lem. I didn't realize how beautiful she was until I saw that movie (only about 10 years ago). Never gave her much thought before that.
I loved her. She was all actress all of the time She gave a great acting job to whatever film she appeared in and to whomever she was giving herself in a marriage. I especially liked her in Giant. We may never see that beauty and talent mixture again, especially since abortions are decimating the girls before their talents and beauty can be seen.
No replacement in sight either.What? You mean Liz's shoes are too big for Jennifer Aniston????
My initial reaction was: "I thought she was dead years ago."I obviously don't pay much attention to entertainment news.
Joaquin,What a mess!That's the definition of a "goddess" - someone who somehow walked the earth but took flight by not keeping her legs closed. Now put her dead "goddess" ass in the ground, she's done.The Macho Response.P.S.Anymore talk of "goddesses" around here and I'm going to wreck the funeral, too. BTW, Elizabeth Taylor deserves to be buried between Michael Jackson and Bubbles the chimp. Check it out.
Yo Crack!So who in the Crack Book is a "goddess"?
Bubbles the chimp.
RIP Always thought her acting strained at best.Beautiful actress Irene Papas
I changed my mind:There's a "goddess".
She never did that much for me. Same here. By the time I was into movies there was a whole new set of sex symbols: Bridget Bardot, Raquel Welch, etc.
Cleopatra. My only real awareness of her.Beautiful face. Great bosom. So-so everything else.Weak speaking voice, weak actress.Agree with lemondog on Irene Papas. She really steamed up the screen in "Guns of Navarone" when she set her cap on Tony Quinn and all she did was say, "Mr. Stavrou, I like you".Crack, see your point, but the real goddess is the one running the blog.WV "bareasou" What Liz was in Cleo.
`and her life mattered because . . . . . . ?`
Hmm - I think Blogger ate my post. So I'll make it short.Crack - you're too hard on the woman.Brent - many more people have done more for the world than Elizabeth Taylor. But I quote to you what the NYT said in 1955 when it eulogized the legendary vamp Theda Bara: "she took other people's minds off their troubles; is that not a tribute worth having?"
Please do not mistake my question as anything more than the question - the question does not represent any opinion about her at all.
To todays 20 somethings she was the old Star of Something..that hung around with Perv Whack Jacko.Supposedly, next to Bubbles the Chimp and McCauley Coughlin, "Liz" was Michael Jackson's favorite person.--------------Not on my list of all-time great actresses, but that is a matter of taste. IMO, the British and Euro actresses of the old 50s and 60s films were better than the American Actresses. And aside from a young Jane Fonda, better looking.
She was the most beautiful woman. Gosh! RIP.
I'm stunned, just stunned. When I read today's tabloidy news stories of Brad and Angelina swanning around the world, adopting Malian babies, brandishing their latest love tattoos, I get physically sick to my stomach. If I had been born around Althouse's time, I would've witnessed a REAL MOVIE COUPLE in Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, descending chaotically to Morocco with a platoon of papparazzi from Paris Match, Oggi and Frau im Bild following them and their 67 pieces of luggage, with not a bloody tattoo in sight.They fell in love, they married, fought, they separated, they made up, they divorced, and then they did it all over again!Sure, yes, absolutely, she was a mess. A wreck. Probably remembered in public by our generation as the star whose witch cackle voice screeched, "Marriage? (pronounced 'Mawwidggggee') Nooooooo!! ...now, I'm going to howl", which she did.But what an grand, glamourous mess she was, my God. She did things at a scale which reinforce in our minds how bourgeois and pedestrian our own decisions are. If we are (un)lucky to be married twice, she was marred eight times to seven husbands. She just didn't have a diamond ring, oh no. Burton let her finger be graced by the 33 karat Ascher cut, pear-shaped Krupp diamond ring, which was immediately renamed the Taylor-Burton ring. The Krupps were plenty big in Germany in the 1800s, but even the knew they had to move over for this pair.Few here remember how monumental the scandal was when Eddie Fisher left Debbie Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor. Years later, Jackie Kennedy observed that she could probably do no wrong with the American people, "unless she ran away with Eddie Fisher" (which she later proceeded to do with a Greek version).Few also remember how many times she was on the brink of death, with either pneumonia, drink or a fish bone -- and how the nation waited with baited breath to hear the announcement that this mega-star had passed. She hung on, like a Greek goddess, half Medusa, half Hera, unable to leave Olympus.So by all means, do not mourn her for her death, nor her contributions on celluloid , which included an Oscar for Best Actress for the middling Butterfield 8 (my personal favourite Taylor acting performance is "A Place in the Sun"), nor her bedraggled personal life.But we're all kidding ourselves if we don't acknowledge that a very special type of Hollywood legend has gone to meet her Maker today.And this world is a little poorer for it because of what she leaves behind to take her place.RIP Elizabeth Taylor.Cheers,Victoria
And Debbie Reynolds survives. Oh, sweet hot irony.
She's dead. But She. Won't. Stop. STARING AT ME!!!!!The Macho Response.
If I had been born around Althouse's time, I would've witnessed a REAL MOVIE COUPLE in Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, descending chaotically to Morocco with a platoon of papparazzi from Paris Match, Oggi and Frau im Bild following them and their 67 pieces of luggage, with not a bloody tattoo in sight.Didn't they both cheat on their spouses?You guys dream/lie too much. Demand better.The Macho Response.
She's dead. But She. Won't. Stop. STARING AT ME!!!!!If one has to be stared at, let those unforgettable lavender eyes be the ones burrowing deep into your soul, darling boy.Vet66 was the first (only?) commenter to mention those fabulous eyes, who were legendary just by themselves.That's another thing. Angelina has great eyes. But her fish lips are no substitute for Taylor's violet eyes, nor do I think, will take a life of their own, outside of her person.
Victoria - a beautiful tribute, dear lady. I'm raising a glass to Miss Taylor tonight, but I will salute you, too. You would have made a lovely Golden Age star.And with that aside. . .Jesus, Crack, I like your posts in general, but what is your damned problem today?Elizabeth Taylor was a beautiful woman. A great MOVIE STAR (note I do not say "actress"). A link, as I said at 9.17, to an older, more glamorous Hollywood. Soemone who gave entertainment to millions. Despite her many faults, may she rest in peace."You guys dream / lie too much."You don't know the half of it."Demand better."Give it a fucking rest, Crack.
Not to speak ill of the dead, but I never understood her great appeal. The unknown chick who played Cleopatra in HBO's "Rome" was hotter, and a better actress too.
There are some Hollywood stars who pass the level of icon to practical monument. She's one of them.Damn, how many of Golden Era stars are left around? Not many, it seems.
Thanks so much, Christopher, how kind of you, truly. A little perspective never hurt anyone, I say. ;)
Damn, how many of Golden Era stars are left around? Not many, it seems.Our Ron will answer that. He's my teacher in all things Hollywood. Thanks to him, though, I can give you two responses, Tibore: Ginger Rogers and Olivia de Havilland.
Mickey Rooney is still alive. As are Lauren Bacall and Maureen O'Hara, just off the top of my head.And today is Lucille LeSueur's birthday. . .but you probably know her better as Joan Crawford.
I'm a child of the 80's. We never formed emotional bonds with film stars, because that's about the time actors stopped being fascinating.
Very sad. Sad life. Sad ending.Whenever I think of the 'Stars' of that era. Taylor, Garland, Rooney and many others, I wonder what their lives might have been like if they had not been gobbled up by the Hollywood star machine and offered up to the public as a living sacrifice and sop to our never ending lust to live vicariously through their lives.Would they have been happy living completed lives? Had a family, calmly enjoying children, grandchildren. Contributing to their community? Or would they have lived lives of quiet desperation with their great talents stifled. Thinking that they were missing something, a gigantic hole in their life. How many potential Taylors, Garlands, Burtons are wandering the world.Think of never seeing an Elizabeth Taylor as Maggie. Judy Garland's voice never heard. Burton just being the local flamboyant drunk at the local pub.Ah well, life is living the hand we are dealt. Sometimes the cards are good, sometimes not.RIP, finally.
For a few years when she was young, Liz was perhaps the most beautiful woman on earth (and she was an absolutely gorgeous child). And she had some acting chops. I found her portrayal of Albee's Martha quite chilling.When I was a kid, the first international scandal I was old enough to pay any attention to was Princess Margaret Rose and Capt. Peter Townsend. It was pretty good, but totally eclipsed by Taylor/Reynolds/Fisher/Burton. Michael Todd's tragic death (I wonder what Taylor's life would have been like had he lived); their best friends Debbie and Eddie comforting the distraught widow; Liz steals Eddie from Debbie; they marry; Liz nearly dies from pneumonia; the slow walk up to the stage leaning on Eddie to collect her Oscar for Butterfield Eight; Eddie and Liz leave to film Cleopatra in Rome where awaits Richard Burton....It was fabulous and remains my all-time favorite.God speed, Elizabeth.
amazing to think that she was survived by her horse's trainer Mickey Rooney, who has looked unhealthy for years and will be 90 this year
@DustBunnyQueen ...Very sad. Sad life. Sad ending. Totally disagree. She lived a dynamic life and it ended at age 79. Anne Frank had a sad ending.
She was very pretty in her late teens and early twenties, but I find her vastly overrated as an actress.
Christopher, my fave 30s movie star is Joan Crawford, but another legendary Hollywood actress is still alive. People forget how HUGE this woman was, in her day.Shirley Temple (Black).
And, for the record, I vastly preferred the Jessica Lange/Tommy Lee Jones Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. I actually saw it before the Taylor film. Jones' Brick is much better than Newman's (the Taylor version is so censored that it misses the point) and Rip Torn was so fantastic as Big Daddy that I could barely watch Burl Ives.
A great movie could be made about the love story of Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky.Imaginge this. They meet and fall in love in rehab. An international movie star who had everything and a working class joe. They were only married for a relatively short time but the marriage of "Celebrity" and "Reality" with dose of rehab tossed in would make a very interesting and compelling movie.Starring Susan Sarrandon and the dude who plays the gay kids father on Glee. Just sayn'
Cedarford just hates her because of "Ivanhoe."
DBQ wrote:Think of never seeing an Elizabeth Taylor as Maggie. Judy Garland's voice never heard. Burton just being the local flamboyant drunk at the local pub.But for their ambition, or perhaps just a more careening sense of revenge than most of us have, that's exactly how their lives would've transpired. Forgotten and forgettable.Is there a moral of the story each of us could learn about that? Or do we confine our talents to blogs?
A great movie could be made about the love story of Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky.Oh, Troop, I'm not sure I can follow you down that canyon. A better case can be made for a movie about Cher and the Falafel guy. Not only better sex, but better eats.
She was the first hot mess. She was the mold. RIP.
What the idea of a movie star falling for a regular working guy?You have something against middle aged people getting all sexed up and falling in love?The middle aged board who has seen everything and fell for a regular joe mook is pretty interesting if handled by someone with talent. Which of course lets out everyone working today. We will have to dig up Frank Capra or something.
vbspurs said...Damn, how many of Golden Era stars are left around? Not many, it seems.Our Ron will answer that. He's my teacher in all things Hollywood. Thanks to him, though, I can give you two responses, Tibore: Ginger Rogers and Olivia de Havilland.I thought Ginger died a few years ago.Olivia, I know, is still alive in France. I will always have a soft spot for her. A beautiful, classy actress and lady.The final scene she did with Errol Flynn in "They Died With Their Boots On" (apparently, it was the last scene they did together) is why people say, "They don't make 'em like that anymore". Sheer poetry.
The nexus of celebrity and reality and bad behavior is the basis of all most every hour of TV these days with reality television.Art could say something profound about that if it were done right. Just sayn'
That's middle aged broad.The middle aged board always gets nailed though. Just sayn'
You have something against middle aged people getting all sexed up and falling in love?Not if they're called Ann and Laurence. Yes, if they're called Liz Taylor and John Warner. That's just...not right.
I thought Ginger died a few years ago.Egad, you're right! Apparently, Ron has kept her alive for me, so that I imagined her to be amongst the living.I cannot think of a better tribute to Ron than that.
DBQ, if I might, I suggest you read "The Star Machine" by Jeanine Basinger. It's a look not only at the majors like Rooney and Garland but the second-tier supporters like Frank Morgan. She also shows how one studio's lightning (Temple at Fox) wouldn't necessarily strike at another (Deanna Durbin - who is still alive - at Universal).Victoria - I'm not a great Crawford fan, since my tastes run to silent movies (I think Pola Negri was absolutely luscious), but in "Grand Hotel" you could see why Wallace Beery would want to bed her. It was the eyes with their deep, ravenous hunger that really made Crawford, I believe, just as much as Bette Davis' knowing sloe eyes.
Christopher, I fell in love with Crawford in The Women, cemented my regard for her acting talents in Mildred Pierce, and raised a quizzical eye at her in Johnny Guitar. What range, man.It'll be interesting to see what Kate Winslet has done to her old Mildred Pierce role, when it comes to HBO.
Debbie Reynolds not only outlived her but for the last thirty or forty years was by far the better looking woman. Even Joan Rivers, who mocked Liz Taylor relentlessly, was better looking towards the end....It has to be a sad thing to be the best looking woman in the world in your youth and then spend your last days fat and sick and bed ridden......Well, she really was a true Olymppian. Her life was guided by whim and caprice, and for a long time she got away with it. Like Charlie Sheen, her scandals were entertaining and fun to read about. We're all on a fool's errand to the grave, but she took the scenic route.
vbspurs said...You have something against middle aged people getting all sexed up and falling in love?Not if they're called Ann and Laurence. Yes, if they're called Liz Taylor and John Warner. That's just...not right.I love it.Very droll, mum.
If anybody's still reading this thread - Turner Classic Movies will be doing a 24-hour Taylor marathon on Sunday, April 10.
@vbspursYour whole 11:05 AM comment was just gorgeous. This is why I read most everything you write here.
Thanks so much, Chicken. Something's you just gotta say. :)Look at this Daily Mail article, linked to by Drudge. US Magazine asked her to surprising things no one knew about her.1. Before I made films, I had a lemonade stand in Southern California.2. When José Eber is out of town, I love to cut my hair and anyone else's.3. I'm mad for Law & Order and have seen every single episode. My children and Mariska Hargitay, a dazzling actress, played together as kids.4. I converted to Judaism in 1959.5. My Jewish name is Elisheba Rachel.6. My first horse was named Betty.7. I didn't go on a date until I was 16.8. My legs are too short.9. The film I'm proudest of is Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?10. I never face the day without perfume.11. I dreamed of designing perfume 25 years before I did it.12. I love blood-orange juice.13. My very first memory is of pain.14. I'm still heartbroken that Richard [Burton] never won an Oscar.15. I am sincerely not worried about getting old.16. I never tried to act until A Place in the Sun.17. I am disgusted by the amount of myth about me that is accepted as fact.18. People on Twitter named my new fragrance, Violet Eyes.19. I've never had acting lessons, though many people think I need them.20. In my twenties, I nearly lost my eye and my leg. Still have them both, tee hee.21. Nerves are the nemesis of all actors.22. I hate being called Liz, because it can sound like such a hiss.23. I believe you can be close to God anywhere.24. My dog Delilah is in love with my cat Fang. To each his own.25. My family and people with HIV/AIDS are my life.Hey! I watch Law & Order, too. What a gal.
She was breathtakingly beautiful and she entertained us with many good movies (and some not so good) for decades.What more can we ask of a movie star?Surely we can't expect them to be role models.
9. The film I'm proudest of is Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?I agree with her there!I do like her role in National Velvet, but the mother (Anne Revere) was the more heartfelt role in that movie.
Today a young colleague was writing a blog post about Elizabeth TAylor and asked me to read it because, until today, the only thing she knew about Elizabeth Taylor was that she used to be a movie star who sold perfume. Whipper snapper.
Why all the comments describing her as a mess? She lived a long life, her many children outlived her and they lived a veritably scandal free life and she left 600 million bucks. My life should be so messy.
William: the consummate nihilist.Of course anything beats Vicky: the consummate fake.
Ampersand wrote:Why all the comments describing her as a mess? She lived a long life, her many children outlived her and they lived a veritably scandal free life and she left 600 million bucks. My life should be so messy.The truth is that she was a rollicking mess, but she righted herself in the nick of time, by finding a cause to champion. It cannot be overestimated how her support of the AIDS community, and HIV awareness, really early on, impacted that world.Now, Zsa-Zsa, there's a real, irredeemably unlikeable mess. Vain, untalented, snobbish, bitchy, and a social climber who married a fake prince, just to be able to don Orders and tiaras at the click of a camera.Elizabeth Taylor was at death's door many times in her life, so her death at a great age, should come as no surprise. Nevertheless, I bet you anything most of us gasped a little, today, when we heard that she had passed.Unlike when, God forgive me, Zsa-Zsa dies, when almost to a man and woman, we'll whisper, 'geez, took her long enough'.That, to me, is the difference between a true movie star and a has-been.Cheers,Victoria
Chickelit wrote:I agree with her there!Wince, cringe, bravo.Years ago, I went to see a performance of WAOVW? on stage. It just felt hollow & banal. A married couple having at it -- who cares.What made 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' so memorable, such a train-wreck, is that we all of us suspected we were getting a little glimpse at what the real marriage between the pair was like.
New York Times Obit Writer for Elizabeth Taylor Died Six Years Ago..lol
ricpic said... Of course anything beats Vicky: the consummate fake.*checks thread to see in "Vicki from Pasadena" posted here*ricpic, why are you channeling Richard Burton in WAOVW?
What made 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' so memorable, such a train-wreck, is that we all of us suspected we were getting a little glimpse at what the real marriage between the pair was like.I agree with that too. It's like the Mike Nichols film version was scripted just for them.I can't think of any Hollywood couple these days of the same caliber. OTOH, I think the American public would like to get such an intimate and dramatic look inside the Clinton marriage for example. Who could be cast?
Chicken, the Clintons were portrayed by John Travolta and Emma Thompson in the movie, Primary Colours, based on Joe Klein's fly-on-the-wall novella. Thompson's Hilldawg smacked the hell out of Travolta's Clinton in one scene. Hee.Any suggestions on who should play Obama and Michelle, if a movie of "O: A Presidential Novel" were cast?
I guess I'm supposed to think she was beautiful, because I am told she was.Much like I am told how beautiful Michelle Obama is.And, what a great dresser Michelle Obama is.I think she had average good looks, even in the blush of youth, National Velvet days.
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