WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011
In Memory of Miss Elizabeth Taylor
Here's an astonishing fact: In 1977, when Elvis Presley died suddenly, PEOPLE magazine did not put him on the cover. Back then, not many tabloid shows existed, and therefore, in magazines and in news magazine shows, his death was covered in a very minor way. It's weird to realize that in those days, the thought of giving "press" to the passing of a celebrity was considered "too macabre" a topic for readers and viewers.
That all changed, of course, on the fateful day when John Lennon was murdered in 1980. Suddenly, TV, radio, and print media "got" that we fans want to know about our legends who are "taken" from us. We fans, who carefully follow the careers of people like Elvis, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, and, Elizabeth Taylor -- want a full news accounting of their death and the circumstances surrounding it. Today, more than ever, with the rocky state of affairs in the world, when an ICON dies, we all want to see a tribute, a full-on farewell, to the person who kept us inspired, entertained, and engaged... to the person who, in certain ways, changed the world we live in.
Today, we mourn the passing of Elizabeth Taylor, not only because was she larger than life, but because she was a movie star who cared. One of the first icons to step up to fight AIDS, Miss Taylor also was not afraid to stand up to "media nonsense" -- especially in the case of Michael Jackson. It's no secret that the two of them were close -- that Liz spent a lot of time at Neverland in a time period when the media hated Michael, and hurled allegations at the pop star that he would never eradicate. In the end, when Michael was facing the battle of his life in court -- Liz Taylor was not present in the Santa Maria courthouse to show support for him. But, now in retrospect, we much consider that maybe she was too ill, and too tired, to continue to fight for Michael, or even for herself. Come to think of it, we have not seen much of Elizabeth Taylor in public for the past 5 years, except to learn reports of her health issues. Perhaps she was suffering too much in the past few years, and was fighting her own health battle that was worsening with alarming speed.
Like Elvis, Michael, and John, we know that most everything in Elizabeth Taylor's life made headlines around the world. Now, in death, we should think, not of her her very public shredding of spouses, or her extraordinary excesses, that we all gossiped about. rather, we should remember that Miss Taylor embodied all that was glamour... all that was beautiful and sophisticated. Women loved her movies, her diamonds, and her style... and men, simply melting looking at her violet eyes. Liz just might be the last of the GREAT movie stars... who, on screen, even outdid Cleopatra!
I look up to her with a kind of reverence, and an ever present sense that, WOW, I wish we could have more stars like her... who are willing to stand up for what's right, in the face of all adversity.
God Bless you, Miss Taylor.
Your empathy was real, and your tireless work to alleviate suffering, will forever be your tribute.
Love You All,