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Elizabeth Taylor: 1932 – 2011

Elizabeth Taylor
Vince Bucci, Getty Images

Maggie the Cat has used up her 9th life. Elizabeth Taylor, a movie star back when there really WERE movie stars, has left the theater and her like will not be seen again. Her troubled life is well documented elsewhere, but we “front row kids” of the 50s and 60s knew her only as an incredibly beautiful brunette with violet eyes and a tiny little kittenish voice who underneath the fancy veneer must have been made of pure steel to last in Old Hollywood as she did. Her marriages, illnesses, her highs, her lows were all covered by the media of her day in headlines at least as high as the news on the world scene.

I first saw her in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” in 1958 (at the old Ross Theater) and being a 14-year-old boy at the time…well, she made an impression on me – I can assure you. She played Maggie the Cat, acted Paul Newman almost off the screen, and looked really swell in her white slip. In later years I caught up with all her earlier great pictures that came before and just after “Cat.” Things like “Lassie Come Home,” “National Velvet,” ” A Place in the Sun,” “Giant,” “Suddenly Last Summer,” “Cleopatra,” ” Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and many others.

During the 60s and 70s she made some 17 boxoffice bombs. In a row. But no one seemed to care because she was Elizabeth Taylor. She got involved in various businesses, raised 10s of millions of dollars for AIDS research and other charities, and kept the showbiz media in stories for many years.

One of the true giants of Hollywood and one of America’s great gifts to the world of show business and philanthropy, Elizabeth Taylor, is dead at age 79. RIP.

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