ELIZABETH TAYLOR: THE TRUE “TEN”

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No one came close. Not even Bo Derek.

Grace Kelly? Maybe a distant second.

Like no other, Elizabeth Taylor set the standard for beauty, grace and talent.

We all will have our turn one day. She had hers yesterday, passing into post-life as all mortals do, eventually.

As a movie buff since early boyhood, my eyes, my mind and my heart were forever drawn to the screen, breathless, every time I saw her in National Velvet, Father Of The Bride, A Place In The Sun, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Virginia Woolf and so many more. Every feature of her face, her body and her attitude spelled: Flawless.

Couple that with acting talent (two Oscars) and an open heart with which she shared her wealth with the needy, giving of her time and energy toward the international fight against AIDS.

We all know about the marriages, the weight problems later in life, her battles with alcoholism and more. Though a Goddess, metaphorically, she was a fragile human being after all, prone toward love, addiction and excess. But she always maintained dignity. She married the men she loved, all seven of them, which is more than we can say for the nature of relationships we see in today’s array of Hollywood glitz.

She earned a mere $100 a week for her work in Lassie Come Home, and eventually became the first actress to draw $1 million for her part in Cleopatra. I thought she was mis-cast in that movie, simply because she was too Anglo, too light skinned, too petite to be playing a role that portrayed an Egyptian woman of the Roman era.

Taylor was also a woman of deeds. Few people know, or remember, that she saved actor Montgomery Clift’s life after a party at her house, when he wrecked his car. She was first to arrive at the accident scene, entered the vehicle and reached into his mouth to remove broken teeth from his throat.

There are numerous sites to access if anyone is interested in trivia about the life of this iconic woman. USA Today newspaper, this date, dedicated nine pages of newsprint — That’s 9 Pages! — to Elizabeth Taylor, just because she died, and lived. Some folks will compare that to Japan, Libya and other dire events that are going on in the world and say she’s not worth all that.

But it’s only for a day. To me, she was worth it.

I’m glad I lived in her era.