Elizabeth Taylor, Hollywood legend and winner of two Oscars has passed away of congestive heart failure. She was 79. It’s kind of hard to believe she’s gone, considering she had been in failing health for at least over a decade. I honestly thought she would be one of those ol celebrity troopers like Mickey Rooney (if you don’t know who he is look him up on IMDb) still livin it up and would finally pass somewhere in the 90s or almost 100, like Karl Malden (again if you don’t know IMDb can help).
While she is obviously a legend from the golden age of Hollywood, a cultural icon, screen icon and just all round great there have been a few classics of hers I still haven’t seen like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), I don’t know why that also has Paul Newman one of my all time faves, Giant (1956), but I intend to round easter this year as it’s an epically long classic, National Velvet (1944), the original Father of the Bride (1950), yep the early Steve Martin 90s comedy was a remake of a Spencer Tracy classic with Taylor as the bride, and it’s sequel Father’s Little Dividend (1951), and A Place In The Sun (also 51).
What I have seen from Taylor are The Last Time I Saw Paris (1954), a long and dated film but also very sad, not least of all was Taylor’s performance as the leading man’s wife, Cleopatra (1963) the extremely long bore of an epic where Taylor plays who else? very, very pretty in it though haha. Unlike the next role I’d see her in and so far the best I’v seen of her, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) in which she plays the loud, obnoxouis, boozy and abusive wife to real life hubby at the time Richard Burton. The Academy also really liked it and awarded her the Best Actress Oscar, her second and last, after already winning for BUtterfield 8 in 1960, though she most definetly won it not because she actually deserved it but because she had been ill with pneumonia and almost died. I next saw her in 1974’s That’s Entertainment in which she was one of many stars who hosted a segment honoring MGM’s classic musical hey day of the 30s-50s, “Boy those sure were the good old days” she would lament. I would next see her in one of my child hood faves, still a popular one for me, and the earliest movie I can remember seeing at a cinema, The Flintstones (1994) in which she played the very camp and rather funny ma of Wilma’s. This would be her final theatrical film.
And so it would be TV she would end up finishing her career on, getting the honor of not only voicing herself in The Simpsons but also baby Maggie aswell (although she didn’t do it for the lame movie) and she also made a very camp appearance in the TV Movie These Old Broads (2001) her final on screen appearance in which she was in a wheelchair, which she would be in for the rest of her life.
Incidentally last Thursday a week before she died, I happened to have found the 3 disc special edition of Cleopatra at a warehouse and decided to buy it not because I like the film, which I don’t, but because it has a fascinating doco on the making of the troubled shoot. Besides That’s Entertainment, this is so far the only true Liz Taylor film I own at the moment. So I think in her honor tomorrow I’ll give Cleopatra another go (maybe with my Mom, who expressed interest) as well as finally getting round to watching the other classics of hers I somehow have missed.
Rest In Peace Elizabeth Taylor. Hollywood and the world has definetly lost another icon today. The golden age of Hollywood may have in fact lost it’s last super star today :( RIP.