Smokin’ Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor died today. She was twenty years older than me which didn’t seem to prevent me at eleven from suffering all kinds of pre-adolescent fantasies. It must have been those smoky eyes, or perhaps lingerie manufacturers in the sixties were trained differently, but nobody seems to have quite the knack of making what the Germans call Büstenhalterin quite the same way these days. The Germanic capitalisation confers a certain, well, insurance I find. London lingerie shop Rigby& Peller used to sell a flesh-coloured object which resembled a surgical appliance with nose cones. I’m certain she must have bought some.
‘Cleopatra’ might have been a spectacular box-office flop but the memory of Richard Burton as a brooding, aggressive Mark Antony representing the rise of Roman power alongside the smouldering Taylor as the waning glory of Egypt can still be brought to mind after all these years, later surpassed only by the much more sophisticated ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”.
Married eight times, twice to Burton, she was undeniably a boy’s girl. What is it about the Welsh warrior poets?

There are whispers that yet another version – the twelfth, or even the thirteenth – is in plan, almost certainly with Angelina Jolie and perhaps – inevitably – Brad Pitt.
Side by side…? No contest.

3 thoughts on “Smokin’ Taylor

  1. I remember watching “Taming of the Shrew” in high school English – I was so impressed with Richard Burton. Then I saw “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and realized that the commonality in those very excellent movies was the woman.
    Elizabeth Taylor led an extraordinary life and I can't imagine under what circumstances such a life could be repeated. Certainly her death signals the end of an era.


  2. I learned today that she was Jewish – converted in 1959 – and offered to take the place of the hostages at Entebbe. Remarkable. In later years, she became a friend of Menachem Begin and raised millions for Jewish charities which largely went unremarked.


  3. I remember her most in GIANT where she was the Virginia southern belle who marries a young vibrant Rock Hudson who tries to hold out on his Texas cattle ranch at the beginning of the oil era. James Dean provided the sizzle there. Times being what they were it was impossible for the two to have the love scene that most imagined when the two were on camera together. Their energy was magnetic. I always thought she was a great philanthropist. Never quite understood the nature of her bizzare friendship with Michael Jackson. She was an original for sure. They don't make em' like that anymore.


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