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Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:22 AM

Why I will remember Elizabeth Taylor fondly no matter how many silly movies Lifetime produces

I turned 18 in 1985. I also started to really figure out I was gay and that that fact wasn't going to change. Being a gay male was tough back then. One of the reasons for that was AIDS. By January of 1985 we had 7,000 AIDS diagnosis and almost 6,000 deaths. We had no idea what spread AIDS but we did know it was attacking gay males and that both diagnosis and deaths were increasing exponentially. But what was worse than AIDS was the fear and loathing of AIDS by the government and the population. If you got AIDS back then you were a leper. Doctors wouldn't treat you. Your family would desert you. Funeral directors wouldn't bury you. Some mailmen wouldn't deliver your mail. If you swam in a public pool it was drained. We had US Senators openly calling for the tattooing of AIDS victims and putting them on an island. No one of any stature stood up for AIDS victims. It would still be over two years before Reagan would mention AIDS. Then Senate Minority Leader Harry Byrd of WV famously said that we shouldn't fund AIDS research since no one in WV was gay. No serious religious, political, entertainment, or any other leader came forward to try to educate the nation about AIDS.

Into that breach came an aging actress named Elizabeth Taylor. In January of 1985, Elizabeth Taylor was 52 year old, and let's face it. As male actors age we talk about how distinguished they have become but as women actors age we talk about how their beauty has faded. But far from fading, Elizabeth Taylor's beauty, her inner beauty, shone as brightly as a thousand suns, when in January of 1985 she agreed to become the public face of the campaign against AIDS. She also did the behind the scenes planning.

Elizabeth Taylor’s first order of business was the AIDS Project Los Angeles’ Commitment to Life dinner. She was approached by APLA to lend her support to the event in January 1985. Not only did Elizabeth agree, but she and her publicist, Chen Sam, also planned the dinner from a small office they rented. “I didn’t want to be honorary. I wanted to actually do the work, make the phone calls, because this was going to be a toughie.” Elizabeth again saw the bigotry surrounding the disease when she tried to recruit longtime friends and peers to lend their support for the dinner. “I have never had so many ‘no’s said to me,” remembered Elizabeth, “They didn’t want to come to the evening, didn’t want to be associated. Some very big names .” Elizabeth also said that “People not only slammed doors in my face and hung up on me, but I received death threats. Something happened to the world, and I think it was massive fear.” However, Elizabeth ignored the senseless threats and pushed forward.

The fact is the rest of Taylor's public life was spent fighting AIDS. She made that fight something that was at first tolerable to be done and then something that was moral to be done. I am sure that someone else could have done this and she surely doesn't deserve all the credit. But she was the first public figure to stand up to the fear and the hatred that made AIDS that much more deadly. It took a courageous, beautiful person to stand up to the fear and hatred. She made fighting AIDS palatable to the great American public. She helped change the mindset that victims of AIDS deserved what they got into a mindset that AIDS victims deserved our compassion. It will take a Hell of a lot more than a Lifetime movie to wipe away that legacy.

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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply Why I will remember Elizabeth Taylor fondly no matter how many silly movies Lifetime produces (Original post)
dsc Nov 2012 OP
The Second Stone Nov 2012 #1
Hissyspit Nov 2012 #2
countmyvote4real Nov 2012 #3
annabanana Nov 2012 #4
WinkyDink Nov 2012 #19
dsc Nov 2012 #20
pnwmom Nov 2012 #5
Tikki Nov 2012 #6
valerief Nov 2012 #7
xchrom Nov 2012 #8
catbyte Nov 2012 #9
Tuesday Afternoon Nov 2012 #10
WinkyDink Nov 2012 #18
Whisp Nov 2012 #11
Bluenorthwest Nov 2012 #12
ProudProgressiveNow Nov 2012 #13
Skittles Nov 2012 #14
CTyankee Nov 2012 #15
WinkyDink Nov 2012 #17
WinkyDink Nov 2012 #16
dsc Nov 2012 #21
Marie Marie Nov 2012 #22

Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:44 AM

1. Thank you for that memory

of someone who did so much good.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:01 PM

2. To help get rid of the memory of the Lifetime movie, watch "Lassie Come Home" from 1943.

She's ten years old in it. It was her second movie role.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:15 PM

3. Thank you for the reminders.

This is why a day w/o DU is day w/o sunshine.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:20 PM

4. She behaved more regally than ANY

queen in her repertoire. She had a genuine nobility of spirit that is too rare in this world.

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Response to annabanana (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:59 PM

19. She brooked no royal hypocrisy, either. With Princess Margaret:

.....a humourous exchange between Elizabeth and the late Princess Margaret of England.
“Is that the famous diamond? But it’s so large—how very vulgar!”
“Yes,” said Elizabeth. “Ain’t it great?”
Margaret then asked to try on the huge stone.
“It doesn’t look so vulgar now, does it?” remarked Elizabeth.

http://www.dameelizabethtaylor.com/tb_diamond.html

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Response to WinkyDink (Reply #19)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 08:01 PM

20. that is classic

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:22 PM

5. She really was a hero.

I remember this time period well, because it was just a few years earlier, when the first reports of AIDS were in the NY Times, that my parents divorced and my father came out. People now forget how bad things were then. Thanks for the reminder -- what a different world, at least for much of the country.

And what a great person Elizabeth Taylor turned out to be.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:36 PM

6. Elizabeth Taylor was class and beauty personified...

With a kind and smart heart...RIP darlin'




Tikki

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:39 PM

7. My father told me he was hired to bring her from her hotel to the theater

every evening. This was back in '83 when she was performing Private Lives in Boston with then-hubby Burton. My father, who was far from a teetotaler, said Burton was a nasty drunk but about Taylor said, "She wore too much makeup, but she was very nice and always gave us $50 tips."

My father didn't tell me this until after I'd told him I saw Taylor and Burton in Private Lives in NYC. Don't remember much about it, except that Taylor seemed to be carrying Burton.

I realize all this is extraneous to your post. I just wanted to say how nice my father found her.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:46 PM

8. ...

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 01:59 PM

9. Beautiful tribute, dsc. She certainly had guts, a great heart, and massive talent.

She was also a great animal lover, my favorite kind of person. Thanks for reminding everyone there was much more to Elizabeth Taylor than just drugs, diamonds, and the media circus.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 02:02 PM

10. K&R. loved her and proud to be named after her. thanks for the post.

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Response to Tuesday Afternoon (Reply #10)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:48 PM

18. I always wanted to be!

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 02:04 PM

11. a gorgeous person inside and out.

you are missed, Liz.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 02:16 PM

12. She was a hero of the time, she lead the way in her industry.

I sincerly doubt that the bio pic about her and Richard seeks to wipe away that or any other of her legacies. Not that it could, but I doubt the makers of that film would want that.
Stories about such courage as she showed regarding the AIDS crisis are most powerful when the frail humanity of the person is acknowledged so that others might say 'if that human could, then I might too'. The courage of a legend shown as flawless makes people say 'sure, SHE did that, but I could not'....
She was a great woman and a great actress. She'd have loved the biopic, for it makes more legend.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 02:54 PM

13. K&R nt

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 05:55 PM

14. I very much admired Ms. Taylor

she had her demons but wow what a big heart she had, and she gave it her all.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:36 PM

15. This is forever how I will remember her...

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Response to CTyankee (Reply #15)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:45 PM

17. She was only eighteen....... "Tell Mama; tell Mama all."

Elizabeth and Montgomery Clift, second only to Tyrone Power in male beauty! (IMHO!)

http://worldprofit.com/tell-mama-tell-mama-all-an-appreciation-for-the-life-of-elizabeth-taylor-who-did-it-her-way/

"And they say the ‘fifties were dull…. Not when Elizabeth Taylor was around. She didn’t know the meaning of the word and always chose mayhem over the placid and serene.

Now the woman is gone… but her great renown, her celebrity, the legend all remain to titillate, captivate, thrill. All that will never be gone."

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:43 PM

16. I have loved ET all my life, first because of her unparallelled beauty (Double eyelashes! Violet

eyes!); second, because of her unbridled passion for life and love; and lastly, because of her philanthropy.

Her face adorns my coffee tasble.

Elizabeth's was the face that launched a thousand gossip columns. There is no more fitting tribute to her than Shakespeare's words of her most famous character:

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety; other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies; for vilest things
Become themselves in her, that the holy priests
Bless her when she is riggish.

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 08:57 PM

21. kick

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Response to dsc (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 11:49 PM

22. She was so breathtakingly beautiful.

Inside and out. There is none other like her.

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