In Memoriam: Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor 1932-2011


As you all likely know by now, Elizabeth Taylor died yesterday from congestive heart failure. There’s not much I can think to say about her that others haven’t said–and likely said better. Here are some highlights of her career as an actress, successful businesswoman, and HIV/AIDS activist.
  • Other awards Taylor won include a BAFTA, a GLAAD Media Vanguard Award, three Golden Globes–including the Cecil B. DeMille Award (one of only twelve women to win since the award’s inception in 1952), a SAG Lifetime Achievement Award, and many others–even a Razzie, for her role in 1994’s The Flintstones.
  • Her first film role was in the film There’s One Born Every Minute, when she was only ten years old, which led to her status as a child star. Adulthood brought her hit after hit, including Cleopatra in 1963, which was the most expensive movie to date with a budget of a million dollars. Her final feature film role was, unfortunately, in The Flintstones, though she appeared on television twice in 2001 and once on stage in 2007.
I must confess that the only film I’ve ever seen starring Elizabeth Taylor is Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (not even Cleopatra, for shame!), which was amazing. In the past few decades, she’s been more active in business ventures and activism (and, of course, she remains known not only as a classic Hollywood actress, but also for her eight marriages, celebrity friendships, and pricey jewelry collection).
  • Not only did Taylor collect jewelry, but she also designed a successful collection. Her perfume line, which includes Passion, White Diamonds, and Black Pearls, earns roughly 200 million dollars a year. Many celebrities followed in her footsteps, creating signature fragrances as part of their branding initiatives.
  • Perhaps her most lasting legacy, other than her acting, is her HIV/AIDS activism. She raised over 100 million dollars to fight the disease, helped found the American Foundation for AIDS Research, and founded The Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation.  

This isn’t, by any means, an exhaustive list of her accomplishments and influence. Check out her obit at the New York Times and the interactive media imbedded within, including a clip from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and leave your links to Elizabeth Taylor related pieces in the comments.