Elizabeth Taylor was “one great Dame.” The British government saw fit to bestow upon her the title Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. In all respects, though, she fit the (perhaps politically incorrect but no less appropriate) bill of a great dame, a woman who knew herself completely and made no apologies for being herself.
She exuded strength and courage and confidence. Taylor was the kind of woman who commanded every room she entered.
Yes, she had an affair with someone else’s husband, married a total of eight times (twice to the same man), and it could be argued that, with one exception, she chose deeply flawed men for her partners. “I've always admitted that I'm ruled by my passions,” she said.
She suffered deep loss in her life, both physical and emotional pain, but was able to claim: "I’m a survivor - a living example of what people can go through and survive."
Taylor was one of the last stars of the Hollywood studio system, and one of the first modern celebrities to usher in the paparazzi era. She was a humanitarian who wasn’t afraid to take a place on the front lines in the battle against HIV/AIDS. She was also a businesswoman who made the most of her personal trademark.
She has 76 acting credits and three as producer, according to IMDB. But two film roles portrayed by Taylor are my personal favorites: Maggie in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958), and Katharina in The Taming of the Shrew (1967).
Her last acting role was a real treat, too. She starred in These Old Broads (2001) with her former nemesis Debbie Reynolds, Shirley MacLaine and Joan Collins, in a made-for-TV movie written by Carrie Fisher (Reynolds’ daughter with Taylor’s ex-husband Eddie Fisher) and Elaine Pope. Critics weren’t terrible enthusiastic about it, but it was a real treat for Taylor and Reynolds fans to see these two in roles that closely resembled their real life experience with each other.
A favourite Taylor quote says it all: “I've been through it all, baby; I'm mother courage."