It is a sad day for everyone who loved Elizabeth Taylor who has died aged 79. It is sad for the rest of us too because she was certainly a fine actress, an extraordinarily beautiful woman, a “big” personality and, from what we are told, a very nice person underneath all the trappings of glamour.
In the end though, we are remembering her as the last of her kind – the kind of Hollywood star that was encouraged to live up there in the stratosphere away from us mortals but glittering enough to capture our adulation. When we are told that it is the end of an era and that we will never see her like again and other such rather grandiloquent phrases, what we are really being told is that Elizabeth Taylor’s passing is the end of a Hollywood style and a Hollywood PR technique.
We all know people who drink too much, love too much and not always wisely, who have more wealth than they need and who are effortlessly sexy but, without the Hollywood machine and its tabloid followers, they remain just that, frail human beings like the rest of us.
A generation has now passed that expected their stars to be superhuman and untouchably glamourous….
….and we were expected to forget that Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe and their like, were really working artists, highly talented and good-looking and, well, let’s face it, spoiled.
Even though it is difficult identifying their successors today that is not necessarily a bad thing. If we live in duller times, we also benefit from seeing the reality of cinema’s professional artists….we might even respect them for what they do best, acting, and be better judges too of their talents.
We might also be kinder to them as they age too: