Elizabeth Taylor – a great and beautiful actress who wore diamonds and got drunk a lot.

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

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….

Greta Garbo

Marlene Dietrich

Marilyn Monroe

….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:

Elizabeth Taylor
Here she is in her greatest film, Whose Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? – well I needed to add a wolf theme.


  1. Angela Lansbury is still alive!!!!!

    Not in the first division, but don't forget how many murders she solved with Tom Bosley from Happy Days and that was twenty plus years ago.

    Also your picture editing was a bit harsh to underline your point I thought.

  2. Actually I have never really followed Angela Lansbury so i will take your word on it William.

    I love the picture of the elderly elizabeth Taylor though – it is the same woman who played Cleopatra and i celebrate that.

  3. I'd always assumed that Taylor was older than she was (but then she started young). She was playing Martha (very convincingly) in "Who's Afraid…" when she was in her mid 30's, which adds to that feeling of age. She's the same generation as Dench, J; Rigg, D and Smith, M but always seemed to belong to a bygone era.

    Taylor did produce some fine performances, but I never really hit the mark for me. I think it is partly she played so many bloody awful characters. Had she done comedy, I expect she would have won me over.

    The reference to Lansbury seems to have disappeared, but she was on Today today, reminiscing about Taylor.

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