Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Farewell Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011)

It does not involve hyperbole to state that Elizabeth Taylor was an institution. A star for over 60 years, she represented an ideal of Hollywood glamour that died with the 1960s, but, somehow, despite relegation to TV and glorified B-movies, …

Wed, Mar 23, 2011, 13:55

   

It does not involve hyperbole to state that Elizabeth Taylor was an institution. A star for over 60 years, she represented an ideal of Hollywood glamour that died with the 1960s, but, somehow, despite relegation to TV and glorified B-movies, Liz managed to remain properly, staggeringly famous for several more decades. The shenanigans that ¬†surrounded her marriages to Richard Burton — just two, but it felt like a dozen — were covered with the same seriousness and assiduousness newspapers brought to reports of the Six-Day War or the Three-Day week.

It should be stressed, however, that, despite many jibes, she was a terrific actress. Sure, she was rarely subtle. But cinema needs strong women who are not afraid to bring grand theatre to their performances. Where would we be without Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford or Judy Garland? I guess her most acclaimed turn was in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, but a shout should go out for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Father of the Bride and, of course, the immortal A Place in the Sun. In that last film she held her own against the new-fangled method antics of none other than Montgomery Clift. No mean feat.

I thought she’d live forever.

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