Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011

23 March 2011

Looking at a picture like this above it’s hard to believe she was for real, but she was a powerhouse of acting talent in the 50s & 60s. She lowered her ingénue voice into a growl for appearances in Tennessee Williams films and the amazing Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966), and she faced off against the best actors of her generation. People always cite her looks — but she got more interesting as she got older and more willing to go to those dark places as an actor. When I was a kid we had a copy of LIFE Goes to the Movies with this photo below, showing an un-retouched beauty and strength. I was entranced, even though her Hollywood prime took place before my time; we were all entranced, weren’t we? Que descanse en paz, Liz.

For a terrific assessment of her life on & off screen, particularly her work for social change, see Melissa Silverstein’s post at Women & Hollywood.

4 Responses to “Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011”

  1. […] Dear Friend notes the passing of Elizabeth Taylor. RIP, sweetie. NYT obit; note the irony that she outlived her obit writer, who died in 2005. […]

  2. Hattie Says:

    I’ll miss her. She was not much older than I am.

  3. Didion Says:

    Jim Emerson over at the blog Scanners has a series of long quotes about Liz Taylor from Camille Paglia — the always provocative, infuriating, and sometimes dead-on cultural critic. Although her feminist antifeminism is fully on display (how many times does she trash feminism??), she also makes a nice point about the way Taylor inhabited her womanliness (and forgive me, but I’ve deleted Paglia’s antifeminist rants):

    “To me, Elizabeth Taylor’s importance as an actress was that she represented a kind of womanliness that is now completely impossible to find on the U.S. or U.K. screen. It was rooted in hormonal reality — the vitality of nature. She was single-handedly a living rebuke to postmodernism and post-structuralism, which maintain that gender is merely a social construct. [Many female actors today are] painfully scrawny to look at on the screen. This is the standard starvation look that is now projected by Hollywood women stars — a skeletal, Pilates-honed, anorexic silhouette, which has nothing to do with females as most of the world understands them. There’s something almost android about the depictions of women currently being projected by Hollywood.”

  4. […] Taylor: Photo Credit: Feminema marilyn monroe #PDRTJS_2226915_post42253_msg_1 {line-height: 22px; margin-left: 45px;} […]

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