April 22, 2014

Personal thoughts on Elizabeth Taylor’s passing

By Greg Hernandez

HollywoodNews.com: I flipped on the television this morning to MSNBC and heard anchor Thomas Roberts share the news that Elizabeth Taylor had died.

I felt suddenly so sad.

We knew she had been so ill but it still came as a shock much like when Lucille Ball died in 1989. Both women were in their late 70s and somehow we thought they would live forever.

And just as Lucy has, so will Elizabeth.

As a movie star crazy kid growing up in the 70s, I would devour every issue of ‘People Magazine’ and Rona Barrett’s various magazines and was particularly fascinated with Miss Taylor.

My mom had always been a big fan of the actress so whenever her movies were on television, I’d watch them with her. I didn’t really understand ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,’ ‘Suddenly Last Summer’ or ‘Butterfield 8′ when I first saw them but I was mesmerized by Miss Taylor’s beauty and her talent.

But my real admiration for her came in the mid-80s when she decided to use to great fame to raise money and awareness in the fight against AIDS. She fought passionately, worked tirelessly and became one of the greatest humanitarians of our time. She began her work well before AIDS activism became fashionable and it became clear that her work as an activist had become far more important to her than her work as an actress.

Still, in addition to her earlier films, it was nice to see her do an occasional later movie like 1985′s ‘Malice in Wonderland,’ 1987′s ‘Poker Alice’ and a television version of ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’ opposite Mark Harmon in 1989. Then there was her hilarious performance as Wilma’s mother Pearl Slaghoople in the 1994 feature film ‘The Flintstones.’

[My top five favorite Taylor films: 1. A Place in the Sun 2. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 3. Who's Afraid if Virginia Woolf? 4. Suddenly Last Summer 5. Giant.]

I began covering Hollywood events in 2000 and since then, I’ve met just about every star I’ve ever wanted to meet. But never Elizabeth Taylor. I did get a pretty good look at her from my table at the Beverly Hilton when she took the stage to pay tribute to Barbra Streisand at the AFI Tribute in 2001.

To read more from this article go to Greg In Hollywood.

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About Greg Hernandez

Greg Hernandez has written about the entertainment world for more than a decade. He is a veteran of covering many Academy Awards shows (plus Emmys, Grammys and Golden Globes) as well as film festivals, movie premieres and philanthropic events. Hernandez founded the popular Out In Hollywood blog while a writer and columnist for the "Los Angeles Daily News." He’s also a former staff writer at the "Los Angeles Times" and "The Hollywood Reporter" and has been a contributing writer to "The Advocate." Greg is the founder and editor of Greginhollywood.com

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