She was so extraordinarily beautiful that I nearly laughed out loud. She was famine, fire, destruction and plague, the only true begetter. Her breasts were apocalyptic, they would topple empires before they withered. Her body was a miracle of construction. She was unquestionably gorgeous. She was lavish. She was a dark, unyielding largesse. She was, in short, too bloody much. Those huge violet blue eyes had an odd glint… Aeons passed, civilizations came and went while these cosmic headlights examined my flawed personality. Every pockmark on my face became a crater of the moon.
– Richard Burton, on his first meeting with 21-year-old Elizabeth Taylor
i wrote to Elizabeth Taylor in late 2005 when i first watched Cleopatra and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. i wrote to her of how – out of all her 7 husbands – richard (burton) must have loved her the most, and i asked if she missed him. i explained to her that i lived far, far away from her, and that she needn’t worry about her beauty or celebrity even in the so-called far flung regions of the world, for everyone knows the woman with violet eyes. i didn’t know her address, so i simply wrote “Elizabeth Taylor, The One with Violet Eyes, Bel Air, LA” on the envelope. naturally, i didn’t think anything would come of it.
she responded in February 2006 with a signed photo of herself. i was so pleased and excited, until i reached the bottom of the envelope and realized there was a blue note in it that said in elaborate fanciful writing, “Thank you, Annabel, for your lovely letter. Love, Elizabeth Taylor”. i have this framed and hung on my bedroom wall, as concrete proof that this supposedly larger-than-life woman held me briefly in her thoughts once upon a time, proof that some things you never thought possible can sometimes come to fruition.
elizabeth taylor was neither an ordinary celebrity nor a normal woman. to me, she was never larger-than-life; she simply loved, lived, laughed, fought, drank, ate in excess. yes, she’s always been too much. critics have always harped on her 8 marriages to 7 men. but the point was, she married all her lovers. oftentimes, this greatly overshadowed her ability as an Academy Award winning actress. i should have very much like to have known her, of all the people in the world. even in her old age, she would often be seen around LA being wheeled around to gay bars every now and then, downing tequila shots and drinking apple martinis.
i don’t really care if she was an immoral, deceitful spoilt brat. she embraced both her vices and virtues and wasn’t ever once ashamed of it, so why should we be? she will be remembered for everything good and bad she’s ever done: the amazing things she’s done for AIDS, dubbed the “gay disease” in the 80’s; for being michael jackson’s confidante; for marrying the same crazy man twice, for destroying marriages; for winning an Oscar for playing a prostitute; for being wheeled in and out of the hospital in her later years; for having a 21 inch waist in her youth; for being the owner of the 69 karat Burton-Taylor diamond. the list goes on.
to me, she will always be the symbol of the fine line between good, bad, wrong, right; a firm reminder that no one can be perfect, and that we can only be the best we can be in this fleeting life.
You are who you are. All you can do in this world is help others to be who they are and better themselves and those around them.