Felix In Hollywood

A Blog for the Smart Set

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I woke up late this morning and got the shocking but not surprising news that Elizabeth Taylor was dead.  I immediately went around to all my blog buddies to see what was posted; read the reactions.  Many beautiful, sad, funny things were said, and the general consensus seems to be that she will be greatly missed. I was not inclined to do my own post at first, but it turns out there is something that I would like to say.

I will not miss Elizabeth Taylor.  Put down that dvd of "X, Y and Zee" that you've got aimed at my head for a second and let me explain.  When someone that I've known, publicly or personally,  has died I get the feeling that I will miss them generally when their potential was clipped.  When there was more that they could have expressed. But Miss Taylor lived a blockbuster, Cinemascopic, Stereophonic, balls-out, no-stone-unturned, great big fat (sometimes literally) life.

Unlike most celebrities of her era, she never went through an "item in the columns" period.  From her pre-pubescence she was headlines all the way.  She has run the gamut of appearing in lousy pictures to great ones.  She has given everything from walk through performances to shuddering, shattering clinics in the art of motion picture acting.  She somehow managed, at various times, to become the toast of Hollywood, New York, Washington DC, London and Paris.  She's been the Queen of the Nile for chrissakes!

Many years ago she became legendary for her selfishness and for her compulsive acquisition of enough fine jewelery to open a very well appointed shop.  With a stockroom in back.  In more recent years she became just as legendary for her giving, both of time and money. 

Also headlined, of course, were the zany hijinks and madcap merriment of her romantic life.  She was a gal who believed in the 'now' of love.  She understood that there is nothing remotely logical about love and to try to bring logic and appropriateness to it was a futile exercise, and she lived accordingly.

It's also important for me to remember:  She Wasn't Like The Rest Of Us.  I'll never forget a piece of a Vanity Fair article on her many years ago.  It was sometime after the forming of AMFAR.  She was probably in her early sixties at this point. She was to attend a meeting with the Board of Directors of her Foundation that was being held at the downtown Bank of America building.  Afterwords, some of them were going someplace locally for lunch.  Her driver deposited her at the elevators in the parking garage and up she went to the penthouse boardroom.  After the meeting, it was decided that since the restaurant was a few doors away, they would walk to it.  This meant leaving the building by going through the bank lobby.  All these 'suits' and Elizabeth were walking through the bank when suddenly the guys became aware that she was not in their group any more.  They looked back and there she was, standing alone in the middle of the enormous bank, a look of wonder on her face.  They rushed back to her and asked if everything was alright.  More to herself then to them she muttered, "So this is what a bank looks like"!

In more recent years, she quieted down.  No more movie product - headlines few and far between.  She became a maternal homebody in the very same house that she had lived in for many of the spectacle years.  The house that has seen it all.  I find myself thankful that she got to add quietness and mundane to her repertoire of experiences.

In the end, if there's one line of dialog from her career to sums her up it would be from 'V-Woolf':  "I am the Earth Mother".  The earth is a vast and beautiful and horrifying and kind thing.  I will remember Elizabeth Taylor.  I will celebrate her.  But I will not miss her.  She did everything she came here to do.  She was complete.


Ask the Cool Cookie said...

I understand what you are saying, and I certainly agree.

But one more reason why I will miss her and not miss her is that all of her adult roles were melodrama and drama. It can exhaust a person.

Had she done a comedy as an adult, and I think that it would have allowed her to be taken into the hearts of the mainstream.

Still, she was larger than life, and she did everything with a flourish.

I will miss her as a constant in the world around us, but know that in death she'll acheive a different sort of legend.

Rob said...

Oh my gosh Felix--you said it so well! I have nothing more to add.

normadesmond said...

of course you're right felix. she has done it all.

for myself, when i refer to "missing" someone like elizabeth, i'm being selfish. of course, i'll miss those rare more recent moments like when she popped up on larry king, for example; they always amused.

what i'm actually mourning is my life. isn't that what we do with our stars....hold ourselves up to them? make them a part of our entourage?

she was always there and now she's not.

poof, and we're gone.

FelixInHollywood said...

Keen and brilliant observation that, Norma.

Now you take care of yourself, for all our sakes, because as everyone knows: Miss Desmond is the greatest star of them all!

designing wally said...

Very well stated Felix....

I heard on the radio while I was painting, and my first thought was "There goes the earth mother......, I am still her flop".
I'm happy that It was a cold, rainy, grey day in the city, because that's how it all feels...

savannah said...

this was one of the best tributes to elizabeth taylor i've read today! thank you, sugar. xoxox

Thombeau said...

Great post, darling!

TJB said...

Great post, my love. Elizabeth Taylor doesn't need any of us gathering at the wailing wall: she did whatever she wanted to do, ate whatever she wanted to eat, drank whatever she wanted eat, f*cked whomever she wanted to f*ck, unapologetically, and lived with the consequences.

"Rest in peace" seems an absurd benediction for someone who lived for being surrounded by such glamorous chaos; if there truly is a paradise, surely Elizabeth Taylor's version is wonderful, mad, loving, colorful -- but not peaceful.

Psycho Sue- Sew Misunderstood said...

excellent blog and very well said!

Margaret said...

Well, she has a long line of family, friends, and oh yes, ex husbands, to meet and greet in Heaven...I will miss knowing she's with us, among us, and being with her family, but it was her time to leave, and it always hits us hard when we realize that our days are measured.

Donna Lethal said...

Brilliant. I was in denial until yesterday afternoon.