This past weekend, I watched Father’s Little Dividend, the sequel to the original Father of the Bride. While the story was weak, the cast was strong, particularly Spencer Tracy as the father the expectant Elizabeth Taylor. And she was always exquisite. Even when she seemed to phone in her roles, as it the celebrated shipwreck, Cleopatra, she looked exquisite on screen.
She was truly a movie star. And she leaves with us a number of brilliant performances as well, particularly in films from the 1950s, including Suddenly, Last Summer and A Place in the Sun. That great lady died earlier “today at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Hospital. She was 79“:
“She was surrounded by her children: Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd, and Maria Burton,” Taylor’s publicist, Sally Morrison, said in a statement.
In the same statement, Michael Howard Wilding, 58, memorialized his mother:
“My Mother was an extraordinary woman who lived life to the fullest, with great passion, humor, and love,” he said. “Though her loss is devastating to those of us who held her so close and so dear, we will always be inspired by her enduring contribution to our world. Her remarkable body of work in film, her ongoing success as a businesswoman, and her brave and relentless advocacy in the fight against HIV/AIDS, all make us all incredibly proud of what she accomplished. We know, quite simply, that the world is a better place for Mom having lived in it. Her legacy will never fade, her spirit will always be with us, and her love will live forever in our hearts.
The New York Times reports:
In a world of flickering images, Elizabeth Taylor was a constant star. First appearing onscreen at age 9, she grew up there, never passing through an awkward age. It was one quick leap from “National Velvet” to “A Place in the Sun” and from there to “Cleopatra” as she was indelibly transformed from a vulnerable child actress into a voluptuous film queen.
In a career of more than 70 years and more than 50 films, she won two Academy Awards as best actress, for her performances as a call girl in “Butterfield 8” (in 1960) and as the acid-tongued Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (in 1966). Mike Nichols, who directed her in “Virginia Woolf,” said he considered her “one of the greatest cinema actresses.”
She will be missed, but she leaves behind an incredible, incredible body of work.