Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011

Elizabeth Taylor with Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds

The death of actress Elizabeth Taylor has been announced. She was 79 and had been in declining health for a number of years. Her career started as a juvenile actress in the 1940s with National Velvet, continued into her adult years with two movies that won her Oscars, Butterfield 8 and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and on for another two decades before cooling off. Taylor was of course also well known for her multiple husbands, and, after the movies ended, raising money for AIDS research. Oh, and the perfume commercials.

I find that I really haven't blogged all that much about Taylor's movies. I think that's because she's another of those who wasn't among my favorite stars. Not that she wasn't good; it's more just a matter of personal taste. A Place in the Sun, in which she appeared with Montgomery Clift, is a great movie, although I would argue it's Shelley Winters' performance that makes it such a good movie, with Taylor's performance secondary. She's better in Suddenly, Last Summer, but I think it's really the whole ensemble put together, combined with the subject material, that makes Suddenly, Last Summer such an interesting movie. Taylor appears with Clift in both movies, and indeed narrated a piece on Clift that appears from time to time on TCM in between movies.

I'm sure TCM will preempt its regularly-scheduled programming at some point for a tribute to Taylor, but this quickly after her death, I don't know when that's going to be.

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