I was saddened to read that Elizabeth Taylor passed away today at the age of 79 after battling congestive heart failure. A true survivor, she suffered for many years from various illnesses. Named Elizabeth like me, she too hated the nickname "Liz" people always think they can call you! "It sounds like a hiss," she said, and I agree. She was renowned for her beauty (complete with violet eyes), but far from just being eye candy, she was a wonderful actress. Her acting displayed heart, vulnerability, courage, and fire.
I have not seen every film she made, but I have seen many of them. I especially loved her in Giant, Butterfield 8, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (her performances in the last two earned her Oscars). To round out my top five Elizabeth Taylor movies, I would add Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Place in the Sun.
When her friend and Giant costar Rock Hudson died in 1985, Taylor began her tireless humanitarian work on behalf of those suffering with AIDS. A staunch ally of the LGBT community, she was close friends with gay costar Montgomery Clift, and with James Dean, who was likely bisexual. Neither her support of her gay friends nor her crusading against the AIDS epidemic were popular actions at the time the way they would be today. She stood up for what she believed in. She has left a remarkable legacy and will be missed.