The Queen is dead, long live the Queen: Elizabeth Taylor 1932--2011

So long, Elizabeth. You can read my obituary of E.T. (as Mike Nichols called her) here.

But as she contained multitudes, there's so much more to say. She was one of the most photogenic faces the screen has ever known, had one of the longest continuous Hollywood careers and was one hell of an actress.


I met her twice, once as a five-year-old in the dressing room of a Beverly Hills boutique where my mother was trying on a dress; the second time as a journalist at the Film Society of Lincoln Center tribute to her. There, the film clips demonstrated that she was more than a photogenic face atop a centerfold body. From National Velvet through The Taming of the Shrew, she grew as an actress, not just in years and weight, but in genuine emotional depth. She played variations on the theme of cyclone, ever the torrent of activity energizing passive or intimidated lovers.

Of the many loving tributes paid that night, the most honest and least glib came from Mike Nichols (who directed her Oscar-winning performance in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf):

"There are Three Things about Elizabeth," he said.

She never lies.

She's never unkind.

She's never on time.

 Your favorite Taylor performance? A Place in the Sun is mine.