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Saying Goodbye to Some Classics

March 27, 2011

A great icon passed away this week, the great Elizabeth Taylor. She really was stunning, with her beautiful violet eyes and those eyebrows, her dark hair and that angelic face.

I remember watching her in “Butterfield 8”, what a great film, this was the first Taylor film I ever watched. Her performance was stunning and moving. So were her other films: “Giant”, “Cleopatra”, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”, “Who’s Afraid Of Virgina Woolf”. With “Cleopatra” she became the highest paid actress of the time. Honestly, it is hard to imagine a Hollywood without her, that would have been tragic in my opinion. It would have been great talent and great beauty gone to waste. She was also the target of scandals with her taking on seven husbands, accused of  “stealing” Eddie Fisher from his then wife and then leaving him for Richard Burton, whom she married twice, making her married 8 times. These events are believed to have started the paparazzi age in Hollywood, where reporters and fans started to take a keen interest in the scandalous lives of celebrities. Where their every move became cause for sensation and photographed for all to see.

But beyond her eyes, her beauty, the scandals and fame, receiving a DBE from Queen Elizabeth II, she was also an early pioneer for HIV and AIDS awareness/research in a time when this was a taboo subject or merely ignored as “that gay disease”. She believed in the cause to educate the world of HIV and AIDS, raising millions in the hopes of one day eradicating it. Now, thanks to all the research that was made possibly by people like Elizabeth Taylor, HIV patients can have more prolonged quality of life, not to mention a long overdue decrease in the stigma associated with the disease.

She will always be an icon and absolutely timeless. She will be missed for her great talent and her compassion.

Random Elizabeth Taylor Facts:

At age 27, she converted to Judaism
She was born with a “mutation” of violet eyes and a double row of eyelashes
She was said to never refuse an autograph
She was in some film cameos in “Anne of A Thousand days” “North and South” and “The Flintstones” she looked amazing
Stood at 5’2″  and her nickname was Kitten. She hated being called Liz
Despite being born in London, her parents were from St. Louis Missouri
Also famous for having a vast jewelry collections (she auctioned off some of her jewelry for charity)

Dame Elizabeth Taylor:

Elizabeth

Acting is, to me now, artificial. Seeing people suffer is real. It couldn’t be more real. Some people don’t like to look at it in the face because it’s painful. But if nobody does, then nothing gets done.- Taylor.

 

Gene Tierney

The talk a classic Hollywood lady reminds me of Gene Tierney, who happens to me my favorite actress, and as such I will mention her. Gene is older than Elizabeth, and was hugely popular in the 1940s era of Hollywood films. She is described as one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood history and I do agree.

Gene had beautiful almond shaped green eyes, luscious brown hair and what was described to be the “sexiest overbite” which in itself may sound strange but as you can see…. she was sexy

Gene Tierney:

Gene was an upper class girl from New York. The daughter of a well to do Irishman who made a good fortune in the US she experienced the rush of Hollywood as a teenager. However, her traditional family did not let her pursue that dream until she became a debutant at 18. At that point she went to Broadway where she starred in some plays, the plays themselves were not huge hits but she shone through them, making headlines for her talent and beauty. Then a huge Hollywood studio executive Darryl Zanuck spotted the young Gene, and the rest is history. She made it to Hollywood and began a prominent acting career, starting in one of the most famous film noir works “Laura”. Other great films include “The Shanghai Gesture” “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” “Son of Fury”, “Heaven Can Wait”. Not to mention her amazing role as the villainess  in “Leave Her to Heaven” my favorite Tierney Film.

She was young, beautiful and talented that even Howard Hughes was smitten by her…as Gene’s husband famously tried to chase him off.

Gene’s life of fame did come at a price. While she was expecting her first child, a female fan approached her. The meeting left the pregnant Gene with German measles, leaving her daughter to be born severely mentally disabled. This took great emotional stress on Gene, who later found the female fan who confessed that she was quarantined with German measles but when she found out Gene was in town, escaped quarantine to meet her. Gene blamed herself, her fame for this and she was never the same. She did have another daughter who was born healthy, but Gene started to suffer from some mental issues. With delusions, unable to function in acting, forgetting things  and overall feeling like she was loosing her mind.

In the end, this beautiful starlet found herself committed to psychiatric hospitals where she received shock treatments, which horrified her. The pain of the shocks were enough to have her try to escape the clinic but she was later found and returned. She spent years in recovery going in and out of hospitals, labeled as “insane”, and suffering great memory loss because of the shocks she received. After being labeled as recovered she tried to return to Hollywood and although it was not hard to star in films again, she found herself now to be much older. She left Hollywood for good. Her marriage to Oleg Cassini had ended long before and she did remarry and lived happily in Texas for the rest of her life. Often joking how her new husband didn’t care that she had gone “crazy”. It is said that she still suffered a bit from mental illness even while living out her days in Texas. She still communicated with ex-husband Cassini who said in her biography “Gene Tierney: A Shattered Portrait” that she would sometimes call him and spoke to him as if they were still in the 1940s.

It is quite sad that a wonderful actress and beautiful woman suffered this fate. She was also a timeless classic actress who in my opinion  is underrated. I love her and for some reason I feel closest to her, not just because of her looks and talent but maybe because she reminds me of how delicate the mind can be. Despite her battle with mental illness, she will always be my favorite actress. Her and Elizabeth Taylor are icons that will for ever be missed.

Gene Tierney Facts:
Yes I shamelessly try to copy her
She is often my icon or profile picture in many social sites, then people ask me “is that really you?” and I say “No, that is the great Gene Tierney!” I wish though.
As Syd Barrett is my favorite singer, she is my favorite actor of all time. They both also suffered similar tragic fates.

Gene                                                                                                       Elizabeth

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