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Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011

Elizabeth Taylor, 1932-2011 (photo)

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After a length bout with congestive heart failure, Elizabeth Taylor, one of the most iconic movie stars in Hollywood history and a two-time Academy Award winner (for 1960’s “Butterfield 8” and 1966’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?”), passed away in Los Angeles early this morning at the age of 79. The author of her obituary in The New York Times is as good an indicator as any of Taylor’s frequent health problems in recent years. Her obit is written primarily by Mel Gussow, who passed away six years ago, according to a note at the bottom of the article, indicating that The Times was anticipating this great star’s passing for quite a while. Here is an excerpt:

“Sometimes her film roles seemed to be a mirror image of her own life. More than most movie stars, she seemed to exist in the public domain, where her indiscretions were bared under a spotlight. She was pursued by paparazzi and denounced by the Vatican. But behind the seemingly scandalous behavior was a woman with a clear sense of morality: she habitually married her lovers. People watched and counted, with vicarious pleasure, as she became Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky — enough marriages to certify her career as a serial wife. Asked why she married so often, she said, in an assumed drawl: ‘I don’t know, honey. It sure beats the hell out of me.'”

Though I would never dispute Taylor’s impact on American culture, I’m not going to sit here and pretend she’s made a major impact on my own life. By the time I started watching movies, Taylor had all but retired from acting; as a child, I knew her primarily as a late night talk show punchline (for all those marriages mentioned above, eight of them to seven different men) and as a tireless perfume peddler. I’ve seen some of her most famous roles but I’ll confess to being woefully unknowledgeable about most of her filmography. But if one good thing comes out of great actors’ deaths is that they afford us an opportunity to take time out from our perpetual obsession with what is next and new to reflect on and reassess their careers and lives. So look for us to do that in the days ahead with Mrs. Taylor on I’m looking forward to it.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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