Probably like many people reading this, I’ve spent a lot of the afternoon reading and thinking about Elizabeth Taylor, who died earlier this morning at the age of 79. And I’ve been watching clips of and about Taylor on YouTube, of which there are many. Here, now, are just a few of the best I’ve found.
“I am a survivor,” Taylor says in this amazing clip from “The Tonight Show” circa 1992. “I’ve had addictions, weight problems, and extreme happiness,” she tells Johnny Carson (she also had a bedazzled leather sportcoat, apparently). Kidding aside, how often to megastars talk this unguardedly about their personal life and demons on late night television? Or anywhere? That’s why people loved “Liz.” She’s hysterically funny when she talks about her marriages, too. She had fun with her own persona, that’s for sure.
Did you know Elizabeth Taylor was on “General Hospital?” I didn’t. Did you know someone went to the trouble not only of compiling her bloopers but to put them on YouTube? Well, they did. Before you judge her repeated flubs, you try saying the name Mikkos Cassadine in a cleavage-bearing gown.
I actually find Taylor charming in these unguarded moments. She’s got a great laugh, and it’s pretty clear that she reached a point in the business where she was untouchable and she knew it. She could do and say just about anything and get away with it. Like this moment, from the 2001 Golden Globes, where she nearly ruined the drama around the Best Picture winner by looking inside the envelope rather than reading the nominees off the teleprompter. This video is called “Elizabeth Taylor Drunk at the Golden Globe Awards” on YouTube. NOTE: I didn’t call her drunk. The guy who named this YouTube clip did. I want to make that very clear:
Also, it’s not embeddable, but you should really check out Edward R. Murrow’s interview with Taylor and then husband Mike Todd, from “Person to Person” in 1957. Todd died in a plane crash about a year after this interview, which is a little freaky to consider when he brags about how it’s better to be lucky than smart in the movie business (Todd was a producer who won the Academy Award for his film “Around the World in 80 Days”). In the most fascianting exchange, Murrow asks Taylor whether she plans to retire from acting to become a full-time housewife for Todd. “I couldn’t really care less about making movies, to tell you the truth,” she says. “I consider it much more important to be a good woman than a great actress.” And this interview came before she won either of her two Oscars or made “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Life is funny sometimes. Funnier than watching Elizabeth Taylor butcher the name Mikkos Cassadine.