Elizabeth Taylor Dead at 79: Remembering a Star of All Screens

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I know it might seem odd for TVLine to be writing about the passing of Elizabeth Taylor. “She was a movie star,” you might argue. To which I’d respond, no, kids, she was a star, period.

I have never been in a room with the Oscar winner, never seen in person the eyes that shone like violet diamonds. But I don’t for a second doubt that whenever she walked into a room, there were gasps. You could tell from her movies (and perhaps also from her marriages) — she had the kind of presence that short-circuited guys’ brains.

And, I shouldn’t have to but will mention, anyway, you could tell just as easily that Dame Liz was a force of nature from her tube appearances. In her brief 1981 visit to General Hospital, she embodied villainess Helena Cassadine with a glamour and gravitas that was eerily seductive.

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The Simpsons knew, too, that when it came to Taylor, neither the size of the screen, nor the extent of the part, mattered: They chose her to speak baby Maggie’s first word (“Daddy”) way back in Season 4.

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However, it isn’t the Hollywood icon’s “it” factor that left me so enamored of her, nor is that what’s left me so saddened by her passing. It’s that, for all the talk about how beautiful she was, there was never a moment that I didn’t feel like she backed up her style with substance. Whether fiery or funny, violent or vulnerable, she was “there,” in the moment, rolling with the punches and sometimes throwing them herself.

Does any actress of today give you that same sense of danger and enticement? Could any? I don’t think so. But I’m open to discussion. Feel free to try to cheer me up below.

TCM will air a 24-hour movie marathon tribute to Elizabeth Taylor on Sunday, April 10, starting at 6 am EST. Father of the Bride, National Velvet, BUtterfield 8 and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? are just some of the films to be featured.

Comments (14)

  • What an actress.. and a human being.

    Comment by Liz – March 23, 2011 08:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • One of the last great Hollywood Legends is Gone… a sad day indeed. May she Rest In Peace.

    Comment by Lambsilencer – March 23, 2011 08:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ah, the original Helena Cassadine. She was incomparable. RIP Liz. You’re in great company, now.

    Comment by kym – March 23, 2011 08:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Elizabeth Taylor was the ultimate movie star. Any “actress” today would be lucky to come close to her talent. Everytime I watch “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” or “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” I get chills when I watch her performance. She used the tragedies in her life to feed her greatness. Unfortunately I wasn’t around during her heyday but what I do know and remember of her has left a lasting impression on my head and in my heart. No other actress can come close to Dame Eliaabeth Taylor, a true movie star she was! RIP Elizabeth AKA Maggie the cat

    Comment by Anteaus – March 23, 2011 08:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Her performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf was incredible. I get chills when I watch it, too.

      Comment by kj – March 23, 2011 09:21 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Also the restrained and forgotten performance of the aging actress opposite Joseph Bottoms in 1977′s Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation, “Return Engagement.” Truly lovely performance.

    Comment by Mike C. – March 23, 2011 08:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I remember her on General Hospital. That was amazing.

    Comment by Sandra – March 23, 2011 09:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “danger and enticement”

    She’s a tough act to follow. She lived a very very full life and I imagine she would repeat what she said in the past, regarding passing on, with a twinkle in her eye:
    “I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I’m not afraid to look behind them.
    Elizabeth Taylor”

    She’s having a new adventure today, and I imagine she made quite an entrance.

    Comment by SnazzyO – March 23, 2011 09:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Elizabeth Taylor’s death is really hitting me. But at least she and Richard Burton are together again, this time forever.

    Comment by Melania – March 23, 2011 10:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Her passing feels like the end of an era. She was one of the last of Old Hollywood’s true legends. I wonder if General Hospital will dedicate an upcoming episode to her. Seems only fitting that they should.

    Comment by Pattie – March 23, 2011 11:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • She lived life to the fullest. A great talent, a great humanitarian and as loyal and devoted a friend as anybody could ask for. Hopefully she, Richard Burton, Roddy McDowell and Montgomery Clift are all hanging out together right now.

    Comment by Amy – March 23, 2011 01:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • It’s like you read my mind. It truly is the end of an era. No one in Hollywood today can compare to this legendary icon. She was so beautiful, inside & out.

      RIP, Ms. Taylor.

      Comment by Lorie – March 23, 2011 02:30 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • No one can compare to Taylor, but the ONE star of today who i think could probably hold her own with the stars of Taylor’s era is Cate Blanchett.

    Comment by deedeedragons – March 23, 2011 03:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Rest in peace, Dame Elizabeth. Your class will be sorely missed in today’s Hollywood.

    Comment by Debbie – March 23, 2011 09:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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