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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Legend Has Passed

The last time we used that headline, "A Legend Has Passed" was a couple of years ago when Paul Newman died. That's because movie stars come and go, but only a handful of movie stars become legendary and even fewer reach iconic status in our American culture.
And now, we've lost another of those cultural icons; Elizabeth Taylor has died at 79. If you only cared about Taylor's two-time Oscar winning acting career, you'd be missing a big part of the picture. She was also famous for her beauty; with her violet eyes she was for many years considered one of the most beautiful women in the world. When she wore that white gown in "A Place in the Sun", millions of teenage girls copied the dress that year for their weddings and proms.
But Taylor will also be remembered for being a humanitarian of great courage. She fought tirelessly in the early days of the AIDS crisis to fight for better medical treatment for those patients, and to raise money for research. You have to remember that she did this at a time when most other Americans, including our own Pres. Reagan, was so afraid of confronting the disease that many, including Reagan, wouldn't even say the word "AIDS" in public, much less take a stand to fight the scourge. She was also one of the greatest friends the gay community will ever hope to have. She openly supported her many gay friends, again at a time when to do so was to risk a major backlash in Hollywood and from society in general.
Star, beauty, icon, humanitarian; remember her as you will, but we can safely say that she was a truly great human being, and we won't see the likes of her again for a long, long time.

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