Published March 23, 2011
I met her only once, at a gala at Wolf Trap Farm Park in Vienna, Virginia. She was married to Senator John Warner at the time. Everything people said about her eyes was true. They pulled at me like a strong magnet. The jaw literally drops when confronted with such beauty.
But beauty has a price, and not only in maintaining it with cosmetics and special lenses to erase age lines. In Taylor's case, her beauty was also her curse, attracting men of questionable character and purpose. She was married eight times, twice to her co-star Richard Burton, and probably had flings with others.
She was a tireless campaigner against AIDS and compiled body of work that will survive as long as film lives.
Her breakout film, "National Velvet" (co-starring Mickey Rooney) was a gem that remains as good today as it was when released six decades ago. Her role as the bitchy "Martha" in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (with Richard Burton, whose presence added to the film's attraction) traded her beauty for gray hair and wrinkles and caused audiences to focus on her considerable acting skills. "Night of the Iguana" paired Taylor and Burton as did "Cleopatra," the film that launched their affair and led to one of their two marriages.
Elizabeth Taylor was not a celebrity. She was a star. There is a difference. Anyone who had the pleasure of looking into those eyes knows what I mean.
Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated newspaper columnist and a Fox News contributor.