A collection of Vanity Fair’s best pieces on Hollywood’s violet-eyed starlet.
In this inaugural e-book launch of the magazine’s “Best of” series, a variety of respected journalists and authors share personal memories, dogged research, intensive sit-down interviews and book excerpts reflecting on the passion and the histrionics that made Elizabeth Taylor (1932–2011) an indelible celebrity. Editor-in-chief Graydon Carter’s introduction recalls the one and only time he’d met the “fun and bawdy” Taylor, seated at Elton John’s birthday dinner with a pet Maltese perched in her lap. A longtime friend of the star, Dominick Dunne dusts off his previously unpublished introspective introduction to Taylor’s coffee-table book My Love Affair with Jewelry. Dunne’s writing appears later in the volume with a worshipful 1985 article profiling the omnipresent star as “trained like royalty to understand and undertake the obligations of her calling.” Taylor’s sensationalized relationship with Richard Burton is given a curtsy both in contributing editor Sam Kashner’s exploratory chronicling of the glamorous couple through their film roles and a generous 16-page excerpt from his dual biography of the stars, Furious Love. An affectionately conceived excerpt from “tanning virtuoso” George Hamilton’s 2008 memoir Don’t Mind if I Do finds Taylor coyly flirtatious, and prolific novelist and Hollywood insider Gwen Davis offers a glimpse into her own Hollywood-styled friendship with the “hedgehopping” beauty. Perhaps most moving is contributing editor Nancy Collins’ expansive piece on Taylor’s tireless, humanitarian AIDS activism, leavened with scenes of fostering her middle-class former hubby Larry Fortensky’s acceptance of homosexuals (“now, some of his best friends are”). A commemorative timeline, Taylor’s screen and stage credits and resonant photographs punctuate this noteworthy memorial to a commanding icon who sparkled with grace and substance.
An enchanting and respectful homage to an unforgettable legend.