Today's guest post is by Julie Farin, (@JulieFarin)
With the death of legendary actress and activist Elizabeth Taylor, so goes the end of an era – the Golden Age of Hollywood – when a handful of studio moguls, like Louis B. Mayer, Darryl Zanuck, and Jack Warner controlled careers, when glamorous leading ladies, like the breathtakingly beautiful Liz, guaranteed big box office returns, and when celebrity media coverage dominated by Hedda, Louella, and Winchell, was carefully managed.
Dame Elizabeth Taylor packed a lot of living into her 79 years; way more than us mere mortals. Some might consider her life a cautionary tale filled with failed marriages and endless illnesses, topped with addictions to alcohol, pain medication, and food. But I believe that we can all take away some valuable life lessons from the Oscar-winning Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky.
• Never underestimate the power and attention that comes with dazzling beauty – and knowing how to use it wisely.
• Ask for what you believe you’re worth. Taylor had no particular interest in starring in Cleopatra, so she flippantly told 20th Century Fox that she’d do it only if they paid her $1 million. Her negotiating chutzpah made her the highest-paid actor in Hollywood and the first ever to earn a seven-figure salary for one film.
• Getting back together with an ex- is seldom a good idea. Elizabeth Taylor was publicly condemned by the Vatican when news broke of her scandalous affair with Richard Burton during the filming of Cleopatra in Rome. Liz & Dick married in 1964 and divorced ten years later, only to remarry in 1975. However, the problems in their relationship still hadn’t been resolved, so they wound up divorcing a second time after less than a year.
• Speak out against injustice and stand up for you believe in– even when it’s unpopular. Nowadays, just about every celebrity is connected to a charity cause. Back in the mid-1980s, few in Hollywood wanted to be associated with the new health crisis– HIV and AIDS– which was labeled the “gay plague” at the time. But LA Liz went all the way to Washington, DC to petition Congress to fund research for cures and co-founded AmfAR.
Elizabeth Taylor was a one of a kind gem, and the world was much richer for having her in it for 79 years. As her good friend Larry King said upon hearing of her death, “There’ll never be another like her.”