When I was a young acting student about three lifetimes ago, I couldnt get enough of the talented and achingly beautiful Elizabeth Taylor . I was floored by her fierce and fragile performance in Butterfield 8, for which she won her first Oscar. I was seduced by her sexy Maggie the Cat in Tennessee Williams Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, opposite Westports most beloved bold face name, the late Paul Newman . And I was awestruck by her raw, wry, devastating performance as Martha, in the film adaptation of Edward Albees Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf? which earned her a much deserved second Oscar. I was so enamored that I almost dyed my light blonde locks jet black just to feel a little more like her.
But Elizabeth Taylor will not be remembered only for her onscreen excavations into the sultry worlds of the often damaged characters she played. Despite her death on March 23 at age 79, reportedly due to congestive heart failure, she remains one of Hollywoods most gorgeous and glamorous stars. There is no disputing her status as 20th century style icon. Who can forget the Christian Dior gown she wore when she won her first Oscar in 1961, holding the statue in her delicate, white-gloved hands? Or the outrageous-at-the-time risks she took with makeup, accessories and husbands? She was an undisputed trend-setter in two of those three categories.
Her style extended beyond designer dresses, though. Like any true icon, she used her considerable fame to raise money and awareness for several causes, most notably for AIDS research, for which she raised millions of dollars.
Whether draped in furs or wearing a simple slip -- or sometimes both at once -- Elizabeth Taylors style seduced. The woman is gone, but her bright, bold, beautiful star shines on. Like a diamond, really. And that suits her rather well.
What are your favorite Liz Taylor looks? Share your memories here.
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