This morning marked the passing of a true Hollywood star and one of my all-time favorite icons of style: Elizabeth Taylor. Much to my dismay and the worlds of fashion, beauty, film and all things exquisite in this world, those violet eyes were extinguished today. She was 79 years old.
It would be unfortunate not to mark the moment. Elizabeth Taylor was a Hollywood legend, a true star in every sense. The British-American actress (she was born in London’s West End to ex-patriot parents who were residing there at the time) went on to become one of the great beauties of Hollywood. Starting at the age of 9, Taylor went on to star in memorable roles in many memorable roles in movies like National Velvet, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Cleopatra. She won an Academy Award for her role as Gloria Wandrous in Butterfield 8 in 1960, and continued to make her mark on television, stage and screen for decades.
Taylor’s lovely eyes and breathtaking dark beauty were something that drew men to the other legend she leaves behind – her extraordinary personal life. Married seven times (twice to actor Richard Burton,) Taylor was a storied object of affection. Other than the men who adored her, her other great love was jewelry. An owner of many extraordinary pieces, she was in possession of some of the most extraordinary jewelry ever made, including the 33.19-carat Krupp Diamond; the 69.42-carat, pear-shaped Taylor-Burton Diamond; and the 50-carat La Peregrina Pearl, formerly owned by Mary I of England. These three most extraordinary pieces were purchased by the late Burton. She went on to design her own jewelry through The Elizabeth Collection through the famed auction house, Christie’s.
If you’ve never read or own her book, My Love Affair With Jewelry (Simon & Schuster, 2002) I strongly suggest you purchase this book immediately. If you love jewelry, it will simply send your heart aflutter.
Taylor created three fragrances as part of The Elizabeth Collection: White Diamonds, Passion and Black Pearls, which also made her a legend in the world of beauty. The fragrances have sold an estimated $200 million worldwide and White Diamonds continues to be one of the Top 100 Fragrances of all time.
Personally, it’s also one of my favorite commercials. Watch the woman in action here:
She was also a tireless supporter of worthy causes, becoming a staunch supporter of AIDS research after the death of her beloved friend, actor Rock Hudson. The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation raised an estimated $50 million to support research to cure the disease. Her contributions to the world stricken with this horrible disease will never be forgotten.
Elizabeth Taylor was one of my style icons. I wanted jewelry just like hers. I had photographs of her in my room as a teenager, spending countless hours in the mirror to mimic her sultry gaze. I’ve seen every one of her movies. I’ve always admired her class, her spirit and her incredible elegance.
Please join me in remembering a woman who will always be considered a great icon of fashion, style and beauty. Rest in peace, Dame Elizabeth Taylor.