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RIP Elizabeth Taylor

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In the mid 1990s POZ had been trying to get an interview with Elizabeth Taylor for several years.  We had been both patient and persistent and, in the process, had become friendly with one of her PR representatives.  At one point the PR person told us that Elizabeth had agreed to the interview, but it wasn't scheduled.  We were told to be ready as we may not get much notice when she is prepared to do it.  Not long after her surgery, we got the call and sent Kevin Sessums to Los Angeles to interview her; it was one of her very first interviews after she had brain surgery.  There was only one condition, which was that we work out an arrangement with Roddy McDowall to use photographs he had just taken of her.  Roddy McDowall was a pleasure, he wanted $2000 and to be listed on the POZ masthead as a contributing photographer. 

Kevin's interview with her was terrific and addresses a lot of AIDS-related issues in detail.  It ran as the cover story in a special UK-focused edition of POZ, guest-edited by writer/performer Aiden Shaw:

http://www.poz.com/articles/elizabeth_taylor_aids_hiv_2071_13608.shtml

Several years later, I was opening a restaurant in Milford, Pennsylvania.  We were trying to get a liquor license, but the state wasn't issuing any more in our county.  However, there was a provision under the state liquor code that if we could demonstrate we would attract new visitors to the area, they would consider issuing a special license.  So we applied for that special consideration and Elizabeth Taylor wrote a beautiful letter of recommendation for us, indicating that the restaurant would attract artists and film and stage performers to Milford.  Her letter, on lavender-colored, scented stationery, caused quite a stir at the the Pennsylvania State Liquor Control Board.  We got the license.


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Comments on Sean Strub's blog entry "RIP Elizabeth Taylor"

I was the printer for that particular issue of POZ. I remember being told that Liz was the cover story and thought to myself...Finally, someone every walk of life can relate to and will finally listen to this message of need and crisis! Her dedication to raising awareness and funds no doubt saved countless lives.

I am from Minocqua, WI and Liz spent much of her childhood there with her uncle Howard Young, a prominent art dealer. I had the opportunity to meet her in our Northwoods, she was truely a delightful, kind, intelligent woman who followed her heart. She was beauty that saw beauty in so much.

Thank you Liz for all you gave, may you rest in peace and know that a drink is being raised in Milford and across the world in your honor.

As a longterm survivor of HIV of 24 years, I feel a "thank you" or "rest in peace" just isn't enough for the lady who played a huge part in my being alive today because of her advocacy and her heartfelt love for all of humanity.

Patrick Archer
Redding, Ca

I have been HIV+ for 20 years. One of the most exciting nights of my life prior to diagnosis was when I saw Elizabeth Taylor in "The Little Foxes" on Broadway. Halston was throwing a party for her that evening and many people were waiting at the back stage entrance. The door opened and out she walked in a shimmering Halston gown, with violets in her hair. She made her way slowly through the crowd, and as the limo door was opened for her she turned and gave a small wave like the Queen that she was. The crowd went wild. She did so many things for our cause. I remember on one awards show she said "I'll just go on being a rowdy activist"

My sister died in 2002 of PML. Before she contracted PML she was a volunteer at the lower east side needle exchange in NYC and then a paid worker. There was one day when there was quite a stir of secrecy going on that there would be something special going on that day. That something special was an anonomous visit from Elizabeth Taylor. She sat there and talked to each and every person that was there asking them what they needed in their lives. One woman needed dentures and Elizabeth made sure she got them. What a wonderful person!

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Strub published on March 23, 2011 11:38 AM.

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