Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join

A Little Smaller Without Her

et_trachea.jpgThis is one of my favorite photographs of Elizabeth Taylor. It's from the CLEOPATRA period, and if you look closely, just above that magnificent cleavage, you can see that she's tilting her head back slightly, almost defiant, to show off the scar from her famous tracheotomy. This was a woman who wasn't afraid of her scars.

My first job in New York was with amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, which Elizabeth co-founded, and for which she served for many years as the National Chairman (as I recall, she insisted on being the Chairman, as opposed to the Chairperson or Chairwoman).

I used to listen to her on conference calls with the Board of Directors, and marvel that I had come so close to one of the century's great stars and humanitarians.

Later, I would meet her several times, and since my friend Sally coordinated her AIDS work, I would be in her orbit for many years. She was gracious, funny, kind, impulsive, always late, had a sharp (and often dirty) sense of humor, and an unfailing theatricality that served her marvelously over the years.

My friend Richard Pérez-Feria tells of interviewing her in Los Angeles, and "she turned to me as I left the spirited chat and said: 'It all matters, Richard. All of it.'" That, in a nutshell, was Elizabeth.

It's true that sometimes she lived in her own world -- "The thing you must remember about Elizabeth," my friend Dennis once told me, "is that she's been Elizabeth Taylor since she was fourteen years old" -- but her world was kind of a marvelous place to live.

It was a world in which it mattered that one put one's mink false eyelashes on one at a time, rather than in one long strip. It mattered that one spoke kindly to strangers, and carried a beloved dog everywhere one went, even if it meant involving the American Ambassador to bypass animal quarantine laws.

It mattered whether one chose to fight courageously for important things, or simply to sit around waiting for the next honorary award. It mattered whether one was willing to be frank about one's scars.

When she threw herself into it, Elizabeth was a great actress. But seemingly without effort, Elizabeth was always a great woman. The world will be a little smaller without her.


Show Comment(s)

Comments on Spencer Cox's blog entry "A Little Smaller Without Her"

Really well written. I had actually forgotten about her early AIDS work before today. Someone who did the things that she did for that cause could be said to have lived a life worth living. Her greatest legacy.


Thank you for that tiny glimpse into her life, Spencer. It confirms what many of us knew intrinsically.

A lovely remembrance. What a life!

She was fascinating. So are you, Spencer.

Thank you , Spencer . Beautiful prose . <3

She stood up and spoke out when so many in power were afraid and turning away, and she did it with such style and grace and conviction. She did more in one lifetime than most of us could accomplish in five.

great tribute piece, she was an awesome lady!!!!!

It has been two days now and i'm still very sad. I just hope that people will continue on in her memory. a few weeks ago a friend said that he heard a rumor. It had to do with Amfar and that Amfar wanted to find a cure for hiv/aids while taylor was still living.I just hope that we don't give up. She wouldn't want us to give up. There still is work to be done.

Thank you, Spencer for such a well written and insightful article.

Out of the many stars of her generation that I grew up watching,she was by far, my favorite. She had a quiet elegance about her that never left her. What a joy it must have been to actually meet her.

Thank you for paying such a wonderful tribute to a wonderful lady.

A beautiful woman, flawed, fun, witty, caring, cool, good with one liners, fabulous, always relevant, God will bless her and forgive her for Eddie Fisher! LOL She was the last of the greats I believe!!!!!!!!!

Elizabeth,a legend did legendary work helping sick suffering people with the worlds most demoralizing,deadly disease.Having understanding,affiliation, presents the gift of feeling the love from one of the worlds most beautiful woman+++

Liz, as people called Her, was Cleopatra, Virginia Wolf, also a Kitty Cat, but as he Chairwomen, was a Lion. Never would be forgettable and Her violet eyes will watch over us.

Elizabeth hated being called "Liz"

A beautiful and eloquent vignette into the life and passion of one who will truly be remembered as one of the greats. Not only as a gifted actress with a spirited sensibility, but as a woman with guts. A woman who could not just sit on the sidelines and say nothing as this heinous disease swept across the lives of people world wide, but became empowered to stand up to the gross injustice that most people are unwilling to even admit exists. She gave the beaten down and afflicted a voice, when they had no power to speak for themselves, and for that alone, I will always be grateful.
She will be remembered fondly for many, many generations to come, not only for her grace and elegance, but for her amazing unapologetic strength and love for those in need.
God Bless you Elizabeth, and thank you Spencer for yet another beautifully crafted piece.

what a lovely being, beautiful

Leave a comment



Blog Roll

Subscribe to Blog

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Spencer Cox published on March 23, 2011 2:39 PM.

Eye of the Tiger: How To Survive A Plague is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


The opinions expressed by the bloggers and by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong and/or its employees.

Smart + Strong is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information contained in the blogs or within any comments posted to the blogs.

© 2016 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy