Elizabeth Taylor has been a trusted friend to the gay community, & we have loved her right back. She was very close friends & a confidant of gay men: Roddy McDowell, Rock Hudson, George Cukor, Noel Coward, James Dean & most famously to Montgomery Clift. Were there ever any 2 actors at the apex of their beauty, more stunning than Taylor & Clift kissing in A Place In The Sun?
Elizabeth Taylor is a conundrum: truly classy, but perfectly campy, deeply kind, but shamelessly embarrassing, perennially lonely, but serially monogamous. Pills, coke, booze, men, the commercials, the mascara, Studio 54, the guest apperances on soap operas… Elizabeth Taylor & I got through the 1970s together. She gave audacious performances in film adaptations of “gay” plays as Tennessee Williams’s Suddenly Last Summer & Cat On A Hot Tim Roof, & Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
I appreciate that she has had a taste for expensive pharmaceuticals, rich fabrics & rich men. I tremble at the thought of 8 tumultuous marriages & a public denunciation by the Vatican as a home wrecker. I love her for her dramatic tracheotomy scar, of which she was never ashamed. I appreciate her love affair with jewelry that inspired a book simply titled My Love Affair with Jewelry… it looks handsome on the shelf with my own volume- My Love Affair with Whiskey. I admire her unswerving devotion to her friends, to gay people, & for gay activism & attention to fund raising for HIV/AIDS. My feelings are simpatico as Elizabeth & I both have lived with incidents replete with slurred speech, inelegant gestures of elegance & displays of dignity in the face of devastation & ruin. She turns 78 today.