The Marilyn Myth & The Liz Legend Part 3
Elizabeth Taylor is a different sort of screen goddess, even though she too has been on a life - long quest for true love, with her numerous marriages and rumored affairs. But, unlike MM, from her earliest teenage film roles Liz received critical praise as a serious actress. She had the opportunity throughout her career to sink her teeth into the kind of movies that Marilyn only dreamed of, earning two Oscars in the process, one as a jaded call - girl in Butterfield 8 and the other as a troubled college professor's wife in the wrenching Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Like MM, Liz graced the covers of many magazines, and she holds the record as having been on the most Life magazine covers. And even now, in her advanced senior years, her image is regularly found in fashion magazines, weekly tabloids and other publications.
Elizabeth Taylor has kept the public fascinated for over four decades. Her numerous bouts with life - threatening illnesses and her battles with food and drug binges have all been received with general sympathy. The scandal surrounding her fabled extra - marital affair with actor Richard Burton kept whole staffs of tabloids employed throughout the 1960s, and even then, she was depicted less as a brazen other - woman, and more as a regal empress seeking out her rightful emperor.
At the pinnacle of her screen popularity the royal couple paired up in one of the most spectacular bombs ever produced, the abysmal Cleopatra. That's where they met, and fell in love, despite her marriage to recording artist Eddie Fisher, whom it was said Liz stole away from Debbie Reynolds, and his to London celebrity Sybil. Their stormy relationship, marked by two major break - ups and two weddings, was reported upon almost daily in the press. Burton showered his queen with riches beyond measure, and the couple's lifestyle flaunted an opulence that most could only dream of, flying off to Paris for candlelight dinners and such like.
Not long after Burton's death in 1985 Liz told the press that he was the only man she had ever truly loved. Surely their story is one that legends are made of.
In recent years, Liz has attained even more of a regal status. It may be in her position as spokesperson for AIDS awareness that Elizabeth Taylor has found her most elevated status. A tireless and highly visible presence in the Hollywood community, she frequently appears in public to fight the good fight.
While Liz, like MM, held a spot as one of America's premier sex symbols during the 1950s and '60s, she was able to remain aloof as she was desired, living her own life with an I-don't-give-a-damn and a projected image of strength, opposed to Marilyn's vulnerability. And though her private life has been racked with more pain than any six people should have to endure, she has created the lasting image of survivor, not victim. With all her weight fluctuations and health woes, she remains a glamorous icon, providing living proof that older women can still be stunningly beautiful, something that Marilyn never had the opportunity to demonstrate.
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