Popular Culture

Glamorous Former Mrs. Fortensky and One-Time Maker of Bad Movies Liz Taylor Dies; Shatner Lives on!


Liz Taylor is dead, predeceased by her obit writer by about six years. Condolences to Taylor's family, friends, and fans, of course. And questions raised for the rest of us, especially about the persistence of fame or, I guess, more accurately celebrity (being famous for being famous). Taylor's roots as a public figure are in the old studio system and she was a big big star back when such behemoths strode the silver screen like modern-day gods from Olympus (where is my cocaine or at least 5 hour energy drink?!?). But unless you went through puberty around the time of National Velvet, Taylor's enduring fame and fascination is really strikingly odd.

Other than a General Hospital stretch and a few toss-off roles, sometimes in animated shows like The Simpsons, she hasn't really worked since 1980, when she appeared in the generally awful Mirror Crack'd. Over the past 30 (!) years, she'd morphed into a Zsa Zsa Gabor type figure, albeit one with two Oscar wins (including a best actress statuette for the rotten Butterfield 8, yet another Hollywood production about a hooker with a heart of gold and—spoiler alert!—a foot of lead). Even when you look at her "10 essential movies," the list is clotted with absolutely terrible flicks ranging from Cleopatra (Caligula without the nudity, which is to say without any redeeming feature),  The Flintsones (are you fucking kidding?), National Velvet (not even Freud could care), and A Place in the Sun (to be fair, the Theodore Dreiser novel upon which it's based deserved worse).

Taylor acted in some memorable movies—Suddenly, Last Summer, bowdlerized Tennessee Williams for sure, and really carried by the obvious insanity of Monty Clift and Kate Hepburn; Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which deservedly earned her the second Oscar; and what else, really? Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is another clip-job of Tennessee Williams and is about as riveting as the kids playing mobsters in Bugsy Malone; we've all seen better high school productions. Giant is a Texas-sized cow pie, with hambone acting from La Taylor, James Dean, and Rock Hudson. Whatever scenery hasn't been chewed to death is processed whole by Dennis Hopper in a minor, Bobby Bradyesque role. Taylor's filmography seems split between movies that only get less interesting with every passing year and films that were never any good in the first place. (Elephant Walk, anybody?)

But none of that really matters: It's genuinely interesting that she managed to command an army of gossip columnists and scandal sheets for the many decades of her public life (which started in her teen years). I got my start (and I hope to hell, my finish) as a journo at the company that published Modern Screen, the old movie fanzine, and for a huge stretch of that rag's run, Liz was on the cover, with Dick Burton or Nicky Hilton or whatever arm candy of the moment she was twirling around. Even Larry Fortensky, the original Joe the Plumber in America's hearts, the Lech Walesa of love, a construction worker who met Liz in rehab and became the eighth Mr. Taylor (in a ceremony at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch of all places). When she and Burton lost their luster as a pair of public boozers (mostly because they stopped making even shitty movies, alone and together), Taylor's replacement on Modern Screen, TV Movie Mirror, and later People and Us Weekly was basically Cher (avec et sans Sonny, David Geffen, Duane Allman, and her own Fortenskian amour, Rob "the bagel maker" Camilletti). From Liz to Cher! Talk about the '70s as an age of diminished expectations!

Like Marilyn Monroe, Taylor functioned as a camp icon as that mode of consciousness was going mainstream in the '60s. She one-upped Monroe by not dying tragically and thus giving her fans the unalloyed pleasure of watching her devolve into the gargoyle version of herself (see picture above). Andy Warhol's celebrated "Lifesaver" portraits of Taylor (the different colors are like different flavors of a star that all taste the same) are made even funnier and more poignant as the subject starts to look more and more like a desperate cartoon version of herself.

But I just don't get Taylor's gravitational cultural force. I know that's my failing, not that of her fans (or even of her rancid filmography). She died at age 79. But I think I understand the general dynamic beyond enduring appeal such as hers. She's got something that most stars, most figures, never achieve. As it happens, yesterday was the 80th birthday of William Shatner, a figure who is not only Taylor's exact contemporary, but similarly a camp icon as well.

Shatner has made a career of appearing in junk—after an early career in serious but generally forgettable roles and movies (he's in a bad Hollywood version of The Brothers Karamazov and has a totally vapid role in Judgement at Nuremberg), he made his name sucking in his gut while clad in velour space suits and wrestling aliens in rubber costumes. Unlike Taylor, he's been in on the joke and has dined out on it, at least since he appeared in an Airplane sequel. As anyone who has listened to The Transformed Man and Has Been can tell you, Shat's shtick is exactly the same; the only thing different is that he's cool with it now.

I'm (obviously) not a fan of the original Star Trek series, despite being surrounded by geeks who used to call their diaries "captain's logs" and translate the calendar into proper star dates. But, as with Taylor, I can appreciate the franchise's immense cultural power. Star Trek has allowed countless people to speak through its fictional universe, whether by creating "slash fiction" that imagines Kirk and Spock as gay lovers (bless his pointed little…) or endlessly debating Vulcan mind-melds and whether or not science would ever create a rocket capable of generating enough thrust to launch James Doohan into orbit. As Constance Penley told me long ago, Star Trek fans, like all self-conscious pop culture consumers, remake "the Star Trek fictional universe to their own desiring ends." The alchemical genius of Star Trek and Le Shat, then, is that they allow us to create, send, and receive messages; such texts create a canvas (yes, mashed metaphors!) that are real conversation starters. We interrogate our sense of identity and our relationship to the past, the future, technology, you name it, everyone time we make a Mr. Sulu joke.

Obviously, we've done something similar with Liz Taylor too. Her face became a literal canvas for Andy Warhol, and ultimately her great gift to the world was not her movies (well, maybe Poker Alice) but that she allowed so many people to use her life as a way of figuring out something in their own lives. The one question I'm left with is whether the only people who pull this off are camp figures. Are there folks who hold their place in our hearts that aren't wrapped in massive layers of irony every bit as thick and pungent as, say, White Diamonds perfume?

Fuck it, that's a question for another day.

And now, William Shatner semi-parlandos his way through Harry Chapin's Taxi on the old Dinah Shore show. I'm sure he'll mourn ya til he joins ya, Kitten:


NEXT: After the Grants -- It Didn't Happen Anymore

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  1. I cannot believe you failed to use the David Gest wedding picture. Shame, Nick.

    1. OMG – Liz is the most human-like creature in the picture. [even with that ugly hat]

    2. Thank you for that…it needed to be shown.

  2. William Shatner is 80?? Jeez.

    1. Weird, I thought he was at least 10 to 15 years younger. He doesn’t look decrepit in the least (just fat)

  3. Captain’s Log, Stardate 109.2.18:

    The celebration of my birthday has been rendered somber by the death of our crew member, Ensign Taylor. I hope that the surprise party that Dr. McCoy thinks he is throwing me will life their spirits.

    1. what the hell kind of stardate is that?

      1. The standard sort of stardate: made-up and completely inconsistent.

        1. It irks me when they try to doubletalk it into making sense. Like trying to explain why the Klingons looked more human-like to begin with. Who gives a fuck? They had a smaller budget–that’s why!

  4. I think a big chunk of her continuing pop fame came from her on-again, off-again with Richard Burton. At least she actually did some decent movies once or twice, too.

    What strikes me as odd is that Shatner is actually older than her (well, was). He was considered a pretty good stage actor at one time, so he may be a case of an actor following his career rather than the other way around. Love his campiness though–he’s one of the best at that.

    And for shame for not liking Star Trek. I thought you had to in order to be a libertarian. Which, come to think of it, is an odd business, given the non-libertarian nature of any version of the series.

    1. It was like Vietnam in space.

    2. The pop fame comes usually from an early fixation by the media on a star, for many reasons. That star has to not fade completely, and has to keep up just enough hijinks to provide the tabloids with their fix. Why was there the fixation on Brando? Because he was a big star who then went wacky and did just enough stuff (1973 Oscars, anyone?) to stay interesting.

      There’s a formula of early fame plus slow trainwreck that attracts the pop media. Taylor had the formula.

      1. Because he was a big star who then went wacky and did just enough stuff (1973 Oscars, anyone?) to stay interesting.

        Name one thing Brando has done to stay interesting in the last 25 years.

        1. Well, that’s a little unfair, seeing as he died nearly seven years ago.

          1. Was it seven! Fuck, ok, so he died. Name TWO interesting things Brando has done in the last 25 years.

            1. Well, he was the voice of Vito Corelone in The Godfather video game. I thought he did a decent turn at self-parody in The Freshman. And he was good in a supporting role in Dry White Season.

              Apocalypse Now was only 32 years ago.

              1. Dry White Season…sounds like a euphemism for my ex-wife’s ovulation.

                1. It was a movie about South Africa back during the Apartheid era. Starred Donald Sutherland.

        2. —“Name one thing Brando has done to stay interesting in the last 25 years.”—

          See Don Juan Demarco

      2. Brando was pretty huge in the first place and was a very good actor. I’m not sure whether she hit the same heights he did, though she did get some recognition.

        Also, Brando turned in some decent work even in the crazy latter days.

        Where does Orson Welles fall into this?

        1. Was Wells ever a pop media darling? I don’t think so.

          1. Orson Wells was the Matt Damon of his time.

            1. Orson Wells

              1. Orson Welles.

                  1. Denny Crane!

            2. So that would make Lana Turner the Ben Affleck of her time?

          2. Paul Masson–we will sell no wine before its time.

      3. The impression I get about Brando is that the adulation for his acting is in no small part because he was one of the people who was breaking the mold of the previous generation. (To me, the “Baby Boom” generation culturally doesn’t really begin with the people born in 1946; it’s about the people just old enough to remember WWII but too young to fight in it, rebelling against the generation who fought in the war and prosecuted it; the generation culturally goes up to the people just old enough to be politically aware during Watergate.)

        Somebody, I think it was one of the bloggers here, made a great comment regarding Brando, by way of pointing out a line of his from The Wild One:

        Woman: What are you rebelling against?
        Brando: What have you got?

        It’s rebellion for the sake of rebellion, and the Baby Boomer types thinking this is the shit.

        I, having been born in 1972, tend to consider Brando one of the most irritating and overrated actors out there.

        1. I like him as an actor, but On The Waterfront and Streetcar are not good movies to watch if you have an apartment with thin walls and are watching them late at night. It’s begging for an unwanted knock on the door. NOISE quiet NOISE quiet crazy soundtrack volume swing ARGUING/POSSIBLE DOMESTIC ABUSE?

    3. And for shame for not liking Star Trek. I thought you had to in order to be a libertarian. Which, come to think of it, is an odd business, given the non-libertarian nature of any version of the series.

      I think i watch Star Trek for what I wish it was, not what it actually is. If it hadn’t taken Lucas 20+ years to put out a TV series of his franchise it probably would’ve been my goto SciFi programming in my youth. Instead, Star Trek is all there was (worth watching at all).

      1. What I liked about Star Trek was the traditional thing to like about Star Trek–all that optimism about the future. There’s a need for that in science fiction, which generally favors more distopian visions. Which, of course, usually make more compelling fiction.

      2. The recon of Klingons from Star Trek I and after disgust me in so many ways. They went from ignorant, violent hillbillies with too much power and technology for anyone’s greater good to a vessel for the perpetuation of the myth of the noble warrior. Burn in Klingon Hell, Worf.

        1. The original cast movies never did much to “reform” the Klingons. They always remained villainous and not all that bright. It was the Next Generation series that romanticized them.

  5. I’m (obviously) not a fan of the original Star Trek series

    I would challenge you to a duel; however, it is obvious that you, sir, are no gentleman.

    You are only fit for opprobrium and a horsewhipping.

    1. Set phasers to shun!

      1. So quality.

  6. I’m with Nick. Star Trek sucks.

    1. I wouldn’t put it in the “suck” category…well, yeah I would.

    2. What’s Star Trek?

    3. Error! Error! Ster-i-lize!

    4. Re: Jim,

      I’m with Nick. Star Trek sucks.

      It was more campy fun than the sterilized and politically-correct The Next Generation.

      1. Everyone on TNG had a stick up his or her ass.

        DS9 was the franchises high point.

        1. Negative – the orig was best. Everything else was downhill.

        2. Deep Sleep Nine? No way. And the TNG Borg episodes are as good or better than anything in the original series.

        3. Yeah-Deep Space Nine was the only one where they acted like actual humans. At the very least they had a medium of exchange and went in for some nasty holodeck action.

  7. My question: What are characters who start out as camp going to become? Or will the Meta collapse on itself leaving us with the Camp Singularity?

    1. If you start as camp, you have no future. Only serious-to-camp has meaning.

      1. When was Shatner ever truly serious? In Incubus? It’s in fucking Esperanto*! The Intruder?

        *nice looking movie, though

        1. Wasn’t he serious in the Brothers Karamozov?

          And don’t be fooled. There’s scientific evidence that the old campy shit Shatner did was very serious in his own mind at the time. He just coopted his own camp at exactly the right time and runs with it.

          It makes him no less a genius, though.

        2. And was I the only one who liked his talk show? I thought it was the way talk shows should be done.

          But I’m kind of a sucker for that old Dick Cavett/Jack Paar shit.

          1. You mean the talk show he just recently did? That was actually pretty good–I saw a couple.

            1. I’m out of the pop culture game. He had a talk show a few years ago where he’d sit with a guest and talk to them for like an hour.

              1. So am I, but I caught some references to that show on the web. He actually got some critical acclaim for being able to get reticent people to spill their guts. Must be a Canadian thing.

                1. He actually got some critical acclaim for being able to get reticent people to spill their guts. Must be a Canadian thing.

                  You know, when you have guests on who are not there for the explicit purpose of hawking a product, new movie or book, don’t involve them in “skits”, and actually talk to them for more than 7 1/2 minutes, you get some real interesting interviews.

                  On a lark I just googled some Jack Paar interviews, and I was immediately rapt, and I had no idea who the actress was he was talking to.

                  I think that people are more apt to open up and speak sincerely if the interviewer is really interested in his subject.

                  1. Most talk shows are comedy and advertisements (by the guests, that is) and not much else.

                    1. I think you just elucidated why I hate talk shows so much.

          2. No, you were not the only one. The guy is a great interviewer. Actually, the guy is kinda cool.

        3. Earlier. And he was definitely serious in TOS. Its camp is only from today’s perspective, for the most part.

          1. This.

            That which was serious 50 years ago often comes off campy today.

            1. Though I should note that Batman was camp, even then.

        4. He was trying to be serious in The Explosive Generation, one of those teen movies of the early 60s where the suits in Hollywood producing the stuff have no clue what real teenagers wanted.

          In the movie, Shatner plays a teacher who lets his students write and ask questions about the things that are really on their minds — and all hell breaks loose when they unsurprisingly ask about sex.

          One of the students is Patty McCormack, who played the girl in The Bad Seed.

  8. I like to go to McDonalds with Elizabeth Taylor because you get to watch them change the sign.

    1. I took Elizabeth Taylor to Sea World, she looked at Shamu and asked “Does that come with a salad”?

      1. I guess you had to be there…..

  9. When I was a kid in the 70s, she was sort of a parody of a fat, “glamorous” movie star. I never got what the big deal was.

    Than I watched her movies. She was actually a very good actress and smoking hot in her younger days. She was good in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and was great in Virgina Woolf.

    1. I guess my point is that if all you know about her is what you’ve seen in the last 30 years- 18 marriages, constant health problems, made up with a trowel, you’re missing what she actually was.

  10. Say, I wonder if the Shat ever did Liz? They were about the same age.

  11. I’m (obviously) not a fan of the original Star Trek series…

    Who’s Getting Your Vote?” could be replaced in notoriety with a “Star Wars vs. Star Trek” questionnaire post from Reason contributors.

    1. I hate shit like that. I like both–sue me.

      1. Ha! Even the prequels? My attorney will be in touch.

        How about a straight “Who’s a Fan of Star Trek” post, then?

        1. Obviously, no one sane/over the age of 13 likes the prequels.

          I’m a Star Trek fan, obviously, though I do view it as good only within limits. I don’t view it so much as good science fiction as good entertainment.

      2. Old, original theatrical release Star Wars, Episodes Star Wars, or Re-done Old Star Wars.

        There’s a huge difference between the three.

        1. Episodes Star Wars should read “New Episodes Star Wars”.

        2. Original like the opening crawl didn’t say “Episode IV” original?

          1. Oh, whoa. Ok, you might be going deeper than I’m prepared to go. I grew up on star wars and we had long debates about how some people in the original theatrical 1979 release had different scenes in different parts of the country…

            I’m generalizing. Original Star Wars means prior to George Lucas’ CGI changes in the 90s– you know, where he made Han Solo shoot second.

            1. I saw Star Wars in the theater–first run–at the perfect age (10) to remember all sorts of obscure crap about it.

            2. I believe Star Wars was released in 1977.

          2. The crawling intro text of the original Star Wars movie always said Episode IV: A New Hope. The marketing of the movie simply called it Star Wars, but true nerds knew it as A New Hope.

            1. No, that is wrong. First of all, I know because I saw it without “Episode IV.” Second, it’s all over the Internet that this was the case. Here’s Wikipedia on the topic (scroll down).

              It’s pretty clear that Lucas lied about all of the story being in his head before the first film came out. Star Wars was not considered a given as a hit, and no sequels were in the works until it was a hit.

              Dude should’ve made SEQUELS to the original three films while the principals were young enough to do it. Hell, maybe he should do it now, before they start dying off.

              1. Even that wiki entry is full of crap, as I don’t buy that Lucas wanted to say “Episode IV” in the first place. No doubt he was influenced by the old serials, but it just sounds like a load of nonsense. I think Kurtz has said otherwise, too.

              2. I stand corrected. Interesting nerd history there. I never saw the original in the theater, but saw it a million times on TV and VHS in the 80’s and 90’s and it always had the subtitle. I thought your post was implying that the subtitle was added when they released the CGI enhanced versions and I knew it was there well before that.

                Sequels after Jedi would’ve been cool. The Prequels were a good idea, just poorly executed.

              3. It’s pretty clear that Lucas lied about all of the story being in his head before the first film came out. Star Wars was not considered a given as a hit, and no sequels were in the works until it was a hit.

                If Lucas had no plans to make sequels, then why, pray tell, did he specifically negotiate a lower paycheck for himself on the original film in exchange for ownership of the sequel rights? (An extremely unusual arrangement for a writer/director at that time.) That would be an incredibly foolish thing to do if you weren’t strongly thinking about making sequels.

  12. I enjoyed Anthony Jeselnik’s tweet today:

    “Well, it looks like Elizabeth Taylor finally lost her battle against AIDS.”


    1. Neil Hamburger worthy if you ask me.

  13. I’m thinkin’ maybe it’s just possible that John Wayne Gacy did Liz’ makeup.

  14. I think she was a persistent star because she straddled the line between the glamor of the old Hollywood system and the gutter white trash values of the modern celebrity system.

    What walks on Shirley Temple’s legs in the morning, Grace Kelly’s legs at noon, and Kim Kardashian’s legs at night? Liz Taylor.

    It’s funny that it’s harder and harder to find anything of value in Taylor’s work, but still basically impossible to throw a dart at a board covered with Burton’s work and not hit gold of one type or another.

    1. but still basically impossible to throw a dart at a board covered with Burton’s work and not hit gold of one type or another.

      Drunk people always make better actors.

      1. I heard a story once that Burton and Olivier did the Scottish Play (drunk as the lords they were playing) and MacBeth accidentally cold-cocked his would-be killer, dragged him off-stage, and came back bearing his own stage-prop head and gave the other guy’s closing speech. Now THAT’S acting. Can’t remember, but I think it was Burton who clocked Sir Larry.

        1. Lots of great stories about those two. I remember one where O’Toole was drunk on stage, and some woman in the front row yelled out, “You’re drunk!”, to which O’Toole replied: You think I’m drunk, wait ’til you see Burton!”

          I’ve heard the story told with O’Toole and Burton reversed. Either way, that shit never gets old.

          1. Yeah. Might have been. I know Burton was in on it. Couldn’t remember who the other giant of Shakespeare was.

    2. And don’t forget that the media goes apeshit for the big celebrity couples for some reason, no matter how boring.

      1. Can’t figure that out at all. Do they think two famous people together equal some sort of logarithmic leap in fame?

          1. Weird. Honestly, is there nothing the media can’t make worse than it already is?

      2. The odd thing about Angelina Jolie is I yawn and get a boner at the same time. Like viagra and a ‘ludes at the same time*

        * hey, gramps original little special pill is making a come back.

    3. Burton was great, even in crappy roles. Just saw him again in Becket, in fact. Though I’ll engage in some heresy and suggest that Peter O’Toole made that movie.

      1. Burton was the straight man in Becket. So yea, Pete had it kind of easy.

        1. I just read a book on English history from around that period, and it looks like Becket wasn’t much like Richard Burton, but Henry II was even less like Peter O’Toole’s portrayal. To begin with, Henry II was quite educated.

          I’m a big fan of Peter O’Toole–he’s done some great stuff. So did Burton.

          1. Seems like Burton died before he had the chance to do any crap. O’Toole has done some real C-list movies. I’m always surprised when I see him in one.

            1. It’s sad, but he’s had some decent roles in his later years to make up for that.

              In yet another “just”, I just watch some of Lawrence of Arabia. Great, great stuff.

              1. This makes me want to get out The Ruling Class.

                1. I saw My Favorite Year again just a few weeks ago. He was brilliant in that, too.

            2. Crap Burton did before he died: Exorcist II: The Heretic.

            3. He was excellent in King Ralph

        2. He wasn’t the straight man in Staircase.

  15. The Stunt Man, hands down.

    1. Good movie!

  16. I’ll always have a soft spot for Butterfield 8, but that’s probably because I read the novel first, and think John O’Hara was a brilliant writer eclipsed by the brightest lights America has ever known.

  17. The Sandpiper with Taylor and Burton(?) wasn’t too bad. Been more than forty years since I saw it though. She was a very beautiful woman once upon a time.

  18. When they needed someone to out-ham John Lithgow, they didn’t call Taylor to play The Big Giant Head. Long live Shat.

  19. Attacking a just-deceased former actress…why? What’s the point? Because you can? Stay classy, Nick.

  20. Elizabeth Taylor was a stunningly beautiful woman before she went to flab. I first saw her in Cleopatra and was wowed by her appearance. (I never saw National Velvet until much later.)

    By the time she and Burton made Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf her looks had slipped. (Cruelest comment on that film: “A home movie of Taylor and Burton’s family life.”)

  21. I’m a bit surprised by the criticism of Taylor as an actress. Yes, she turned into a self-parody in her later years, but she wasn’t the first, and likely won’t be the last. However, when I see something like A Place in the Sun called terrible, it makes me wonder what would be considered good. I’m not saying everything Taylor did was good, but I do wonder just what criteria is being used.

    1. what criteria is being used

      The criteria of snark and cruelty. (“Libertarian” aesthetics.)

  22. Ever thought of sticking to politics?

  23. Nick seems awfully grouchy. The Taylor movies I like best are “Lassie Come Home,” “National Velvet” (she glows on the screen and is about 12), and “Virginia Woolf.” The first two are great kid’s movies if you don’t mind your kid begging you for a collie or a pony.

    As for Burton, he was apparently really bad in “Exorcist II” and “The Assassination of Trotsky,” (I haven’t had the courage to verify) but gave one of the great screen performances opposite Taylor in “Virginia Woolf.”

  24. Nick seems awfully grouchy. The Taylor movies I like best are “Lassie Come Home,” “National Velvet” (she glows on the screen and is about 12), and “Virginia Woolf.” The first two are great kid’s movies if you don’t mind your kid begging you for a collie or a pony.

    As for Burton, he was apparently really bad in “Exorcist II” and “The Assassination of Trotsky,” (I haven’t had the courage to verify) but gave one of the great screen performances opposite Taylor in “Virginia Woolf.”

  25. Nick is an ignorant snarky philistine. Giant “a Texas sized cowpie”? Who the fuck is this the Jackett or gene Shalit? Nick is becoming another Vennemen. No wonder they all like Vennemen so much. He is fucking Gillisbie.

    You belong at the Huffington Post Nick.

    1. Nick is aiming low and hitting the mark.

      1. It is obvious the stache doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground about movies. But rather than admit that, he just throws out snark hoping to look cool and detached. Instead, he just comes accross as an ignorant jackass.

      2. And the picture is really unfair snark to. The woman was in her late 70s for God’s sake. Let’s see what the Stache looks like when he is 75 and laugh at that.

    2. Actually, “Giant” was the film that changed my opinion about Taylor and made me appreciate her as an actress. If anyone gave a hamtastic performance, it was James Dean. I couldn’t wait til he was off the screen.

  26. What I want to know is who gets her rocks?

  27. Pretty nasty article unredeemed by anything approaching humor. I guess the “Mrs. Fortensky” was meant to be funny.

  28. If you don’t get her influence, just read Camille Paglia’s commentary on her — totally spot on:


  29. That’s how I felt when Michael Jackson died – I’ve always been perplexed by his superstardom – but I didn’t say anything at the time because I knew so many people who were almost in tears over it. I’ve never had particularly strong feelings about Taylor, but she did give a few really good performances. That is why the Shatner comparison is bogus. Shatner has never been particularly good at anything. He has managed to fail to write good books, sing good songs, act particularly well or anything else. Taylor had her moments, and if someone can manage to be great once or twice, it shows they have some genuine talent. The fact that Shatner plays on his own ludicrous persona proves he’s smart, but not that he’s more than a very minor talent.

    And no, I don’t understand why she was considered a major sex symbol, but she was pretty when she was young, and there are major sex symbols I find much less attractive than the 50s-era Liz. But sex symbols aren’t always the most attractive girls. In polls among Gilligan Island fans, Mary Ann always outpolls Ginger as the girl the guys want, but Ginger still had the sex symbol styling, which is what Taylor had.

  30. As tacky, B-list, outmoded, unsexy, whatever other criticism you chose to invoke against Taylor (and many of those points are arguably well-taken), you Nick can rest assured that you are still not fit to scrub out her toilet and lick her ashtrays. So I suppose that failed entitlement accounts for the high level of unnecessary and humorless bitchery. Or perhaps you’re just having an incredibly nasty period?

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