Actress Sharon Stone remembers her friend Elizabeth Taylor as an "illuminator." Taylor died Wednesday at age 79 of congestive heart failure after being hospitalized since February.
"She put human faces on issues. With her soft voice coming from that tiny frame, she held forth the giant purpose of the true meaning of love; that we are all equally valuable," Stone said in a statement Wednesday.
Taylor and the 53-year-old "Basic Instinct" actress worked together for a number of years on the Macy's Passport Gala to benefit HIV/AIDS.
"With one simple movement, pulling her ever-famous jewels from that beautiful face, she opened the hearts of the world not just to the condition of HIV/AIDS as she had intended but ultimately to human rights as a whole. She stood in her grace and candor and simply said the truth; that we are one, a world that must understand and accept itself.
"The world will not be without Dame Elizabeth Taylor, the world is becoming as she envisioned it; freer, and therefore she is not gone," Stone added.
Basketball legend Magic Johnson remembered actress Elizabeth Taylor, who died Wednesday, not for her contributions to film but for her contributions to HIV/AIDS awareness. Johnson learned he was HIV-positive in 1991.
"I loved Elizabeth Taylor. I loved the work we did together in the fight against HIV/AIDS," he said in a statement Wednesday. "I learned from her to be passionate about what I did, because she was so passionate about her causes. It was infectious. She was one of the classiest, gentlest, most professional and elegant women I knew. She will be missed around the world."
Elizabeth Taylor died Wednesday morning in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure. The actress, who had been hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center since mid-February, was 79.
"We know, quite simply, that the world is a better place for Mom having lived in it," her son Michael Wilding said in a statement to The Times. "Her legacy will never fade, her spirit will always be with us, and her love will live forever in our hearts." He and Taylor's other children, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd and Maria Burton, were with their mom when she died, publicist Sally Morrison said.
Taylor, child actress turned adult Academy Award-winner and AIDS/HIV activist, was also known for her beauty and her love life -- married eight times to seven men, with Richard Burton the one with whom she once said the love "was just too much" -- as well as her friendship with the late Michael Jackson. Elaine Woo's full Los Angeles Times obituary recounts the details of Taylor's life more completely than we can in this short post, while movie critic Kenneth Turan, in an appreciation, remembers the violet-eyed actress as being in "a class by herself":
Her astonishingly dramatic personal life, characterized by full-throttle romantic love and later recriminations, serious illnesses and tragic deaths, matched the drama of her on-screen roles stride for stride and maybe even bested it.
Her movies -- to name but a few -- included "Lassie Come Home" and "National Velvet" as a tween; "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" with Paul Newman; "Giant" with Rock Hudson and James Dean; "Cleopatra," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" and more with Richard Burton; and "Butterfield 8" with Eddie Fisher. "Virginia Woolf" and "Butterfield 8" had her winning lead actress Oscars.
Barbara Walters and gossip writer Liz Smith both remembered their friend on "Good Morning America" early Wednesday, with Walters saying she'd recently been in touch with Taylor in the hospital and that it was something of a surprise to hear of her death. (See the video above.)
Elizabeth Taylor has been hospitalized for treatment of congestive heart failure, her spokeswoman confirmed Friday.
"She is currently being kept in the hospital for monitoring," said Sally Morrison.
The 78-year-old actress was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in the past couple of days, Morrison said. Taylor disclosed her heart condition in November 2004.
Taylor's family appreciated the support from fans, Morrison said, but asked for privacy to allow the medical team space to do its work. She didn't know how long the Oscar winner would be in the hospital.
Taylor had been scheduled to attend an amfAR benefit gala Wednesday night in New York, where she was to receive an award alongside former President Bill Clinton and designer Diane von Furstenberg, celebrating their dedication to AIDS research.
Elton John accepted the award in her honor, passing along a message from Taylor that said, in part, "I am there in spirit."
Elizabeth Taylor has expressed her displeasure with Arnold Klein in the wake of the doctor's support for a man who claims he had a gay love affair with pop star Michael Jackson, her longtime friend.
Sending out a four-part message on Twitter in the wee hours Thursday, Taylor said:
Dr. Arnie Klein declared on May 2 that he did not betray Michael Jackson by saying publicly that he had a homosexual relationship
with someone in "Arnie's" office. It seems he supplies not only women (Debbie Rowe), but men too ... how convenient.
Just what we want in our doctors. And then to say he did not betray Michael's confidence. No wonder he has death threats.
I thought doctors, like priests took an oath of confidentiality. May God have mercy on his soul.
Since shortly after the singer's death, Jason Pfeiffer, who once worked in Klein's office, has been alleging he had a love relationship with Jackson. When Pfeiffer appeared recently on U.S. television to tell the story, Klein, Jackson's dermatologist, backed him up.
-- Christie D'Zurilla
Photo: Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson backstage at the American Music Awards in 1993. Credit: Los Angeles Times
Elizabeth Taylor may be ready to tie the knot again, this time with talent manager Jason Winters, Us magazine reports.
The two, who've been romantically linked for several years, are decades apart in age -- she's 78, he's 49 -- but according to an Us source "they've been together forever and are in love." Winters, co-founder of Sterling/Winters Co., is Janet Jackson's new manager, the magazine says.
This would be "I do" No. 9 for the actress, famously married to and divorced from Conrad "Nicky" Hilton Jr., Michael Wilding, Eddie Fisher, Richard Burton, Richard Burton again, Sen. John Warner and Larry Fortensky. Taylor split from Fortensky in 1996. And she was widowed in 1958 when husband Mike Todd died in a plane crash.
-- Christie D'Zurilla
[Updated at 4:50 p.m. April 10: An earlier version of this post was unclear as to whether Taylor -- born Feb. 27, 1932 -- was married to Conrad Nicholson Hilton or Conrad Nicholson Hilton Jr., a.k.a. "Nicky." She married Conrad Nicholson "Nicky" Hilton Jr. in 1950, when she was 18.]
Photo: Conrad "Nicky" Hilton Jr. and Elizabeth Taylor on May 30, 1950, during the actress' first honeymoon, in Paris. Credit: Associated Press.
"I was honored
with the great privilege of seeing 'This Is It' last week," she posted. "I was sworn
to secrecy, but now I can let you know about it."
Most of her thoughts on the film and on Jackson's talent tilt philosophical or spiritual, but here's one that sums it up best from a Hollywood perspective: "I truly believe this film should be nominated in every category conceivable."
For the rest of us who didn't get a private showing, a la Liz, or an invite to the Tuesday red carpet premiere, tickets for "This Is It" went on sale about a month ago for the two-week, worldwide limited engagement (parse that last bit out a little and it eventually makes sense). Check out the trailer here, and ticket availability and screening locations here.
-- Christie D'Zurilla
Photo: Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor in the audience for a Liza Minnelli concert at the Pacific Amphitheatre in 1985. Credit: File photo / Los Angeles Times