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Was Elizabeth Taylor a feminist?

January 25, 2012 | 11:53 am

Elizabethtaylor_cleopatraActress and beauty Elizabeth Taylor will be the topic of an upcoming discussion Feb. 2 at Writers Block. Specifically, two contemporary writers will be examining Taylor as a feminist.

Sure, Taylor was married seven times, socked away a royalty-sized stash of expensive jewelry, and hawked her own perfume named "White Diamonds." The star was blazing a path -- at least that's what MG Lord argues in her new book, "The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness And We Were Too Distracted By Her Beauty To Notice."

Taylor's acting career spanned 60 years. As a child actress, she made a splash in "National Velvet" (1944), appeared in "Little Women" (1949), and was grown up enough to get married in "The Father of the Bride" (1950). Her celebrity grew and grew, with high-profile marriages, tragedies and affairs. She also was taken seriously as an actress: She won a best actress Oscar for "Butterfield 8" (a film that hasn't aged well) and for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (which has). She was an early and vocal AIDS activist when many in Hollywood were still squeamish about the disease. Late in life, her own health was not good; Taylor died March 23, 2011, at the age of 79.

Lord will be in conversation with Susan Orlean. It's an opportunity for locals to see the New Yorker staff writer in action. Orlean set down temporary stakes in Los Angeles last year, but has spent many of her recent months on the road. She's been busy promoting her movie-star dog biography "Rin Tin Tin: The Life and Legend," an L.A. Times bestseller.

The discussion is part of the ongoing Writers Bloc literary series, which takes place in multiple locations around the city. This one will be held at the ICM Theater in the former MGM building in Century City on Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20.


16 Elizabeth Taylor books, scandals included

That was fast: Two Elizabeth Taylor books updated

Susan Orlean on writing "Rin Tin Tin"

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the 1963 film "Cleopatra." Credit: File