Elizabeth Taylor – The passing of an icon
Yesterday, aged 79, Dame Elizabeth Taylor passed away. I don’t watch or listen to news on the tv or radio much these days, but I knew it as facebook went absolutely mad with the story.
Elizabeth Taylor was a strikingly beautiful woman, and a determined woman. She was an icon and an inspiration. I started thinking about the effect that the death of our icons have on us as individuals and as a society and decided to write about her, so I started to do a little research. As I sat down this morning to write this blog I didn’t know what I would write about exactly so I just started reading. I googled her, I read the New York Times obituary, I checked out twitter and started to read the endless messages about her. And one thing really struck me – as an icon it was actually really tough to find out about her. I don’t mean the things she has done. I mean Elizabeth Taylor the person. I mean the little things that made her her.
Over and over again I came across descriptions like these:
- Movie star/screen queen
- one of the great screen actresses of Hollywood’s Golden Age
- champion of the cause of AIDS awareness
- winner of two academy awards
- Renowned beauty
- Eight marriages to seven men
- Friend to Michael Jackson
- Relentless activist
- Lover of all things shiny. By ‘shiny’ I mean bling. Very, very big bling
- Possibly the most photographed woman in history
All of these are true and tell me what she did but they don’t so much tell me who she was. They don’t give me a single clue as to what she would have been like if I had ever had the opportunity to sit down and have a coffee with her. I’m sure when her family and closest friends talk about her now they won’t talk about Elizabeth the icon, or the academy award winner.
Years ago in an interview she said “The public me, the one named Elizabeth Taylor, has become a lot of hokum and fabrication — a bunch of drivel — and I find her slightly revolting.” Now this is taken out of context and probably not as relevant today but it got me wanting to find out something more about her….and I stumbled across this:
These things might sound silly but that she liked to cut her own hair, loved watching ‘Law & Order’, hated being called Liz, and had a dog that is in love with her cat brought a smile to my face and made her a bit more real. A bit more human. A bit more like me. Except for the ‘Law & Order’ bit.
For most of us it isn’t often that we really consider what we will be remembered for when we go. So if you do (or if I am making you do it right now?) just remember that it isn’t all about what you’ve done. The people who love you most will remember you for who you are.
Must you have changed the world to be remembered? What does it take to have been someone who changed the world? I struggle with this concept as I think everyone changes the world. I’m not saying that to be all lovey-dovey wishy-washy done-far-too-much-personal-developmenty-spirituality-stuff (though I may well have). I mean how many people do you have to help before you officially qualify for the title of world-changer? A million? A hundred thousand? I think the answer is one. If you’ve made a difference in one person’s life then you’ve made a difference on this planet. And if you’ve spent a single day on this planet you have definitely made a difference to at least one person’s life. You’ve already changed the world.
Elizabeth Taylor was an amazing lady with an amazing spirit that I don’t believe has yet been stopped. Wouldn’t that just be such a waste?!
Farewell Elizabeth Taylor – icon, beauty, award-winning actress, woman, mother, (many time) wife, lover of ‘Law & Order’, and ex-lemonade-stand-entrepreneur.