Douglas Thmopson - Author and International Journalist

Elizabeth Taylor Interview -


Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky is the star of the Liz Show. It has been running longer than Coronation Street and the Buckingham Palace Frolics. The walk-on players, like the husbands, flit in and out.The latest instalment has Liz in a tizz over a television series based on her life. She doesn't like the idea.

It's not because they are calling it a 'mini'' series -- at certain times that was an absurd misnomer -- but because she objects to what she regards as an 'intrusion' into her life.

There is an argument here but I'm not so sure Ms Taylor is the best advocate for the debate. She's appeared on film with Lassie and Brando and a host of other four and two legged creatures, she turns up at shopping malls to promote her association with 'White Diamonds' and 'Passion' perfumes which sell from the hype of success and elegance as much as for the name.

Kitty Kelley's infamous but wonderfully researched book on Taylor 's life was titled 'The Last Star' and that was reasonably accurate. She was stealing scenes from Lassie when she was 12. That sort of celluloid felony got somewhat more difficult as she grew older and started working with people but nevertheless she has always been a star. And one celebrated as much for her bourbon capacity and marital record as her emoting.

 

Her life is a tabloid headline -- again and again and again. It wasn't the husbands, even Burton , who made the ink run so frenetically but this short, often dumpy, woman with a three-hour glass figure. She and Burton co-starred in 'The Taming of the Shrew' and Taylor had been miscast many times but that, as they say in her adopted Mexican village of Puerto Vallerta , was the big tamale. Shrew? Tamed? Not at the last encounter. She is sixtysomething on firecrackers.

Her drink of choice is now ginger ale. She is married to former construction worker and double-divorcee Larry Fortensky whom she met in 1988 when they were both recovering from addictions at the Betty Ford Centre near Palm Springs in the California desert. Hey, that's a TV movie of the week in itself. Has anyone told Cilla?

He is 20 years younger. They were married On October 6,1991 , and it was like Cleopatra marrying Stanley Kowalski on the set of Peter Pan.The wedding at Michael Jackson's Santa Ynez Valley estate near Santa Barbara -- the Neverland Valley -- had the bride, now 63, in Valentino, the groom in Versace and Bubbles the chimp, the ring bearer, looking for something backless.

But it takes time to get the souffle right. And what sort of encore do you expect for a woman who can make earrings from the diamonds in her old engagements rings? This is a TV movie.

An anxious America will see 'Destiny' in six weeks. The 'mini' series will be part of the NBC network's ratings 'sweeps' when all the big players compete for top advertising dollars. NBC believe Liz will deliver.

And she has shot herself in her size four shoe. She attempted to have the television film banned and lost. So now, you guessed, it's 'The TV Film Liz Doesn't Want You To See'. She had the same problem with C. David Heymann who wrote a best-selling biography of Jackie Onassis and was the author of 'Liz' on which

'Destiny' is based. His is ' The Book Liz Wanted Banned.' Pass another sales slip.

What is curious is that after all the years, all the headlines and horrors, the stories of near death and tragedy, of friends like Rock Hudson dying of AIDS ( a cause for which she is an admirable fund raiser), of friends from James Dean to Michael Jackson, and the husbands -- Nicky Hilton, Michael Wilding, Mike Todd, Eddie Fisher, Richard Burton(twice, in 1964 and 1975), American Senator John Warner and the present husband Larry Fortensky -- that 'intrusion' would be a concern. If you've lived the life do you have to watch it? Or read it?

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