The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Bill Eggert

March 24, 2011

Elizabeth the Great

— Her leading men included Paul Newman, Rock Hudson, Montgomery Clift and Richard Burton.

Her co-stars included Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, Tony Curtis, Michael Caine, Marlon Brando and James Dean.

Her noteworthy directors included Vincente Minnelli, Mervyn LeRoy, George Stevens, Mike Nichols, Franco Zeffirelli, John Huston and Stanley Donen.

She was Elizabeth the Great: Better known by the public as Liz Taylor, and her passing continues to dim the constellation of stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Elizabeth Taylor literally grew up before our eyes on the silver screen. Her impressive resume of noteworthy films chronicled her career  as she effortlessly segued from child star (“National Velvet”) to ingénue (“Father of the Bride”) to leading lady (“Giant”) to sex symbol (“Cat On a Hot Tin Roof” and “Cleopatra”) to Oscar award-winning actress (“Butterfield 8” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”).

This raven-haired beauty’s greatest asset was her compelling violet eyes, which spoke volumes to her legion of fans.

Taylor’s eternal beauty easily shifted throughout the ensuing decades, never missing a beat with each latest style. She remained in the public eye throughout her adult life until the very end.

But it was not just her looks that enthralled moviegoing audiences; she had acting talent as well. She handled the words of Shakespeare (“Taming of the Shrew”) to Tennessee Williams (“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Suddenly, Last Summer”) with equal aplomb.

Unfortunately, Taylor’s off-screen life did not go as smoothly as her onscreen career.

She lost husband Mike Todd in a plane crash after being married for only a year.

Health problems (some serious and life-threatening) plagued her throughout her life, as did poor judgment in choosing husbands.

She was married eight times (to seven men; she married, and divorced, Richard Burton twice) since the age of 18. Taylor had two well-publicized scandalous affairs with two married men (singer Eddie Fisher and Burton); both of whom she eventually married.

Despite her being dubbed a home wrecker by the tabloid press, Taylor and her film career continued to flourish.  Her most enduring off-screen legacy, however, may have been her AIDS-related activism efforts.

Losing close friend Rock Hudson to AIDS in 1985 spurred Taylor to become actively involved in the cause of AIDS activism.

As the curtain is lowered on the life and career of Elizabeth Taylor, thoughts drift to the longevity of her career and fascination of her fans (like my mother and my Aunt Alice and their generation) to her tumultuous life.

She was a glamorous, talented and beautiful movie star of the first magnitude.

Her all-too-human life enabled her fans to relate to this luminous, ethereal beauty who continues to grace the silver screen whenever and wherever her films are shown.

Bill Eggert is a Johnstown resident.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Bill Eggert
  • EGGERT AND CHILLY BILLY Bill Cardille brings back childhood chills

    One of the nice things about moving back to this area was being able to connect with childhood heroes from local television. Some, like Paul Shannon (“Adventure Time”) and Hank Stohl (“Popeye and Kinesh”), unfortunately have passed on. Others, like wrestling champ Bruno Sammartino and Bill Cardille (“Chiller Theatre”) are happily still with us.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • EGGERT6 Riverboat reverie on ‘uncle time’

    Thoughts of the summer months bring to mind annual weeklong vacations with Granny, Pop-Pop and Uncle Don in Pittsburgh. One memorable summer, “Unck” took me to see the Delta Queen riverboat, sitting majestically in the Monongahela River, moored at the Mon wharf.

    July 5, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Bill Eggert | ‘Whatever it takes’: remembering Chuck Noll

    Once upon a time there was a colorful yet inept professional football team, owned by an equally colorful Irishman who participated in sports during his younger days. Unlike their crosstown professional baseball and collegiate football team counterparts, the pro football team never tasted the sweet nectar of success for about 40 years. That all changed in 1969, when Steelers owner Art Rooney and his family found a wise, humble and grounded 37-year-old man named Chuck Noll.

    June 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert columnist  photo Life after Dad: A Father’s Day reflection

    One of my dad’s favorite movies was the 1947 classic “Life With Father,” starring the great William Powell (coincidentally also born in Pittsburgh) as the stern but lovable family disciplinarian.

    June 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bill Eggert columnist  photo BILL EGGERT | Hollywood’s take on the Great Flood

    About 37 years after the Great Johnstown Flood of 1889, Hollywood decided to make a motion picture of Johnstown’s most catastrophic event.

    May 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • EGGERT4 75 years of Batmania: The Dark Knight’s evolution

    The appeal of Batman is universal. We can identify more with Batman.
    Local resident Wayne Faucher has been a professional artist/inker on the various Batman titles for over 20 years.

    May 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Travelogue of terror features Johnstown area

    A historic week will surround the venerable Silver Drive-In come the beginning of May.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bill Eggert BILL EGGERT | Captain America: Sentinel of liberty for 70-plus years

    When I was a kid reading comic books, my two favorite superheroes (Batman and Captain America) were not really super; maybe that is why they were my favorites.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • BILL EGGERT AND FRANK COONELLY BILL EGGERT | Pirates: a rite of spring

    Opening day for the Bucs is March 31. Every year, hope springs eternal for Pittsburgh Pirate fans. Especially for the past two decades, since outfielder Barry Bonds’ errant throw allowed gimpy-kneed Sid Bream to score the come-from-behind winning run for the Atlanta Braves in the 1992 National League Championship Series.

    March 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert BILL EGGERT | Going home can sometimes be only walking distance

    One of the most popular topics during my eight years of writing this column is the one of looking into the past of the Johnstown (and my areas of Moxham and Richland) of my childhood. A lot of baby boomers relate to these time trips with a sense of nostalgia, remembering a kinder, simpler, more innocent era. Or at least that is the way we remember our childhood, looking through those rose-colored glasses.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads