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« Reader of the Day: Dominique | Main | Elizabeth Taylor, "Functioning Voluptuary" (RIP) »

79 Ways To Celebrate The Life of Elizabeth Taylor

In lieu of a traditional obituary, and because I'm still working on two other Taylor posts that were started before this sad news, I thought a major revision of a two year-old birthday post was in order. If you're in need of comfort today, wrap yourself up in this legend's grandiosity on this disheartening day. Take Taylor's life as inspiration. Survive Everything... but for death, of course, which will come for us all. But leave a legacy behind you and you've got that beat, too.

79 Ways to Celebrate Liz Taylor's Legacy in 2011
How many can you do this year?

  1. Be great.
  2. Be beautiful.
  3. Be ambitious. Quoth Liz "It's not the having, it's the getting."
  4. Be a legend in your own mind, and in others.
  5. Get married. Or divorced. Or remarried. Or all three. Or several times.
  6. Let your passions rule you.
  7. Act like a diva. (But back it up with substance... nobody likes a vacuous primadonna.)
  8. Wear something spectacularly sexy, preferrably white.
  9. Make people want more.
  10. Forge unbreakable friendships.
  11. Stick with those people through tragedies, scandals, and anything else that besets them.
  12. Watch Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

  13. Invite people over for copious drinking party.
  14. Play "get the guests" or "hump the hostess", your choice.
  15. (If you don't have a child, invent one.)
  16. Watch National Velvet
  17. Go horseback riding.
  18. Watch A Place in the Sun.
  19. "Tell mama everything"
  20. Fall in love with Montgomery Clift in glorious black and white (any of his movies will do).

  21. Ask your best friend to refer to you as "Bessie Mae" for the rest of the year.
  22. Demand a Taylor retrospective at your local arthouse cinema. Suggest that they donate a portion of the proceeds to Liz's charity.
  23. Be highly quotable.
  24. Flaunt every piece of jewelry you own. (Maybe wear them all at once?)
  25. Donate to an AIDS charity. Per Liz's request in lieu of flowers.
  26. Nurse a sick friend or loved one.
  27. Enjoy your own wicked sense of humor. Laugh loudly at good jokes.
  28. Scream "I was the slut of all time!" with style and at the top of your lungs. Shamelessness suits you.
  29. Watch Butterfield 8.
  30. Fight for that performance's reputation (It's better than Oscar mythology claims. But more on that in April for the 50th anniversary of her win.)
  31. Write something pity or bitchy on a mirror in lipstick. "NO SALE"
  32. Survive the loss of someone you loved no matter how hard that is to do. If you're still grieving find a way to make that sadness productive.
  33. Pretend you've won an Oscar.

  34. And another. (Or work at actually deserving one if you're in showbiz). Better yet...
  35. ...deserve the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
  36. Drink people under the table.
  37. Polish La Liz's star at 6336 Hollywood Blvd.
  38. Watch Cleopatra...(okay, half of it. It's so long!).
  39. Make memorable entrances (if you're rolled in a carpet, have a safe word handy.)
  40. Read "Elizabeth".
  41. Watch the original Father of the Bride.
  42. Buy a pair of violet contact lenses or just play up your natural eye color's beauty.
  43. Paint a beauty mark on your right upper jaw.
  44. Don't take yourself too seriously.
  45. Role play "Liz and Dickie" with your boyfriend / girlfriend. H-O-T.
  46. Name perfumes after your favorite things.
  47. Monetize your favorite things.
  48. Love dogs (and other animals).

  49. Be a "Functioning Voluptuary"... enjoy the finer things in life.
  50. Gain lots of weight or lose some -- it doesn't matter; you're still fabulous.
  51. Stop worrying about getting older (Liz didn't); you're still fabulous.
  52. Watch Giant.
  53. Watch Suddenly Last Summer.
  54. Speak the truth with a ferocity of spirit. Even if it makes uptight people want to cut your brain up to stop your "hatchet tongue"
  55. Get familiar with the entire Tennesse Williams oeuvre. It suits the remarkable dramatic women (and sure suited La Liz who went there four times).
  56. Watch Boom.
  57. Watch Reflections in a Golden Eye.
  58. Steal something from someone who reminds you of Debbie Reynolds.

  59. But bury the hatchet with your enemies.
  60. Give them something to talk about when you leave the room.
  61. Photoshop yourself onto the cover of 14 People magazines.
  62. Watch The Flintstones.
  63. Watch Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
  64. Make sure you're enticing in your underwear.
  65. Descend into "erotic vagrancy"!

  66. Watch The Taming of the Shrew.
  67. Imagine how Sherilyn Fenn might play you in a TV movie.
  68. Study Kabbalah.
  69. Excite the tabloids.
  70. Inspire other artists.

  71. Add a "Dame" before your name on Facebook.
  72. Make your speaking voice so memorable that The Simpsons want you.
  73. Work towards making lots of "all time greatest" lists in whatever it is that you do and actually deserve the honor.
  74. Make the world a better place.
  75. Survive whatever illnesses beset you (tracheotomy, pneumonia, cancer, hip replacements, you name it.)
  76. Next time you throw your back out, spend that time catching up on old movie classics.
  77. Call yourself "Mother Courage" and mean it.
  78. Survive everything...
  79. Even death; leave great work behind you and live on.


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Reader Comments (15)

Perfect post!
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is one of my favorites films ever.

Well they could do an exhibition with the collection of Liz Taylor's jewelry. And after an auction with the same...

Goodbye, Queen Elizabeth Taylor... God bless the Queen!

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergabriel saito

I am truly in mourning.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThombeau

I did #22 in the laziest way possible, and two people retweeted me. And my city's the perfect place for it too. There's a gallery on the ground floor of our art house cinema, were all Liz-related stuff can be exhibited. Even though that's gonna be hard to organize.

And...back to the real world.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaolo

Own the worlds biggest diamond.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Thombeau -- me too. I've been virtually immobile / catatonic all day. I don't even remember my boyfriend leaving for work. saddest i've been at a non-shocking celebrity death i think. the other ones that have really thrown me were all complete shcocks (River Phoenix, Natalie Wood, Heath Ledger)

Paolo -- good for you. I have to figure out who to call in NYC. I am so bad at networking. You'd think i would knwo the right people at the city's revival houses.

March 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'm doing no. 71 right now.
Such a lovely woman.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNikhat

And facebook rejected it. Damn Zuckerberg, was I not faithful??

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNikhat

Lovely tribute. I've only seen "WAOVW?" from Taylor's catalogue, so I clearly have some work to do in the coming weeks/months.


March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

Coming out of that carpet in Cleopatra is probably the first time I saw her. She had me at that!

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

This is one of the most wonderful, fun, poignant, entertaining pieces I've seen on Taylor all day. I'm glad you didn't go somber like most people seem to have (which is understandable). I wrote my own, more conventional piece on Taylor (http://jcolon7289.blogspot.com/2011/03/elizabeth-taylor-1932-2011.html). She really was the consummate movie star, embodying everything that we'd love to get from our celebrities (and she did it while flaunting her own imperfections). Great woman. Great life.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames C.

I don't usually say anything when a celebrity dies because I feel awkward. I feel I should say something about everyone or nothing at all. Like the people in the Kodak Theatre when the In Memoriam section happens.

But today unexpectedly, the news of Elizabeth Taylor passing had me weeping uncontrollably. Why? She wasn't my favourite actress and it wasn't a shocking death after all. And then, as someone in the news mentioned that cliché "she was one of a kind, she has left us orphans..." suddenly, I realised those formulaic wordsgot their full meaning today. Our parents are our reference for almost everything, for better or worse, and then after them, it's the cultural icons (among others) actors, musicians, singers who grow up with us, the ones that become our reference in a different kind of way. There was Elizabeth Taylor when I got drunk for the first time, there was Elizabeth Taylor when I fell in love for the first time. There was Elizabeth Taylor the first time I went to see a dentist. There was Elizabeth Taylor the first time I travelled by myself. There was Elizabeth Taylor when I saw **** for the first time, there was still Elizabeth Taylor when we kissed.

Next time I get drunk, she won't be around. And that feeling is so unbearable. :'(

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

I was completely smitten with Elizabeth Taylor back in the mid-70s (at 7 or 8). She was making the early rounds on endless loop of The Movie Channel and broadcast TV's Move of the Week: National Velvet, Cleopatra, the Taming of the Shrew and Whose Afraid of Virginia Wolf.

Consider the paradox: How could all these different women-- strong and spellbinding women-- possibly be the same woman simultaneously? Consumed with covetousness I hated Richard Burton for decades for deserving her love enough to have been doubled-dipped in it.

I mean, really, how many people on earth could make Madonna perform like a virgin on a globally televised stage?

There'll never be another. Ever.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVern

iggy -- thanks for sharing. you're spot on i think about why the cultural icons end up so attached to her oen emotional history.

Vern -- so true.I seriously want to watch all her movies again right now but because this is tennessee williams week i feel i need to put the brakes on older movies for a hot minute.

James C -- i saved most of the somber for me in my apartment today and it has NOT been pretty.

March 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I have to say: the "died" hurts, but the 1932-2011 hurts more!
Her passing is not her end.
Why does our death year must be marked? Why does it have to mean something?

Sorry for being morbidly poetic but it just bothers me.
Everytime I visit a wikipedia page of someone that had recently died I feel like I'm supposed to think: Well, now he/she is no longer significant. The whole thing is through. Let's move on.

I guess I could regard it as just confirmation that living has taken place. I think I like it that way.

March 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

Very nice, i love this web, how can i get one gift just like this ?

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertiffany
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