The Duality of Human Nature

Cagayan- Bukidnon

Rest in Peace, Beloved.

We’ll forever be enticed by those pair of violet irises.

Real story behind the Hollywood legend

First posted 05:37:07 (Mla time) March 25, 2011

Philippine Daily Inquirer

LOS ANGELES—In death, she is being heralded for her great beauty, iconic and legendary persona, tireless humanitarian work, and the compassion and optimism she exuded despite decades of physical ailments.

But Elizabeth Taylor was, above all else, a performer—a three-time Oscar winner, a radiant child star whose best work as an adult was her most splashy and scenery-chewing.

She may not have been the greatest actress of her generation in terms of pure talent and technique, but she had an irresistible screen presence that kept audiences riveted.

The contradictions alone were fascinating: She could seem demure yet seductive, aristocratic yet bawdy. The tiny voice and petite stature seemed at odds with the femininity that would define her glamorous aura.

But when she was young—in early, family-friendly films such as “Lassie Come Home” (1943) and especially “National Velvet” (1944)—she possessed a startling and mature beauty for someone her age.

Those mesmerizing eyes, that luxurious dark hair and flawless skin—they were all there even back then.

Comic but gorgeous

Under Vincente Minnelli’s direction in “Father of the Bride” (1950), she got a rare chance to show off some comic ability as a young woman trying to put on the perfect wedding, even though Spencer Tracy, as her beleaguered father, got much of the big laughs.

In 1951, opposite a working-class Montgomery Clift in “A Place in the Sun,” she was gorgeous, sophisticated, vibrant.

When they first met and she asked flirtatiously, “Do I make you nervous?” as he tried to play billiards, there was only one answer.

But an evolution was occurring during this time in Taylor’s career. Her sweet, fresh looks collided with the pain and anger that seethed within many of her characters.

One of her strongest performances came in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958), as the fragile and damaged but volatile Maggie.

She was all curves, dressed in clingy white, alternately playing and pleading in a breathy Southern drawl, exchanging Tennessee Williams’ banter with Paul Newman at his peak.

The year 1959 found her in another Williams adaptation, “Suddenly, Last Summer,” as a young woman in danger after witnessing a tragedy (opposite Clift again). The playwright’s work suited her—the tormented characters, the great, gothic theatricality of it all.

Best actress

“I’m not like anyone, I’m me,” she announced in a moment of defiant confidence in “Butterfield 8” (1960). But as Gloria, the sassy, brassy, boozy, trashy, model-call girl, she also famously acknowledged, “I was the slut of all time!”

Taylor was over the top in her big confessional scene with Eddie Fisher, but still riveting to watch. The performance would earn her the first of her two Academy Awards for best actress.

And then there was the 1963 Joseph L. Mankiewicz epic “Cleopatra,” which became infamous not just for its scope (it’s the most expensive movie ever made—$44 million—if you adjust for inflation) but also for providing the place where Taylor’s path crossed Richard Burton’s.

It was Mike Nichols who got the best work out of Taylor in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966). She and Burton tear at each other as the boozy and bickering husband and wife George and Martha.

The performance earned Taylor her second best-actress Oscar. (She also received an honorary Academy Award in 1993 for her humanitarian work.)

Even in her last film role—which, sadly, was the 1994 live-action version of “The Flintstones”—that big personality was on full display.

Her performance as Fred’s mother-in-law earned her a Razzie Award nomination for worst supporting actress, but she definitely livened things up.

She burst into a party, all hair and fur and jewels, flashing those famous eyes and calling for a conga line when the situation got awkward.

She was still irresistible, even then.

8-time bride

And Taylor was so prolific as a bride that jokers liked to call her Mrs. Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky.

“I think I ended up being the scarlet woman partly because of my rather puritanical upbringing and beliefs,” she once said. “I couldn’t just have a romance; it had to be marriage.”

Her first romance was with Glenn Davis, the famed “Mr. Inside” of the Army football champions.

A year later, her mother announced Taylor’s engagement to William D. Pawley, 22-year-old son of a former ambassador to Brazil.

The engagement was canceled three months later, and Taylor was rumored to be dating Howard Hughes. Her mother angrily denied that Taylor had ever seen the bashful billionaire without her parents’ being present.

2-week marriage

The wedding of Taylor, 18, to Conrad Nicholson “Nicky” Hilton, 23, on May 6, 1950, was hailed as Hollywood’s social event of the year.

“The honeymoon in Europe lasted two weeks,” Taylor wrote in a 1965 memoir. “I should say the marriage lasted for two weeks. Then came, yours sincerely, disillusionment—rude and brutal.”

Hilton, the great-grandfather of socialites Paris and Nicky Hilton, began drinking on their wedding night and seldom stopped. After the honeymoon, Taylor went home to her mother and filed for divorce.

Of her marriage to British actor Michael Wilding, Taylor wrote: “We had a lovely, easy life, very simple, very quiet. Two babies were born. We had friends. We didn’t do much.”

But then she met Mike Todd, the dynamic producer of Broadway girlie shows who promoted the big-screen Cinerama and an all-star film of “Around the World in 80 Days.”

He swept Taylor off her feet and out of her marriage to Wilding.

“He had a joy, a relish about being alive, a vitality that was so contagious,” Taylor wrote. “He was a fabulous con artist—could con the gold out of your teeth—but was terribly, gregariously generous.”

Todd died in 1958, in the crash of his private plane on a New Mexico mountaintop.

Scandal

Among those who consoled the widow was singer Eddie Fisher. Their romance caused the biggest Hollywood scandal of the time, to be superseded by a bigger scandal surrounding her fourth marriage.

Taylor was branded a “home wrecker” for allegedly breaking up Fisher’s marriage to Debbie Reynolds, mother of his two children.

But two years after her 1959 marriage to Fisher, Taylor met Burton on the set of “Cleopatra.”

“Has anybody ever told you that you’re a very pretty girl?” he said.

Madly in love

Her reaction: “Here’s the great lover, the great wit, the great intellectual of Wales, and he comes out with a line like that!”

They were soon madly in love, and after divorces from their spouses, they were married on March 15, 1964.

They divorced in 1974, remarried in 1975, and divorced finally in 1976.

Taylor then moved to politics. In 1976, she married Virginian John W. Warner and helped his successful campaign for the US Senate in 1978. They were divorced in 1982.

‘Very lonely’

“Being a senator’s wife is not easy,” she told a reporter. “It’s very lonely. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”

Her companion as she battled pneumonia in April 1990 was Larry Fortensky, 37, a construction worker she met while both were undergoing treatment at the Betty Ford Center.

She married Fortensky in October 1991 at friend Michael Jackson’s ranch.

“Marriage does give a sense of oneness that just being together can’t,” she said.

But in August 1995, they announced a trial separation; in February 1996 she filed for divorce.

After months of speculation on who’s got to play the heroine, Katniss Everdeen in the movie adaptation of Hunger Games, it has been recently confirmed that Jennifer Lawrence officially bagged the most coveted-role.

I didn’t really know much about her until I googled her a while ago out of sheer curiosity. I haven’t even watched a single movie in which she starred in. All I know about her is that she got a Best Actress Nomination in the recently concluded Academy Awards for the movie Winter’s Bone. Now that is MAJOR! Just being nominated in the same league with the likes of Annette Bening, Nicole Kidman and Natalie Portman, no less. That is something she could list with an indelible ink in her track record, not to mention giving her bragging rights to start with. Brace yourself for this actress’ rise to fame.

Finally,The Hunger Games Movie adaptation now has a release date. March 23, 2012. Mark your calendars. This only means one thing: I’d have to wait for another one agonizing year to finally watch it on the big screen.

It saddens me that people keep on comparing The Hunger Games with Twilight. I mean, come on people!! They’re not even in the same league. Cut me some slack!

There’s something about red hair that I absolutely find amusing. 

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