On Elizabeth Taylor & Our Fascination with the Rich & Famous

No stranger to the perils of drug abuse herself, Taylor knew firsthand Jackson could indeed turn his life around.  After her own rehab stint made headlines in the early 1980s, Taylor was in a unique position to speak out to celebrities who abuse drugs to cope with fame and its pitfalls.  While Jackson eventually passed away, allegedly from a powerful prescription drug, there is something to be learned from the lives of both the King of Pop and Hollywood’s golden girl.

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Elizabeth Taylor’s passing provides us the opportunity to reflect on the perils of fame.  While the plights of celebrities have become a preoccupation and hobby for many people, it is apparent that the lenses under which these stars live result in more tragic endings than fairytale ones.

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I have often wondered if it is the superabundance of those “tragic endings” which accounts, in large part, for our fascination with the lifestyles of the rich and famous.  We may not have the wealth or recognition that these individuals, for lack of better word, enjoy.  And their stories remind us that while we may aspire for such things, they aren’t necessary to secure our happiness and fulfillment.  Indeed, in some cases –and for some individuals — they may even be detrimental to those ends.

8 thoughts on “On Elizabeth Taylor & Our Fascination with the Rich & Famous

  1. Elizabeth Taylor lived a long, fruitful life; her only real tragedies were her multiple marriages. She clearly had issues given her various marriages. Heck, may a glamorous life from the outside may be a living hell from the inside. In other words, I’m not really fascinated by the rich & famous. I also don’t listen to heady gossip. Celebrities are not gods, but as human as you or me. They just live in a fishbowl & lose their anonymity. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. But many actors, musicians, etc al., crave it. Taylor was not one of them. She kept a low profile for several years. Her death just brought her back in the spotlight.

  2. Sorry Sebastian, I beg to differ about Taylor’s low profile in the last several years. Miss Taylor kept a low profile because she has been in bad health for a long time now.

    The heart issue is not something that happened over night. And she’s been in a wheelchair for quite awhile. Her public activity slowed down considerably because she in truth has been in bad health for a very long time.

    Probably the biggest criticism /compliment one can aim at Miss Taylor in the ways of celebrity is that throughout the entirety of her career was is that she mastered the art of keeping them coming back for more til the day she died.

    I’ll never forget a TMZ story on her a couple of a little over a year ago attempting to go out to dinner at a posh steak house in LA that had recently opened. Here’s this frail woman in her 70s and in a wheelchair to boot surrounded by the papparazzi as her aide with hand over her eyes cause she was blinded by flashing bulbs struggled to navigate Taylor’s wheelchair past them and inside the restaurant.

    The same scenario replayed itself as she left.

    That was the genius of Elizabeth Taylor at work in terms of creating a persona so mythic, bigger than life and sought after, that even having not worked in films for years this woman still had effortless ability to create mania on the level of her youngest, hottest and newest contemporaries.

    Taylor understood early on that Elizabeth Taylor the brand was worth just as much as 501 jeans. And she remained consistent in her creation of that brand like 501 jeans. Very little of Elizabeth Taylor the brand the public persona was by accident.

    Miss Taylor was incredibly shrewd when it came to keeping her name in the press whether she was being seen publicly or not. Perhaps more than anyone in the entertainment industry she understood the power of celebrity worship and she worked that like no other.

    And perhaps it was because she understood America’s need for royalty——–yea, like British aristocracy. And in Taylor’s case she was died in the wool Hollywood royalty from practically day one.

    Throughout her life, she knew how much to give and when to pull it in. While her life seemed to play out publicly for all to see Taylor had command over an intensely private life that many never ever will know about in terms of the day to day inner workings.

    In other words, the public Elizabeth Taylor was as much manufactured as the movies Taylor starred in. Oh the marriages and diamonds were real. And all of it Taylor worked it to the max for public consumption when in fact she was incredibly complicated, smart, quite private about the things that mattered most to her and an amazingly gifted businesswoman.

  3. And forgive the typos. I hate blogs where you can edit what you’ve written after you’ve posted it.

  4. The tragic ending have a Romantic flavor to them. “Romantic” as in Byron, Shelley, et al. The tragic ending of many of our favorite screen stars evokes the same lack of catharsis as reading a poem by Coleridge.

    I agree with your last paragraph – their successes can serve as a goal to be achieved, while their failures provide anti-goals – something one aspires not to emulate.

  5. I am sure that my very little remaining gay cred will now evaporate, but I thought Elizabeth Taylor was a mediocre actress who traded mostly on her looks and I could have cared less about her wreck of a private life, etc.

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  7. She was always bigger than her movies. I thought she was a mediocre actress. She marriages were a reflection of how she didn’t value anyone other than herself. She is ego driven and a complete wh*re. Oh well, that’s what I feel before and now.

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