To a young generation just making its way through movie history, Elizabeth Taylor is an artifact of another time. News of Taylor’s death Wednesday at 79 stirred up thoughts of an older woman who married 8 times (twice to actor Richard Burton), hung with Michael Jackson and Prince, hustled perfume and jewelry, and notably fought the fight against AIDs. For twentysomethings and under, Taylor’s career barely registers as a blip. “Was she ever in anything good?” I was asked today in my Rolling Stone office. My answer is a resounding, “YES!” Taylor had beauty, brains, talent and a bawdy sense of humor that was a pleasure to be around. Nearly two decades ago, I enjoyed lunch with Taylor at a Manhattan restaurant where the stares of accompanying diners would have thrown a tower of lesser strength. “They just want to see how fat I’ve gotten,” laughed Taylor, lifting one untoned bare arm for all to see. Taylor howled at their shocked reaction. She was like that. In life for the joy of it.
But today, I think the best tribute I can pay Taylor is to suggest a handful of her films to get lost in again or for the first time. For those wondering, “Was she ever in anything good?” try these following films.