Thursday, March 31, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor 1932-2011

"Now, I have to go make love to my wife, Morgan Fairchild. And, uh, my other wife, uh, the young Elizabeth Taylor."
Tommy Flanagan, pathological liar

Big asked me the other day why I didn't write an obituary on Elizabeth Taylor. I told him it was because I had nothing to say about Elizabeth Taylor. He said, "But you write up a blog post on every celebrity that dies." I said, "No, I don't. Just the ones that made an impact on me." He said, "You're telling me Bea Arthur made an impact on you?"

It was something to think about. And then Big reminded me of something I said to him once (or maybe thrice) about Liz Taylor, around the time that Britney Spears got really fat. And I changed my mind.
So, Elizabeth Taylor died. Of congestive heart failure. News reports were calling her the last of the great Hollywood movie stars, but sadly, when I mentioned it at the clinic that day, nobody there knew who she was. She was seventy-nine.

Well, as a kid, Liz Taylor was the only actress I ever remember my dad saying was beautiful. I remember being in front of the TV in the living room, and they said it was Taylor's birthday on Entertainment Tonight or something, and my dad made this comment. I said, "Who? That fat old lady who gets married all the time?"

He said, "Son, you have no idea how pretty she was when she was young. She was beautiful!"

I just couldn't believe it.

"And not like any of the homely women you get so excited about today," he said, much more typically. "No, she was the best-looking woman in the world."

Well, this totally blew my mind. My dad NEVER talked about women, except to criticize them, and here he was acting like he had a crush on the fat divorce lady.

I told Big this story when we were working together, and Britney Spears gave an interview where she said, "I'm a mother now. That's my focus, not being all sexy and stuff."

I said, "Years from now, our kids--your real kids and my imaginary ones--will see Britney Spears on the late night talk shows, or the programs featuring has-been celebrities, and they'd wonder why she's on there. 'Why is that fat old woman famous, Daddy?' And you'll say, 'Son, once upon a time, she was the sexiest girl in America. Maybe the world. She'd coo and the knees of males would quiver, she's pout and tears would come to your old man's eyes. She'd bend over and boys would start growing chest hair, she'd claim to be a virgin and guys would fill their Fruit of the Looms.' The child would never believe you, just like I never believed my dad, even if you said, 'Son, it was Britney's "Oops I Did It Again" video I was thinking of the night you were conceived.'"

So, no, I don't really have anything to say about Elizabeth Taylor's passing, except to say that I was once thin, and seventy-nine doesn't seem that old to me anymore.

Rish "Butterfield 666" Outfield

P.S. Britney Spears has since tired of her children and tried to get back into shape and on magazine covers again. But it just isn't the same.

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