Friday marks the anniversary of the death of the late, great, embattled Elizabeth Taylor. In honor of the star, Los Angeles based author MG Lord offers up a new way to look at her life. The book is called “The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted by Her Beauty to Notice.”
It was as a contract player that Taylor became a star, and writers and directors chose the spectacular beauty for parts that tackled issues depicting the struggles of the day: gender discrimination, abortion, homosexuality, to name a few. Collectively, they raised the hackles of the censors and left Taylor with a body of work that, reviewed lo these years later under a fresh microscope, show her to be an icon of strength and struggle. (Listen to my interview with Lord below.)
Lord realized that young people of today only know of Liz Taylor as a crusader against AIDS and a pal of Michael Jackson’s, not as the spectacular beauty and symbol of her day. It’s impossible to distill her deft analysis into the short time we had together (much less have a dialogue about the early roots of feminism,) but our conversation gives a taste of Lord and what she has to say.
And if you haven’t seen National Velvet or Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf in a while–or ever!–what better way to commemorate Taylor?