Elizabeth Taylor, friend of Michael Jackson, dies at age 79
Many remember the longtime friendship between the screen star, pop icon
Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor died early Wednesday of congestive heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said publicist Sally Morrison. She had been hospitalized six weeks ago. She was 79.
Winner of two Oscars and numerous other awards, Taylor made more than 50 films during a career that started at age 10, when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer signed Taylor to $100 a week to appear as Priscilla in the film "Lassie Come Home." Over the years, Taylor became perhaps more famous for her multiple marriages to famous and wealthy men.
Younger fans came to know Taylor for her AIDS charity work and the bond she developed with the late King of Pop Michael Jackson. Taylor and Jackson became quite a pair, often accompanying each other to star-studded celebrity events.
On the evening of Oct. 6, 1991, two dozen helicopters carrying paparazzi and reporters circled above singer Michael Jackson's Neverland ranch in Santa Barbara County, Calif., where Taylor married Larry Fortensky, in her eighth walk down the aisle.
In 1993 when Michael Jackson sat down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey in his home at Neverland Ranch, Taylor appeared by his side. During the interview, Winfrey told Jackson that she had heard that at some point he proposed to Taylor. He responded, "Elizabeth Taylor is gorgeous, beautiful and she still is today and I'm crazy about her; I would like to have proposed to her." Taylor made a surprise walk-on appearance during the interview, and Oprah asked her "What do you think is most misunderstood about Michael Jackson?" The actress responded "He is the least weird man that I have ever known. He is highly intelligent, shrewd, intuitive, understanding, sympathetic and generous to almost a fault of himself."
In 2009 after hearing news of Michael Jackson's death Taylor told US Magazine. "My heart...my mind...are broken. I loved Michael with all my soul and I can't imagine life without him."
When Jackson died in 2009, Taylor was a visible presence at his funeral.
Jackson's brother, Tito, issued a statement praising Taylor's trailblazing work in HIV/AIDS awareness and recalled her friendship with his brother. Tito Jackson expressed gratitude for Taylor's "steadfast loyalty and unwavering friendship to my late brother Michael Jackson. Liz provided a sense of relief and comfort to my brother at various difficult times in his life, and I appreciate that, may she rest in peace."
Upon the news of Taylor's passing this morning, Black entertainers and other figures took to Twitter with their condolences. Here are a few:
Tyrese Gibson (@Tyrese)
“Elizabeth Taylor thank you for bringing the strength of a woman to our world!! RIH (Rest in Heaven) send our love to MJ up there!!!”
niecy nash (@NiecyNash)
“We lost an accomplished actress, beauty icon, & aids activist today:( RIP Elizabeth Taylor.”
Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile)
“Never mind she was married multiple times, the woman had grace, charm and charisma. Elizabeth Taylor embodied warmth combined with beauty.”
LeVar Burton (@levarburton)
“Elizabeth Taylor was a class act, a real movie star and a genuine human being!!! God Bless her... RIP”http://www.myjet247.com/JETInsider/Buzz/Content.aspx?topic=Elizabeth_Taylor_friend_of_Michael_Jackson_dies