Who Cares That Elizabeth Taylor Couldn’t Sing?

American actress Elizabeth Taylor poses for a studio publicity photo.(Photo: Studio Publicity Photo)
American actress Elizabeth Taylor poses for a studio publicity photo.(Photo: Studio Publicity Photo)

Beautiful, stunning, exciting, impossible, outrageous. I remember when Elizabeth Taylor’s post-Cleopatra frolics with Richard Burton were attacked from the press and the pulpit.

Father McCabe had six fits (I had to ask my mother what ‘adulteress’ meant) and the ladies’ sodality in Boston harrumphed away — jealous, no doubt, of her beauty and  her many suspected ‘liasions.’

Speaking of ‘liaisons,’ Elizabeth Taylor returned to pictures after a series of flops for Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.

Elizabeth Taylor’s (very brief) musical career

This had hit written all over it. Harold Prince would direct. Taylor would co star with Len Cariou and Diana Rigg. Desiree Armfelt was not intended to be a singer — she was a lady of a certain age, still beautiful but not expected to sing operationally.

That would have diluted the message of her allure. Elizabeth Taylor seemed perfect casting. A legendary beauty not expected to sing, and by 1977 a lady of “a certain age” (a damned sight younger than I am now!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7wE1qfM4tc

It didn’t work. It was embarrassing. The film was hooted off the screens and sank like a solid gold brick.

No matter. Elizabeth Taylor became flop proof.

How she should be remembered

Her legacy is the work she did and the money she raised for persons with AIDS. When nobody would talk about it, there was the most glamorous woman in the world, singer or not, yelling at Congress and raising money.

I’ll remember her like that,  and we should all remember her like this:

They were probably the two most beautiful people who ever lived. Don’t miss the quick, final embrace.

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