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Elizabeth Taylor, Gay Icon, HIV/AIDS Activist, Dies At 79

by David Badash on March 23, 2011

in Celebrities,History,HIV/AIDS,Media,News

Post image for Elizabeth Taylor, Gay Icon, HIV/AIDS Activist, Dies At 79

Dame Elizabeth Taylor died today at the age of 79. She was an Academy Award-winning actress who starred in 70 films and television shows, a relentless HIV/AIDS activist who raised millions of dollars to fight the disease, and was known for her beauty and friendship to stars such as Michael Jackson and Rock Hudson. Seriously ill for more than a decade, Taylor died of congestive heart failure.

Perhaps best-known for her work in iconic films such as Butterfield 8, National Velvet, Giant, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, and Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Wolf, Taylor went on to make appearances in popular soap operas in the 1980s, such as All My Children and General Hospital. Taylor also appeared as the voice of Maggie Simpson in a 1992 episode of “The Simpsons,” titled, “Lisa’s First Word.”

After her friend Rock Hudson died from an HIV/AIDS-related illness, Taylor helped found the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and started the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF).

At her acceptance speech at the 11th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in 2000, Elizabeth Taylor said, “There is no gay agenda, it’s a human agenda,” and added, “Why shouldn’t gay people be able to live as open and freely as everybody else? What it comes down to, ultimately, is love. How can anything bad come out of love? The bad stuff comes out of mistrust, misunderstanding and, God knows, from hate and from ignorance.”

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, today said in a statement, “We are deeply saddened by the death Elizabeth Taylor. Ms. Taylor was a true ally to the LGBT community. She was one of the first public voices to speak up about the AIDS crisis while many others stayed silent in the 1980s and she helped raise millions of dollars to fight the disease.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, and to all those whose lives have been positively impacted by the life and work of Elizabeth Taylor.”

Taylor is known for saying, “If not to make the world better, what is money for?,” and, “Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses.”

Of long-time friends Michael Jackson, Taylor said, “What is a genius? What is a living legend? What is a mega star? Michael Jackson – that’s all. And when you think you know him, he gives you more . . . I think he is one of the finest people to hit this planet, and, in my estimation, he is the true King of Pop, Rock and Soul,” and “He is part of my heart. We would do anything for each other.”

Elizabeth Taylor did not attend the 2003 Academy Awards due to her opposition to the Iraq war.

Elizabeth Taylor was on Twitter. One of her last tweets was, “Give. Remember always to give. That is the thing that will make you grow.”

A thorough bio can be found at IMDb.

(Image: Elizabeth Taylor’s Twitter icon.)

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{ 1 comment }

Janet March 24, 2011 at 9:40 pm

She was a good actress, love her. She was a trooper when it came to helping people.

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