She was more than just a movie star. As gorgeous as she was, she never became predominantly a sex symbol. Even defining her as an actress, though she was a great one, doesn’t begin to do her justice.
Elizabeth Taylor was the epitome of womanliness. She was beautiful, talented, lively, intelligent, playful, outspoken and many other things, but most of all she was womanly. She had that undefinable quality that captivated men. It contained sexuality but was not principally sexual. She embodied an ideal of mother/wife/sister/daughter/girlfriend, someone to be with in a relationship of love. She had a luminous, regal quality that the tabloids could never tarnish.
Girls wanted to grow up to be her. Not like her, they wanted to grow up to be Elizabeth Taylor: everything a woman should be. They dreamed of being adored the way she was adored. Once when questioned about her many marriages, she said, “I married every man I slept with. What other woman can say that?” How can you not love the woman behind those words?
People loved Elizabeth Taylor through the movies but not because of the movies. Regardless of the role she was playing, they felt connected to her. The emotion we call love is all about a sense of connection and a feeling of harmony. With this movie star the public got to feel a personal human bond. We loved her for the woman she was.
With all the wonderful performers out there, it’s hard to think of anyone who comes close to the ideal quality of womanliness that was Elizabeth Taylor.