From “It Girl” to Has Been: The Sad Story of Elizabeth Taylor

Photo of Elizabeth Taylor

Here’s a question for you … why is Hollywood so unkind to its elderly women?

Okay, to be completely fair, this isn’t a problem unique to the celebrity world.  I see time and again old women who were once pioneers in their fields growing old largely alone and forgotten.  They come up once in awhile—“Oh, remember Sally who used to work here?  Yeah, she had another heart attack last week … sad, isn’t it?  We’ll have to send an office card”—but they are easily forgotten, turned into a footnote, an afterthought, an almost, “You mean she’s still alive?”

And so it is with Elizabeth Taylor, who once …

… glowed on the silver screen, had her choice of leading men (both on film and in her bedroom), and was the face of beauty for a generation.


British-born actress Elizabeth Taylor is getting better in a hospital and she has not had a heart attack, a stroke or any kind of heart surgery, her representative said on Thursday.

But the 78-year-old two-time Oscar winner, who has been at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after being admitted with symptoms of heart failure earlier this month, will stay in the hospital for now.

“Elizabeth Taylor’s doctors continue to be encouraged by her progress,” her representative said in a statement.

So she’s almost an octogenarian and, like I said, once ripped up the tabloids with everything from her support of Michael Jackson to her marriage to a forklift operator, and now … we’re only interested in her medical progress?

We’re basically just waiting for her to bite the bag so we can be all, “Wow, she was an amazing talent.  What a shame.  The world really lost a legend today.”

Anyone else think this is kind of depressing?

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10 thoughts on “From “It Girl” to Has Been: The Sad Story of Elizabeth Taylor

  1. Well to be fair, she isn’t actively making movies any more and hasn’t been for a long time. When you’re not doing anything in the business, you’re not really going to be in the news. I agree with you though that completely forgetting her is sad and it’s symptomatic of the largest problem that the elderly face: isolation and loneliness. If we want to change things, the best thing to do is visit our elderly relatives or volunteer at a senior center. The amount of joy that brings to senior citizens is pretty amazing and takes so little work on our part.

  2. “We’re only interested in her medical progress.” The fact that we’re concerned about her at all shows that people still care about her and consider her an icon worthy of attention. What else are we supposed to talk about regarding her, when, as Shannon said, she hasn’t done anything worth mentioning besides simply existing? Are we supposed to be thinking about every single person at every single moment, and, if we don’t, be considered negligent and forgetful? That’s silly. I could have guessed that Katie wrote this article even if her name weren’t attached to it. She tends to make big deals out of nothing.

  3. No, I don’t think it’s depressing. People wander in and out of our lives for many reasons, whether it’s because they retire from where we work, stop making movies we watch or because summer camp is over and we won’t see them any more. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with age. I wouldn’t WANT to have continuous contact with everyone I have ever known. I’m not sure all celebrities would WANT to have continuous media and/or paparazzi coverage until they die. Besides, we are interested in her medical progress because her medical condition could cause her death. That’s a bit more gripping than learning whether she has taken up crocheting as a hobby or enjoys reading novels on her Nook or whatever.

  4. I always wondered if those eyebrows were press on eyebrows.
    Like press on nails?
    Even so, she has always been a beautiful woman, with more control over her life than most of her generation.

  5. Why exactly *should* anyone care about an actress who is no longer acting.
    I would consider it decent, actually, to leave alone someone who is no longer working. Some people will doubtless be hounded until they die even if they never made another movie tomorrow.
    It is reasonable to wonder why older women can’t get roles, but I see no reason at all that people should pay attention to a retiree no matter what they did that they don’t do anymore.

  6. I think the bigger problem in the entertainment industry is that middle-aged female characters are played by young actresses, and ‘old’ female characters are played by middle-aged actresses. There is a giant emphasis on the youth of women that doesn’t exist for men.

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