Farewell, Cleopatra

March 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

Elizabeth Taylor | Photograph by Roddy McDowell

The queen of film has died, which provides an opportunity to look again at a favorite photograph. The actor Roddy McDowell photographed Elizabeth Taylor in 1961 when they were filming “Cleopatra.” It was included in our July 2000 exhibition of his photographs from Double Exposure, a series of books pairing his photographs of celebrities with text by other celebrities.

Here is what the actress Ava Gardner wrote about Elizabeth Taylor:

Elizabeth’s beauty doesn’t come from the shape of her face or nose or mouth or even those magnificent eyes, it comes from an inner strength and energy that very few people are blessed with. Also, a goodness and kindness that very few people are privileged or bother to see in her. They see the facade but not the remarkable woman inside.

I’ve known her since she was just a teenager, and I really haven’t seen much change in the person herself except a growth in character. But she has always been the same person — true and real — and like all great beauties she becomes more so as she ages.

— from Double Exposure: Take Two by Roddy McDowell

FOREVER FASHIONABLE: In her final starring role, Elizabeth Taylor was fashionably late for her own funeral. Her burial service at Forest Lawn began 15 minutes behind schedule, by her request.

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