Editorial : Death of an icon - Friday 25th March 2011

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/25/death-of-an-icon.html

THE death on Wednesday of Elizabeth Taylor has been accompanied by a sense of loss, as the world of movies has been deprived of some of its glitter. She was the last of Hollywood’s golden-era icons, personifying a time when celebrity culture of legendary proportions was the exclusive preserve of the industry. The London-born star lived to see the world survive the Second World War and arrive in the era of Facebook and Twitter. A globally recognised icon but a somewhat overlooked actor, during a career that spanned five decades Ms Taylor may not always have been brilliant in her work, but sometimes was just that. Her best performances came with strong, female-centric roles such as Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Even when not at her peak in thespian terms, she was rarely less than arresting. From child actress to the queen of tinsel town, Ms Taylor was, in a sense, Hollywood itself.
Yet Elizabeth Taylor’s legacy stretches beyond her own life, tragic and blessed as it was by turns. She was amongst those celebrities who used their status to turn the world’s attention towards people less fortunate. Ms Taylor upheld the cause of gay rights and AIDS awareness at a time when the world was as yet new, and thus hostile, to the idea. Her advocacy for AIDS awareness earned her a special Oscar in 1993. Her example of supporting causes is followed by celebrities across the world, including in Pakistan. Her words while accepting the special Oscar are pertinent: “I call upon you to draw from the depths of your being to prove that we are a human race, to prove that our love outweighs our need to hate, that compassion is more compelling than our need to blame.”

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