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Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit & Glamour of an Icon

Review

Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit & Glamour of an Icon

Elizabeth Taylor was “a very real woman” who thankfully has been brought back to the limelight by New York Times bestselling author Kate Andersen Brower. The book takes readers behind the scenes, more away from the cameras than in front of them, to paint this dynamic portrait of a young aristocratic English girl who climbed the ladder of film success from a rather bland TV series in her youth to become the first actor to demand --- and get --- a million dollars for one of her movies.

"Readers who think they know Elizabeth Taylor will learn --- and enjoy --- much that has never before been revealed in such rich detail about this remarkable 20th-century icon."

Taylor grew up like Hollywood itself, bringing to its heyday her beautiful face and figure, her gentle voice that could wax harsh as a harpy when needed, and her wish to be the best --- and only the best --- at everything in which she chose to involve herself. This included her record of eight marriages, some arising out of the adultery of herself and her latest new-found partner; her many awards, for acting as well as for humanitarian initiatives; her addiction to pain medication; her collection of fabled jewels, of which she gladly boasted; and her affection for her children and grandchildren.

Brower has constructed this fascinating chronology by delving into Taylor’s personal letters and diaries, revealing her strong propensity as a wordsmith, along with extensive interviews with those who knew her and were willing to tell all, as she herself generally did not hesitate to do. Taylor had a reputation for getting what she wanted and openly bragging about her conquests on many of life’s battlefields. Lesser known was her sincere advocacy, later in life, in the realm of HIV/AIDS, contributing much of her personal fortune and using her close relationship with politicians and other influential movers to further that endeavor.

Taylor suffered from pain, accidents, disease and trauma. Yet she soldiered on, maintaining a worldwide following, sustaining her acting career, and becoming a dame --- the female equivalent of knighthood --- in 2000.

Brower’s book is more tapestry than treatise, bringing some new, fascinating facts to the fore on nearly every page. Taylor was groomed on “camera angles, stage marks, and call sheets” and fashioned a personality accordingly, openly enjoying her lush success and boldly stating her mind when the situation demanded it. Readers who think they know Elizabeth Taylor will learn --- and enjoy --- much that has never before been revealed in such rich detail about this remarkable 20th-century icon.

Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott on December 9, 2022

Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit & Glamour of an Icon
by Kate Andersen Brower

  • Publication Date: December 6, 2022
  • Genres: Biography, Nonfiction
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Harper
  • ISBN-10: 006306765X
  • ISBN-13: 9780063067653