Book Review: How To Be A Movie Star, Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood by William J. Mann
Link for the book @ Amazon:
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2009
Elizabeth Taylor was born to Sara Warmbrodt a former stage actress and Francis Taylor. They had 2 children: Elizabeth and her older brother Howard. Because of an "uncle" they were able to have a more lavish lifestyle, considering the hardship of so many during The Great Depression. Sara was more than a strong influence she was the driving force in Elizabeth becoming an actress at a young age, and a Hollywood star. Elizabeth attended the Little Red School house on the MGM lot. She acted in National Velvet, which was the movie that launched her career. Her mother continued to dominate her life until Elizabeth acted in the movie A Place in the Sun with Montgomery Clift. During this movie Elizabeth started rebelling against certain standards that her mother had held. Elizabeth and Monty became close friends. Elizabeth and Roddy McDowell had met in National Velvet, they too were life long friends. Elizabeth maintained close friends with several gay men. The author alludes to the possibility she felt she could be herself, relax, not feel as if they were out to sleep with her. The author also felt her father was gay. The book does not give a full life story of Elizabeth Taylor, instead certain peak moments of her life are examined; such as during the making of the movie Cleopatra she began an affair with Richard Burton.
As I stated above I neither liked this book or disliked it.
It was an interesting read, it did hold my attention. Reading about Elizabeth Taylor was rather like reading a very long article in a celebrity magazine.
She was such a beautiful person, just stunning. With her beauty and sweet voice you'd have thought she was lady-like. But, their was nothing lady-like about her. She was bold and brassy, curse words flew out of her mouth like a drunk sailor.
She was a woman with not just an agenda but with the attitude of the heck with anyone else. When she wanted something she got it. And, yet the author summed her life up as this attitude was to be expected because she was a star!
I do believe it is true that she was kind-hearted to certain close friends.
I also believe that her labor of love during the early years of HIV and AIDS awareness and education to me was her greatest achievement in life. She made a daring step forward during a time when many in the world were either uninformed, prejudice, afraid, or all the above.