So shocked and saddened to turn on my TV set this morning and be bombarded with the devastating news of Elizabeth Taylor’s death.
She seemed so strong, so resilient. I thought she would never die.
She was the Star of Stars. And my childhood idol/crush.
It seems sometimes I ran large portions of my childhood around her.
Memories come flooding back.
Now that I have a talk-show and routinely interact with all the great ones, I find myself trying to figure out how I can get them as guests and if so, why not?
Well, Elizabeth Taylor was simply before my time. And she was from pre-junket Hollywood. Where, as you may have noticed on my You Tube Channel or my long-running cable TV show, www.youtube.com/StephenHoltShow
I get most of the biggest stars from TV press junkets.
Elizabeth Taylor’s film career was done YEARS before I started star chatting, but in the back of my mind, I always felt/hoped consciously or unconsciously that I would someday meet and greet her.
It didn’t happen.
I have so many childhood memories, mostly bittersweet, of trying, somehow to even catch a glimpse of her.
The closest I got was when my first gay friend, who I didn’t know was gay, just “sophisticated”, who lived downstairs of me, in the Bronx, and who was a year ahead of me in Catholic school, Edward Calabrese, used to go “downtown” to wild and wicked Manhattan to perhaps catch a glimpse of her coming or going from where she was holed up when hubby Richard Burton was doing “Hamlet” on Broadway. She was staying in the Penthouse at the Regency Hotel.
Long story short. Edward and I never saw her.
We also waited to see her at “Hamlet”. Never saw her. Sometimes she’d go there to meet Richard Burton, the love of her life, before or after the show. Never saw her.
I did see HIM. In “Hamlet” on Broadway and of course, I went with Edward. Burton was a mediocre Hamlet, I thought, a critic even at that tender age. He was getting through it on his INCREDIBLE voice, and with a minimum of acting.
The great performances in that show were John Gielgud’s voice(on tape) of the “Ghost.” He really scared me. And remains still the best Ghost of Hamlet’s father ever, IMHO. And also a particularly poignant Player Queen, played in drag, by the very young Kit Culkin, MacCauley’s father. And Hume Cronyn was good, too, as the VERY busy body of Polinius. And Eileen Hurley, with BRIGHT red hair, was Gertrude…She played a VERY YOUNG Gertrude to Olivier’s much better “Hamlet” in the movie and later was Muriel, with equally bright red hair on “All My Children” for a very long run…
But I never saw Elizabeth.
But I tried.
I have so many memories of Elizabeth as she liked to be called that I could fill a book. Maybe someday I will.