Elizabeth Taylor was a Hollywood icon. The camera loved her. She first made an impression in National Velvet, dazzled us in Butterfield 8, tore up the scenery in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and roared as a blousy, booze-addled scold in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, for which she won an Oscar.
Nowadays we have a glut of celebrities--people famous for being famous (do we even need to see Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan or Charley Sheen ever again?) and we obsess about their every move, scrutinize their love lives and cluck our tongues at their bad behavior--but Taylor was a real "movie star." She gave us plenty to gossip about, but whether she was sending a bowl of chili from Chasen's halfway around the world, or gallivanting in Portofino or Puerto Vallarta with Richard Burton (or some other husband) she was an icon of Old Hollywood. She certainly starred in some stinkers (try sitting through Cleopatra, the story of the Egyptian queen told in real time) but she also gave us some classic performances. End of an era.