Elizabeth’s favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, is here in the United States! We want to take this opportunity to thank all of you, our amazing community of online followers, for your loyalty, dedication and support of all things Elizabeth Taylor. We cherish having this platform to celebrate and share the personal stories, quotes, achievements, and milestones of the great Elizabeth Taylor. As she once said, “Every day we need to tell someone we love them. Touch them. Thank them for being. It’s so important.” Let’s all take time to give thanks with loved ones and show appreciation for all of the things we have to be grateful for in life. This holiday was special to Elizabeth because it’s a time when family and friends come together, eat good food (which Elizabeth loved), and give thanks for life’s blessings.
All of Elizabeth’s experiences, the good, bad, and everything in between, helped her to appreciate the little, but important, things that life has to offer. She loved life and lived it unapologetically, with the intention of making the most out of each and every day. Elizabeth nearly died twice (in fact, she was pronounced dead on one of those occasions, but was revived by doctors). Those near death experiences heightened her belief that life is precious and fleeting, so it’s necessary to take the time to appreciate all of the special things in life.
Through the many ups and downs that she endured, Elizabeth developed a deeper understanding of the importance of joyfulness, celebration, and gratitude. To her, something as simple as getting dressed up and putting on her sparkly jewels was a form of celebrating life. While, to some, things like hair, makeup, clothes and jewelry might be viewed as shallow or superficial, to Elizabeth they were a reflection of how much fun life can be.
A famous actress by the age of 12, Elizabeth was forced to grow up quickly and to figure out who she really was as a person - as well as what she stood for. A few of the lessons instilled in her were: not to take yourself too seriously, remain passionately compassionate, and treat everyone with dignity and respect.
Elizabeth survived her dramatic life in part because she followed her passions, believed in herself, and lived by the motto “To thine own self be true.” One of the major reasons people have loved and felt a connection with Elizabeth for so many decades is because she wasn’t simply a rich, beautiful movie star. There was a genuine vulnerability and depth behind the Elizabeth Taylor persona; a real woman with real-life struggles who was forthcoming about the fact that she wasn’t perfect. Elizabeth once said, "I haven't had a quiet life. I've lived dangerously. Sometimes disaster has come at me like a train. I've almost died several times...yet some instinct, some inner force has always saved me, dragging me back just as the train whooshed past."
She constantly sought to bring joy to others, as evidenced by the inclusive Thanksgiving feasts she hosted at her home in Bel-Air, which included family and between 20 and 40 guests. Many of whom she invited simply because they had nowhere else to spend the holiday. Elizabeth was most fulfilled when she was helping people. She believed that the greatest way to celebrate life was to do good for others and give back.
Elizabeth recognized that she could use her fame and platform to make the world a better place. Although she resented her fame on occasion, she sought to find ways to use it for the betterment of society by redirecting her spotlight to highlight important causes, particularly in the fight against HIV/AIDS. She brought attention to this devastating global health crisis at a time when very few even acknowledged it. Every move that Elizabeth made was covered in the press, so, as an activist her work could not be ignored as she brought crucial awareness to the once taboo virus. As people continued dying, Elizabeth became livid about the complete absence of action by the government, and so she felt compelled to take matters into her own hands and ended up saving countless lives. She co-founded amfAR in 1985, with Dr. Michael Gottlieb and Dr. Mathilde Krim. Elizabeth’s legacy continues through the work of The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF), which was founded in 1991. Even now, as we embark on the holiday season, ETAF is working tirelessly to raise both funds and awareness in the weeks leading up to World AIDS Day 2020 (which takes place on December 1).
The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation’s 2020 fundraising campaign, The Commitment to End AIDS, is just kicking off! Amidst two global pandemics, we remain as determined and unshakable as Elizabeth was in continuing her work to end AIDS. You, too, can be part of Elizabeth’s commitment by joining us in ending the AIDS pandemic.
It has certainly been a challenging year the world over. Happy and celebratory occasions, such as Thanksgiving, kept Elizabeth going, even during the toughest of times. Even though we must be extra careful this holiday season, it’s important to express our love and gratitude for the people closest to us. Let’s practice what Elizabeth embodied throughout her life: compassion, celebration, generosity and love.