Saturday, March 26, 2011

JOAN COLLINS: My wickedly funny friend Liz Taylor

Screen Siren:  Joan Collins with
her late, great friend Elizabeth Taylor

After a lifetime of battling a series of ailments that would have killed someone with a less hardy constitution, Elizabeth Taylor, the last of the great movie stars, has died and that fact makes me overwhelmingly sad. 

She was, after all, my contemporary and her death marks the end of an era that meant so much to me.

She lingered in the intensive care unit of Cedars Sinai Hospital for nearly six weeks and all of us who knew her constantly asked for updates on her health but, deep down, everyone knew what was coming.  

Her dear friend the singer Carole Bayer Sager even cancelled a trip to Europe because she wanted to be in LA to wait for the inevitable. Not since the death of Diana have I seen such a justifiable tornado of press and media coverage. 

Quite simply, there never was and never will be another star like her. I first became aware of Elizabeth Taylor when I saw her in Lassie, Come Home when she was about ten years old. 
I had just started collecting autographed pictures of movie stars and I wrote off for one — not for Elizabeth's but for Lassie's!  

I never received it, but it was wartime and the mail was unreliable.  Little did I know then that I would meet Elizabeth many years later in Hollywood. We first encountered each other in the hair and make-up department of MGM where I was shooting the The Opposite Sex, my third American movie. 

I was so in awe of the constellation of superstars who sat casually in hair rollers sipping coffee and gossiping.  Grace Kelly, soon to leave to become Princess of Monaco, was regal and cool but Elizabeth Taylor was animated, showing off photos of her children and acting just like a normal mum.

I thought she was gorgeous, down to earth and a touch bawdy, which caused the aristocratic Kelly to raise a delicate eyebrow but elicited gales of laughter from Ava Gardner and me. 

Read the full article in the Daily Mail online by clicking here.

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