With some half dozen others already in print, does the world really need another big, fat Elizabeth Taylor biography? At this point, only if it’s brimming with juicy revelations — or at least a batch of newly unearthed anecdotes. Alas, J. Randy Taraborrelli’s Elizabeth doesn’t produce either in great supply. Though it does paint one of the more thorough portraits of her parents (and her formative relationship with them), the rest is mainly a rehash of stuff we already knew: Liz, the quintessential child star with the ultimate stage mother? Check. Liz, the high-maintenance diva causing myriad production delays while afflicted with an array of maladies that more than once leave her at death’s door? Yep. Liz, the misunderstood homewrecker who was only ever seeking real, true love? All here. Again and again.
If you’ve read any other Taylor bio, you already know the gist of this one, which only sporadically springs to life with the occasional fresh recollection: Like the night Taylor and third husband Mike Todd played catch-us-if-you-can tag with a mob of paparazzi on the streets of Chicago (as recalled by then-paralegal assistant Albert Skinner, or the first-hand account of an a jeweler on the set of Cleopatra who found himself ducking a sudden rainstorm under the same scaffolding that Taylor and Richard Burton had chosen to spontaneously indulge in what may have been the first make-out session of their notoriously illicit affair. More hot stuff like that, and Taraborrelli might have had a Taylor bio worth shelling out for. Instead, he’s basically picking the bones of a legend that has already been repeatedly served up for mass consumption.