As the whole industry mourns Elizabeth Taylor, friends of the actress — who passed away Wednesday of congestive heart failure — are paying tribute to one of Hollywood’s most vibrant legends via statements. Here’s what Taylor’s colleagues and acquaintances are saying about their dearly departed friend.
Barbra Streisand, friend: “It’s the end of an era. It wasn’t just her beauty or her stardom. It was her humanitarianism. She put a face on HIV/AIDS. She was funny. She was generous. She made her life count.”
Mike Nichols, who directed Taylor in 1966’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: “The shock of Elizabeth was not only her beauty. It was her generosity. Her giant laugh. Her vitality, whether tackling a complex scene on film or where we would all have dinner until dawn. She is singular and indelible on film and in our hearts.”
Elton John, longtime friend and fellow AIDS activist: “We have just lost a Hollywood giant; more importantly, we have lost an incredible human being.”
Martin Landau, who starred alongside Taylor in 1963’s Cleopatra: “It’s a terrible loss. A unique talent and a singularly spectacular individual.”
Tito Jackson, brother of friend Michael Jackson: “Elizabeth Taylor was an impactful person in this industry and on society as a whole. I specifically admire her charitable efforts including bringing early awareness to HIV/AIDS. Most memorable is her steadfast loyalty and unwavering friendship to my late brother Michael Jackson. Liz provided a sense of relief and comfort to my brother at various difficult times in his life, and I appreciate that, may she rest in peace.”
Senator Chris Dodd, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Elizabeth Taylor. Her artistic contribution to the motion picture industry is immeasurable. In a career spanning more than 70 years and 50 films, her talent endured the test of time and transcended generations of moviegoers. She truly was an American icon, whose legacy went far beyond her acting skills, most notably in her efforts to lead the battle against HIV/AIDS. Our thoughts are with her family and her many friends and fans during this difficult time.”
Barry Manilow, friend: “Elizabeth was the last great movie star. And a great human being. What I’ll always remember about Elizabeth was her laugh. She would walk into a room looking like a princess and suddenly there would be this cackle that filled the room that would crack us all up. I’m so glad to have known her. It’s a very sad day for me.”
Eva Marie Saint, who starred with Taylor in 1957’s Raintree County and 1965’s The Sandpiper: “I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Elizabeth Taylor. I have wonderful memories of working together with her in Raintree County and The Sandpiper. She was an incredible talent, and yes, she had those unforgettable eyes. I greatly admire her humanitarian efforts, which have touched so many lives. Elizabeth was a very dear, generous and loving lady.”
Mickey Rooney, who starred with Taylor in 1944’s National Velvet: “Our loss in the motion picture business with Elizabeth Taylor’s passing is momentous. She was a lady who gave of herself to everyone. I know I consider it a great personal loss.”
Shirley MacLaine, friend and co-star in 2001 TV movie These Old Broads: “I don’t know what was more impressive her magnitude as a star or her magnitude as a friend. Her talent for friendship was unmatched. I will miss her for the rest of my life and beyond.”
Debbie Reynolds, friend and co-star in 2001 TV movie These Old Broads: “She had a long, productive career. She was the most glamorous and sensuous star of our generation. No one could equal Elizabeth’s beauty and sexuality. Women liked her and men adored her — my husband included — and her love for her children is enduring. She was a symbol of stardom. Her legacy will last.”
Carrie Fisher, Reyonlds’ daughter, and Taylor’s one-time stepdaughter: “A woman who rarely did things in half measure. Elizabeth lived her life to the fullest, whether by loving to the fullest or while also giving us some of the most memorable performances ever on film. A devoted mother many times over and even very briefly a step mother to my brother Todd and myself, loyal to the lifelong friends surrounding her- even with all this she found time to become one of the earliest champions for those living with HIV. If my father had to divorce my mother for anyone — I’m so grateful that it was Elizabeth. This was a remarkable woman who led her life to the fullest rather than complacently following one around. She will be missed but never forgotten.”
Joan Collins, friend and co-star in 2001 TV movie These Old Broads: “I am so terribly sad about the death of Elizabeth Taylor. Although everyone here in Hollywood knew that her end was near we are all shocked. She was the last of the true Hollywood icons, a great beauty, a great actress and continually fascinating to the world throughout her tumultuous life and career. There will never be another star who will come close to her luminosity and generosity, particularly in her fight against AIDS. She will be missed.”
Anthony Geary, star of ABC soap General Hospital, on which Taylor occasionally guest-starred: “Elizabeth was more than a great star, she was an amazing human being. Her world famous physical beauty paled in comparison to the beauty that radiated from her heart and soul. She had great humor, didn’t take herself too seriously, and had the most wonderful bawdy laugh. She was a fierce and loyal friend and tireless advocate. She dedicated herself to education, treatment and the search for a cure for HIV/AIDS long before it was fashionable to do so. Back in the dark days of ignorance and prejudice against people stricken with the disease, Elizabeth was at the forefront of the battle. Ever ready to give love, comfort, and dignity to those whose lives had been devastated and cut short, her generosity was nothing short of spectacular. It made her furious to hear anyone claim that people who had HIV/AIDS were somehow morally inferior or that the disease was some kind of punishment. I was fortunate enough to call her my friend and every moment I spent in her company was unforgettable. I loved her very much. The world is a little darker, a little colder, a little less beautiful without her.”
For more on Liz Taylor and her storied life both on-screen and off, pick up the issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands April 1.