Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rest In Peace, Katharina : Elizabeth Taylor Has Died

Perhaps it's been a long time coming, and for too long the rumors have been greatly exaggerated, but today we must sadly report that Elizabeth Taylor has died.

As always, we take a look back at the contributions to Shakespeare made by such a fine actress. Everybody knows where this train of thought goes, right? Zeffirelli's Taming of the Shrew, of course. Is this not the definitive cinematic version? To me I think that she'll forever be Kate, chased by Richard Burton's Petruchio while she hurls curses (and furniture, if I recall!) at him.

Interesting : The trivia for this movie says that, unlike Burton, Taylor had no Shakespeare experience when she started. In fact she insisted that her entire first day of shooting be reshot because she wasn't happy with it. Perhaps this has something to do with her coming off of Cleopatra, a legendary flop (and no, not anything to do with the Shakespeare story on the same subject).

Does anyone know if she ever did any other Shakespeare after this? I can't find any. Although, amusingly enough, I see that she gave Marlowe a spin, starring in a version of Doctor Faustus :).

Rest in Peace, Katharina.

UPDATE: For those looking for more, US Magazine had done a recent "25 Things You Don't Know About Me" story with Taylor. I just learned that Richard Burton never won an Oscar?


Jon said...

I'm quite sure she never did any other Shakespeare. It's easy to document, as her entire acting career was on film, with fewer than a half-dozen stage roles beginning with that walk-on as Helen in 1966 (Oxford Playhouse). She did a tour and Broadway run of The Little Foxes and then one of Private Lives, and I think she's one of the many who did Love Letters (which famously requires neither memorization nor motion). And that's it, I believe.

On the day of her passing I remember her with gratitude for her beauty, the personal generosity and loyalty that were clearly part of her makeup, and some great film performances. My touchstones are Velvet Brown, Rebecca (Ivanhoe), Maggie (Cat on a Hot Tin RoofReflections in a Golden Eye). A bow in memory.

Jon said...

I must have messed up in the coding there. After Maggie the Cat, I listed Martha (Virginia Woolf and Leonora (Reflections in a Golden Eye).

Jon said...

"I just learned that Richard Burton never won an Oscar?"

Maybe I run with an Oscar-geeky crowd, but this is one of those random celebrity factoids I thought was widely known. The actor who has been nominated most times (8) without winning is Peter O'Toole; right behind him is Richard Burton (7 noms). (Next in line are the unawarded with 6 noms, Deborah Kerr and Thelma Ritter.)

But to look at it another way, most people in the world haven't won an Oscar (and more to the point, some superb actors were never even nominated).