It is a natural--if not bromidic--action to wax poetic about a person once she has died, particularly if that person is someone as iconic as Elizabeth Taylor, one of the last remaining actresses to have evidenced any kind of golden era in Hollywood. While some may deem it celebrity blasphemy to point out the finer quirks and imperfections of a person after she has died, one cannot help but recall some of Elizabeth Taylor's more insane moments, chiefly involving any time she was asked to present an award--case in point being her premature opening of the envelope at the Golden Globes in 2001 because she was too fucked up to know that she had to announce all of the nominees first.
Additionally, Taylor's roster of friends and lovers always made for a somewhat sordid turn of events (her many marriages and divorces being the center of attention in that category, notably Conrad Hilton and Richard Burton). Between her unlikely friendship with Michael Jackson, which formed in the mid-1980s when she attended one of his concerts at Dodgers Stadium, and her infamously stealing Eddie Fisher away from Debbie Reynolds, it seems easy to forget her actual body of work in the wake of Taylor's ironic demise from heart failure.
Apart from her early acclaim in films like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Place in the Sun, and Suddenly, Last Summer, Taylor maintained her acting panache in the latter half of her career with Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Taming of the Shrew.
It wasn't until the 1980s that Taylor's zeal for alcohol and pill abuse got the best of her, forcing her into rehab at the Betty Ford Center (très chic in the decade of Devo). After getting this little addiction in check, Taylor devoted much of her energy and finances to AmFAR (American Foundation for AIDS Research) and made some highly unusual film and TV choices (The Flinstones and God, the Devil, and Bob) in the face of a career that had essentially ended. Still, her spirit was never broken by any personal or professional strife. And, while most would like to remember her a certain way now that she has died, what's so wrong with thinking of her slurring, "Glaaadiatooor!" amid some of those other classic images?