Elizabeth Attends the Victory Tour Concert at Dodgers Stadium, Los Angeles, November 30/December 1/ 2 , 1984
Michael Jackson on their meeting, according to Randy Taraborrelli, Magic/Madness
“Michael once explained to me that he and Elizabeth first met in the early 1980s. Out of the blue, he had sent her a dozen tickets to one of his Los Angeles concerts at Dodger’s Stadium. “I didn’t know it, but it was her birthday – February 27th,” (Lacienega note – the Victory tour hadn’t begun yet and the Dodger’s concert was in November so this seems like another of Randy Tarraborrelli’s half truths) Michael recalled. “I thought I was giving her great seats because they were in the VIP box. But when Elizabeth got there, she became very angry because the seats were so far away from the stage. And she left, upset! The whole time I was performing, I was thinking, Oh my God, Elizabeth Taylor is watching me. Elizabeth Taylor is watching me! But, she wasn’t even there. When I got offstage, they told me she had gone home, mad. The next day, I called her, and I cried because I felt so awful.”
According to Michael’s memory, Elizabeth was cordial, but direct. “Michael,” she said, “a major star such as myself never sits in the cheap seats.”
“After that, we talked on the phone every day, on every stop of the tour,” Michael said. “After that, we talked on the phone every day, on every stop of my tour,” Michael said. “She somehow got my schedule. I would be in Cleveland and the phone would ring. Elizabeth. Or I would be in Denver and the phone would ring. Elizabeth. And I thought, Wow. Doesn’t she have other things to do? After all, she’s Elizabeth Taylor! At the end of the tour, I asked her if I could come by for tea. She said, “Yes.” I brought Bubbles along. She didn’t mind…”
The two become so fascinated with one another so quickly that, in 1989, Elizabeth toyed with the idea of moving Michael into her home so that they could spend all their waking hours together. At the time, Michael was about to move out of his family home in Encino [Lacienega: he had already met out of Encino in 1988 and had bought Neverland back in 1987], and was considering buying Neverland.
“But why do you need all of that space when you and I can live together in my home, “ Elizabeth suggested, according to what Michael told me. “Imagine the fun we’ll have. Maybe we’ll even get married.”
Elizabeth Taylor on their meeting, Paul Theroux, Telegraph
The friendship started when, out of the blue, Michael offered her tickets for one of his Thriller Tour concerts – indeed, she asked for 14 tickets. But the seats were in a glass-enclosed VIP box, so far from the stage “you might as well have been watching it on TV”. Instead of staying, she led her large party home.
Hearing that she’d left the concert early, Michael called the next day in tears apologising for the bad seats. He stayed on the line, they talked for two hours. And then they talked every day. Weeks passed, the calls continued. Months went by. “Really, we got to know each other on the telephone, over three months.”
One day Michael suggested that he might drop by. Elizabeth said fine. He said: “May I bring my chimpanzee?” Elizabeth said, “Sure. I love animals.” Michael showed up holding hands with the chimp, Bubbles.
“We have been steadfast ever since,” Elizabeth said.
Elizabeth on Oprah about what brought them together,
Oprah: And why do you think you all are such good friends? What has brought about this kind of bond? Because people try to make this weird.
Elizabeth: Well it’s not. I mean our childhoods are very similiar, and we had that from the very beginning in common. Um, I was a child star at nine, had an abusive father, um, and that kind of brought us together in the very beginning.
Liza Minnelli comeback tour, July 1, 1985
The crowd gave an impromptu ovation when it spotted Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson being escorted to their seats by a phalanx of bodyguards.
Elizabeth Visits Him on The Set of Captain EO, July 1985
Angelica Huston: Then from the first stage I kept seeing these luminaries appearing, Barbara Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren…I was like, I couldn’t believe it. Each day they would go into Michael’s trailer and sign his mirror in lipstick, it was unbelievable…I’ve never seen such a show…fantastic!
Bruce Springsteen concert, Ellensburg Daily Record, 28th September 1985
Springsteen fans included Elizabeth Taylor and singer Michael Jackson who left the concert through a side entrance after the first set.
Liz Smith Column, Toronto Star, 25th December, 1985 (Jan 5, 1986)
Everybody, but everybody who saw Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson arm in arm watching her horse, Basic Image, run in Hollywood Park on Christmas Day, heard what the star of stars shouted out when her baby came in next to last (Yes – next to last, even with the giant talent Willie Shoemaker whipping him on.) Michael, who doesn’t approve a bit of profanity, looked abashed.
AMA Awards, January 27, 1986
Michael arrives half-way through the American Music Awards ceremony in company of Elizabeth Taylor where he, Quincy Jones, Lionel Richie and Ken Kragen receive awards for We Are The World. At the show’s conclusion, they join many celebrities including Diana Ross, Janet & LaToya.
Lionel Richie: “One night, Michael, Elizabeth and I went out to dinner. Because she was also a child star, Elizabeth could relate to him. They talked about isolation and what you do when you’re lonely. It was good for Michael to hear that Elizabeth often went out of the house without security guards. The idea that you could live without them was a revelation to him.”
Bryan Times, 27th Jan 1986
Michael Jackson who nearly swept the awards two years ago when the Thriller album was hot, showed up backstage about midway through the show with friend Elizabeth Taylor. When photographers learned of the couple’s presence, several people were nearly tramped in the stampede to catch a shot of the pair.
Anchorage Daily News, 31 Jan 1986
But the We Are The World session alumnus who attracted the most attention was the reclusive Michael Jackson, who brought his friend Elizabeth Taylor on stage with him.
The couple also livened up thing backstage in the crowded media area.
When they appeared briefly, the area, which had been calm all evening, suddenly turned into a madhouse. Photographers stampeded to a designated security line near the stage entrance. It was one of those frantic paparazzi scenes, with photographers jockeying for position, shoving their colleagues out of the way.
Opening Day at the Races With Liz and Michael – Los Angeles Times, April 25, 1986
The opening of Hollywood Park on Wednesday brought out all the potential winners, including this year’s really fun couple–the devastatingly slim and pretty Elizabeth Taylor and her buddy, pretty and slim Michael Jackson. The yellow and black dress La Liz was wearing gave clear evidence that she is once again a knockout–and the best advertisement for the beauty book she is currently writing. In great spirits, Taylor followed the advice of her attorney, Neil Papiano, to bet combinations with Carole Bayer Sager and Marcia Diamond–and even kiddingly bopped Jackson on the head with her program for some laughing remark. It was a big day for that table, which included songwriter-cum-horseman Burt Bacharach, whose horse Piper John won the last race.
George Hamilton (who was dating Elizabeth in 1986/1987), Vanity Fair
“I once went to the track with Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson. I asked Michael to pick a horse. He said, ‘Oh no, I’m a Jehovah’s Witness.’ So I told him to just put his hand down on the race card. His hand came down on this horse that was a 30-1 shot. I bet on that horse and it won. I came over to Michael and said, ‘We won!’ I tried to give the money to him, but he screamed and tore off running.”
Jackson, Taylor, Lionel Richie and Mikhail Baryshnikov at the Los Angeles Ballet opening night party, 1986
Michael & Elizabeth Taylor attend a Liza Minnelli concert at the Universal Amphitheater in Hollywood .
With LaToya at Hayvenhurst, 1987
Jan 13, 1987
There’s celebrity watcher Robert Osborne, who will crop up every day to dish about the rich and famous, and staff doctor Bob Arnot, who will give advice about nutrition and fitness.
Monday, for example, we learned from Osborne that Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor hang out at Michael Jackson’s house to watch movies
Reading Eagle, Mar 3, 1987
A constellation of stars turned out for Elizabeth Taylors 55th birthday party over the weekend at the Bel ir Calif home of Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager but Michael Jackson was the only one who brought along his bodyguard The Pepsi hustler reportedly didnt mingle at all with the likes of Joan Collins, Bette Davis, Barry Manilow, Stevie Wonder, Whoopi Goldberg, and Charles Bronson. La Liz was escorted to the doings by George Hamilton.
Eugene Register Guard, 1 Sep 1987
He also created a shrine to actress Elizabeth Taylor in his home and has mannequins he reportedly dresses to resemble Taylor, Diana Ross and actress Sophia Loren.
Frank Dileo, People, September 1987
Did Michael propose to Liz Taylor or didn’t he? “No he didn’t,” says Dileo. “And no, there’s no shrine to her in his house. Yes they are very good friends. They dine together occasionally and visit.”
Kentucky News Era, 9th Oct 1987
Thousands of Elizabeth Taylor fans chanting, “We want Liz!” packed a department store for a glimpse of the star, who is on a promotional tour for Passion, her new line of perfume.
She signed autographs Thursday and took questions on any subject, including marriage. “I have no plans on getting married again, whatsoever,” said Miss Taylor, who has been married seven times and has been linked romantically recently to millionaire publisher Malcolm Forbes.
She also commented on a shrine to Miss Taylor that singer Michael Jackson reportedly has in his home. “Well, if you read it in the National Enquirer it must be true,” she said with a laugh.
MJ Moonwalk, 5th April 1988
I love Elizabeth Taylor. I’m inspired by her bravery. She has been through so much and she is a survivor. That lady has been through a lot and she’s walked out of it on two feet. I identify with her very strongly because of our experiences as child stars. When we first started talking on the phone, she told me she felt as if she had known me for years. I felt the same way.
Elizabeth Taylor interview, 1988
Says his most famous ally, Elizabeth Taylor: “I know some of the pain Michael goes through. I’ve been there. It takes, I think a fellow sufferer, a fellow survivor, to understand.”
“He is honesty personified,” says Taylor. “And he is so giving that at times there is very little to protect that beautiful inner core that is his essence.”
United Negro College Fund, March 10, 1988
Michael is honoured by the United Negro Colege Fund as one of their highest contributors at the 44th annual anniversary dinner held at the Sheraton Hotel in New York .
Quincy Jones, Whitney Houston, Yoko Ono, Elizabeth Taylor & Liza Minnelli attend the event.
Liz Smith Column, The Palm Beach Post, 16th March 1988
The usually co operative Elizabeth Taylor refused to pose for fans outside the Plaza Athenee last week en route to the UNCF benefit where Michael Jackson was the honoree. When she exhibited what some people referred to as “mood” behaviour at the event itself, it was suggested that the great star’s perfect nose was out of joint because she was not the center of attention that evening.
What twaddle! Elizabeth was actually not feeling very well and the idea that she would begrudge her good Michael Jackson a little media mayhem is absurd. ET showed what a loyal friend she was by not showing up at all, when clearly she would have been better off in bed.
The Legend Continues airs, March 12/13 1988
Elizabeth: “I have absolute faith and trust in Michael’s abilities. I think they’re much larger than anyone has dreamt of. I think he’s going to be one of the great superstars of all time.
I think Michael appeals to the child in all of us and I think he has the quality of innocence that we would all like to obtain or have kept.
And there’s a quality about Michael that is so rare and you… he is E.T. He’s not really of this planet.
(smiles) I love you, Michael.”
June 16, 1988
Concert in Basel attended by Elizabeth Taylor & Bob Dylan.
Bob Jones’ Postcard From The Road, SWITZERLAND, Black Radio Exclusive, July 22, 1988
Basel- We arrived in Geneva on June 13 and after three days of much needed rest, we motored down to Basel for one show at Foosball Stadion S-Jakob. Among the 60,000 in attendance were Michael’s dear friends Elizabeth Taylor and a party of ten and Sophia Loren, who brought a party of 25.
Wembley Concert, August 26, 1988
Michael dedicates I Just Can’t Stop Loving You to Elizabeth Taylor.
Bad Tour, January 16/17/18/26/27, 1989
Michael plays the five last concert of the Bad World Tour at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles . Among the celebrities attending the shows are Gregory Peck, Barbara Streisand, Sylvester Stallone, Sydney Poitier, Elizabeth Taylor, Whitney Houston, Berry Gordy, Sean Lennon, Yoko Ono, Liea Minnelli, Katherine, Joe, Rebbie & Janet.The tour ends after 123 concerts grossing over $125 millions!
David Gest’s autobiography, re: American Cinema Awards, January 30, 1989,
There was always a tension between Sophia and Elizabeth, I felt. They were both Hollywood sex symbols, two of the great beauties of all time. There was respect there, of course. Each respected the other for what they had accomplished. When I honoured Elizabeth at the American Cinema Awards, for instance, Sophia arrived arm in arm with Michael Jackson, which had made me smile a little. Michael was closer to Elizabeth than he was to Sophia.
Releases Leave Me Alone, February 13th, 1989
Elizabeth presents MJ with the Heritage Award and bestows MJ the title “King of Pop, Rock and Soul” on the Soul Train Awards, April 12, 1989
Elizabeth: Ladies and Gentlemen, the 1989 Heritage Award and Sammy Davis Jnr Award recipient and in my estimation, the true King of Pop Rock and Soul, Mr Michael Jackson.
Interview with Bob Paterson, choreographer for Smooth Criminal, May 3 1989
“I met Elizabeth Taylor through Michael,” says Paterson, speaking from his New York hotel room the other day. At the time, Paterson was working on Jackson’s Smooth Criminal video.
“He called me one night and said,” here Paterson adopts the high timbre softspoken tone of the Gloved One, “There’s someone I want you to meet. And she came down and I mean just everybody’s jaw dropped. She’s so beautiful. So I just sat down and talked to her for about half an hour. Just fantastic. And the fact is she does have purple eyes. She’s exquisite. Absolutely exquisite.”
Releases Liberian Girl, July 3rd 1989
Michael dedicates the song to Elizabeth Taylor.
Elizabeth Taylor by Ava Gardner, Good housekeeping, 1989
Elizabeth’s beauty doesn’t come from the shape of her face or nose or mouth or even those magnificent yes, it comes from an inner strength and energy that very few people are blessed with. Also, a goodness and kindness that very few people are privileged or bother to see in her. They see the facade but not the remarkable woman inside . I’ve known her since she was a teenager, and I really haven’t seen much change in the person herself except a growth in character. But she has always been the same person — true and real — and like all great beauties she becomes more so as she ages. She has had many battles to fight in her life and has won with dignity and humanity. I admire her, and especially love her, because of her great love for animals and Michael Jackson.
June 3, 1990
Michael collapses while dancing at the Hideout. He is taken to St John Hospital of Los Angeles where he is treated for chest pains.
He gets visits from the whole Jackson family (except LaToya) + Elizabeth Taylor who is treated in the same hospital.
Jackson Family Values, Margaret Maldonado, on her visiting him in hospital
Elizabeth Taylor was going to visit and Michael wanted some privacy. Jermaine made a wisecrack about Elizabeth and was quickly put in his place. “Don’t ever talk bad about Elizabeth Taylor to me, Jermaine,” Michael said softly. “She’s beautiful. The most beautiful woman I’ve ever met.” By this time Michael and Elizabeth were already well acquainted but their friendship would grow during this brief stay in the hospital. She came for visits several times a day and sometimes brought him violets, which stood in sweet contrast to the dozen black roses LaToya had delivered from London.
LaToya Jackson’s Autobiography, published October 1991
Other women, probably attracted to Michael’s relative innocence, approached him even more directly. But other women were simply friends, and he receieved many gifts from them, which he took as thoughtful tokens of their affection. One famous actress gave him a set of beautiful gray silk sheets monogrammed with her initials, ET. We thought they were so sumptuous and pretty: we never thought there was anything untoward about the gesture.
Elizabeth Gives Michael an Elephant “Gypsy”, Private Home Movies, 1991
PHM Title: THE BIG SURPRISE
(Clip of a helicopter landing on the ranch and Elizabeth coming out with two men, labelled 1991)
MJ: One day, I get this call from Elizabeth Taylor saying she wants to come to the ranch. She flew out in this helicopter.
(Man driving Elizabeth in a cart):
Man: How are you?
(Elizabeth leaving the cart and whispering loudly):
Elizabeth: Hi. Is Michael out in front?
MJ: I knew by the tone of her voice that something was up. But I had no idea how big the surprise was.
(The three walking an elephant in)
MJ: She came out with this huge elephant.
(Elizabeth patting the elephant, laughing and Michael walking out with his head in his hands):
MJ: It was unbelievable.
Michael: (hushed) Hi… its great… Elizabeth…
(Elizabeth holds out her arms to hug him)
Michael: That… it’s beautiful…
MJ: At first, I was kinda scared cos this thing is huge!
(Michael patting the truck from a distance, chewing gum)
MJ: Eventually, I got into it, feeding him carrots and stuff like that.
(Michael feeding the elephant)
Elizabeth: (inaudible)… I think that’s pretty good.
(Michael ducks away after feeding him)
Elizabeth: No, I can’t…
(Both feeding the elephant)
Man: Great stuff. Got a whole mouth….
Elizabeth: You seem like a garbage can!
Michael: Lift your foot.
Elizabeth: Look at your foot!
MJ: I love elephants. They’re gentle giants, really.
(Elizabeth laughing at something Michael said, who’s ducking his head, smiling)
MJ: Elizabeth was dressed like a gypsy. And that’s why we named the elephant Gypsy. It was one of the best presents that I’ve ever gotten. I was so happy that day. Was a wonderful experience.
And then Michael Gives Her a Tapestry of Her, Private Home Movies, 1991
(Scene of the door to a room in the house)
MJ: But what Elizabeth didn’t know, that I was planning a surprise for her, also.
(The door opens and Elizabeth gasps):
Elizabeth: Oh my God!
(Scene of a large tapestry of Elizabeth on the wall)
Elizabeth: That’s amazing! I love it! Oh, thank you! (kissing him).
Michael: You’re welcome.
Elizabeth: What is it made of? A carpet?
MJ: The gift that I gave Elizabeth, to me was very unique. It looks like a painting, but it isn’t.
Elizabeth: Wow! That’s incredible Michael.
Michael: I love that color.
MJ: It’s a tapestry. This guy did it piece by piece.
Michael: And I wrote something on the bottom.
Elizabeth: Oh! (checking the bottom).
Man: Elizabeth… I love you… Michael.
Elizabeth: Oh, I love it!
Michael: Do you have a place for it? Maybe, this seems like…
Elizabeth: Now I may have to build a house.
Michael: Hahaha! (ducks head, laughing).
MJ: I think it was a shot of one of her movies.
Elizabeth: I think it’s fabulous!
Michael: I saw that commercial you have er… its beautiful.
Elizabeth: Do you like it?
Michael: Awh… it’s incredible! (hushed).
Elizabeth: Well maybe you’ll see one of my films one of these days.
Michael: Ah haha! (laughs). I knew you were gonna say…
Elizabeth: Hahaha! (laughing).
Michael: I’m seeing Virginia Woolf.
Elizabeth: Well, congratulations!
Michael: I’m seeing it today actually.
Elizabeth: We have to explain the joke. The last film that Michael saw me in, he thought I was really wonderful in, was a film called White Chested Dover.
(Michael looking away, smiling shyly)
Elizabeth: And I was nine years old.
Michael: Heh! (laughs).
Elizabeth: Hmhmhm! (laughs and puts her hand on his shoulder). So he will see me as a grown up.
Michael: Yeah (nods and smiles shyly).
Elizabeth: He may never speak to me again!
Michael: Hahaha! (laughs).
Elizabeth: It’s amazing.
MJ: It wasn’t quite as big as Gypsy, heh… (laughs), but I think she liked my gift as much as I liked hers.
October 7, 1991
Elizabeth Taylor marries for the eighth time to Larry Fortensky at Neverland. Michael pays for everything and gives the bride away in the ceremony. Many celebrities attend the wedding which is almost interrupted by paparazzi.
Toronto Star, October 8 1991
I asked Michael Jackson if the whole procedure had gotten out of hand or was too much for him. He was his usual shy, soft spoken self, but said, “I would do anything for Elizabeth. I truly love her. We’re so much alike, you know.”
Newsday, October 8 1991
At the end of the evening I left Elizabeth Taylor, still in her wedding gown, dancing with her new husband and being cut in on by Michael Jackson. Everybody seemed happy, but the party ended early, by 10:30pm.
October 21, 1991
Michael, Elizabeth & Larry are on the cover of People and Hello magazine.
People Magazine, October 21, 1991
Never a Bridesmaid, Always a Bride, Liz Taylor Confounds the Skeptics and Marries Workingman Larry Fortensky
FIRST THINGS FIRST. NO, BUBBLES DID NOT CARRY the rings down the aisle.
In fact, as Michael Jackson escorted Elizabeth Taylor to the gardenia-bedecked gazebo where she would take Larry Fortensky as her seventh lawfully wedded husband, the singer’s beloved chimp was nowhere in sight. But what about his giraffe, which was also rumored to be in the wedding party? No. Did former Presidents Reagan and Ford show? No. (Both claimed other commitments.) Madonna? No. (She wasn’t invited.) What about the swan-shaped bridal boat? The hot-air-balloon rides? The antipaparazzi pits teeming with tarantulas? No, no, no!
There was, perhaps, no way the Oct. 6 Taylor-Fortensky union could have lived up to the prewedding buzz, which had hovered about Jackson’s 2,700-acre Santa Ynez Valley, Calif., estate almost palpably, like a swarm of overexcited honeybees. (When the ceremony started at 6:30 P.M.—1½ hours late—that buzz was replaced by the din of about a dozen helicopters hired by some media outlets to spy.) By the time the deeply bronzed bride bade good night in her pale-yellow, $25,000 gown (a gift from the designer Valentino), some of the chosen 160 on the guest list actually felt a tad let down. “People were filled with expectations that didn’t materialize,” reports one guest, who had thought Jackson would throw a wilder party. “Here’s the greatest showman in the world—you would expect some entertainment or glamour.”
Maybe. But Liz, 59, has gone for a solid, earthbound type in Larry, 39, a twice-divorced construction worker she met in 1988 when both were battling drug dependencies at the Betty Ford Center. And though their lifestyle includes cheeseburgers for lunch and a basketball hoop installed in the driveway of her Bel Air manse, there was plenty about their ceremony to remind the world of the bride’s celebrity status. At what other wedding reception could you find Twentieth Century Fox chief Barry Diller and his date, designer Diane Von Furstenberg, bouncing on a trampoline, while Valentino and Roiling Stone editor and publisher Jann Wenner romped in Jackson’s private amusement park?
For that matter, how many other weddings are guarded by a former Israeli army officer (Moshe Alon) and backed by a 100-man security force? Even then, things sometimes got out of hand. The guards could do nothing to stop a parachuting photographer from landing 20 feet from the gazebo during the ceremony. Nor could they prevent Barbara Davis (wife of billionaire Marvin) from disregarding Taylor’s written injunction against women wearing black. (Yellow was also taboo, because it would match the bride.)
Earlier in the week, as wedding guests gathered in Los Olivos (pop. 250), six miles from Jackson’s Never-land Valley ranch, the usually blasé locals (residents Bo Derek, Cheryl Ladd and Steven Seagal seldom attract much attention) camped out-at Clausen’s Old-Fashioned Deli to monitor the Grand Hotel across the street. Foiled in their attempts to catch any celebs entering the hotel for the post-rehearsal barbecue, frustrated stargazers began chanting “We want Liz!” and tried to sneak into the building. Bystanders were soon joking that Clausen’s had come up with a recipe for a Liz and Larry special: lettuce alone.
But uninvited guests would continue to toss in unwelcome ingredients. As best man Jose Eber, Taylor’s hair-stylist, and matron of honor Norma Heyman, a longtime Taylor friend, took their places and watched Elizabeth take her eighth bridal walk, on the arms of a two-black-gloved Jackson and her eldest son, Michael Wilding Jr., 38, the helicopter racket crescendoed, drowning out renowned soprano Aprile Millo’s “Ave Maria” and alarming the guests. According to Fess (Daniel Boone) Parker, a Jackson neighbor, “Frankly, some pretty stalwart men of the screen felt nervous.”
To those looking on, the words uttered by the couple and Hollywood self-help guru Marianne Williamson, who presided over the nondenominational ceremony (Liz is Jewish; Larry is Protestant), were mostly inaudible. “But you could just look in their eyes,” says Von Furstenberg, “and tell Liz was very happy.” Ignoring all distractions, Taylor and Fortensky exchanged vows and rings (his is plain gold; hers is set with pavé diamonds). After they kissed, Taylor placed a loving hand on her new husband’s cheek.
As dusk fell, the two moved down a tree-lined candlelit walkway to the reception tent. Taylor took Fortensky’s hand for the first dance, during which Michael Jackson and his date, Brooke Shields, cut in. Afterward, Taylor raised a glass of mineral water to her host, who reportedly paid for much of the estimated $1.5 million event. “You’ve been so generous, it makes me want to cry,” she said. “I’ll never forget it as long as I live.”
Despite the free-flowing Dom Perignon, chardonnay from Fess Parker’s nearby winery, platters of rolled salmon and five tiers of chocolate-mousse cake, a few tongues still found time to wag. Many clucked about the absence of Ronald Reagan—especially since Taylor had moved the wedding ahead a day to accommodate him.
The presence of the Fortensky clan, who declined limo service and arrived in their own cars, caused whispers among those curious about Taylor’s new in-laws. Still, the groom’s family felt comfortable with the glamorous folk from Hollywood and points east. “I thought they would be snobby,” says Larry’s stepsister Wendy Lacy, a teacher’s aide from Modesto, Calif., “but not at all.” The family was touched when Liz’s assistant, Jorjett Strumme, toasted Taylor’s mother, Sara, and Larry’s grandmother Mary McGill and then mentioned how unfortunate it was that Larry’s mother, Dot Lacy, had died in August and could not be present. “It was really, really nice of her,” says Larry’s sister Linda Mitchell, who works in a brewery in Irwindale, Calif.
At about 10:30 P.M., the newlyweds sauntered off to Jackson’s ranch house, where they spent several nights before a scheduled two-day tour to promote Taylor’s new White Diamonds perfume—after which they were to honeymoon in a secret location. As the party ended, there was endless musing about the couple’s future. Syndicated newspaper columnist and veteran Taylor watcher Liz Smith, the only journalist invited to report on the wedding, was optimistic and found nothing incongruous about the star beginning life with a man whose background could hardly be more remote from her own. “It will be fun for her,” says Smith. “After all, Elizabeth is no snob. Under the high gloss of her facade, she is really an ordinary woman who has led an extraordinary life.”
So it is fitting that Taylor found love again at an extraordinary place—Betty Ford—with a man who has seen her at her most human and vulnerable and whom she has seen at his. According to Williamson, who counseled the couple before the wedding, “There is obviously a very deep place within them where they connect and share a lot of love.”
JEANNIE PARK, with bureau reports from Los Olivos and Los Angeles
Larry Fortensky and his sister Donna on the wedding, Daily Mail, 24th April 2011
He pulls out a photograph of their wedding day in 1991 at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Taylor’s friend, singer Carole Bayer Sager, was maid of honour, her hairdresser Jose Eber was Larry’s best man.
He shrugs as he says: ‘She wanted to do it. I didn’t get involved at all. I just had to turn up.’
Cracking open a beer, he adds: ‘I don’t remember the vows. I couldn’t hear a damn thing because of the paparazzi helicopters overhead. One photographer parachuted in but security got him before he could get me.
‘Michael Jackson spent the night on the dance floor with a small black kid under his arm. She loved Michael. She never believed any of the child-abuse rumours. I wasn’t so sure.’
The illustrious guest list included Liza Minnelli, Eddie Murphy, Gregory Peck and Nancy Reagan.
Fortensky, the eldest of seven children from working-class Stanton, California, invited only his siblings.
Donna says: ‘I hit the bar, then the dance floor and remember dancing next to Brooke Shields and Michael Jackson. It was unreal.
Elizabeth and Larry in Life magazine, Volume 15, 1992
Elizabeth:Michael Jackson gave us our wedding. Michael and I love each other like a brother and sister.The press depicts him as a weirdo. They couldn’t be more wrong. He’s a paradox. A brilliant businessman — and a beautiful pure soul, instinctive and unscathed. A dreamer who makes things happen. We were married on his estate, a magical place. But the media did their best to ruin the day. The security people flew huge balloons over the whole area. They were attached to the ground by wires, so the choppers couldn’t zoom in to get pictures . But when the service began, there were 22 helicopters overhead.
Larry:The noise was unbelievable.
Elizabeth:I said, “Those sons of bitches! Then I said, “The hell with ‘em! They can’t touch us. This is our day.”
Larry:It was scary. The pilots were taking terrible chances, trying to pierce the balloon barrage.
Elizabeth: They could have crashed on us all. Killed 200 people. At the height of the ceremony a photographer parachuted into the crowd and almost hit Gregory Peck. But those guys didn’t get one good photograph. Herb Ritts took the wedding pictures, which were sold all over the world
Elizabeth Taylor Introduction, MJ’s Dancing the Dream book, 1992
“When I hear the name Michael Jackson, I think of brilliance, of dazzling stars, lasers and deep emotions. I adore Michael Jackson. I think he is one of the world’s biggest and greatest stars, and it just so happens that he’s one of the most gifted music makers the world has ever known.
What makes Michael more unique may be the fact that all of his accomplishments, his rewards, have not altered his sensitivity and concern for the welfare of others, or his intense caring and love for his family and friends, and especially all the children the world over.
I think Michael is the litmus paper. He is always trying to learn. He is so intelligent and he is alarmingly bright. He is also very curious and wants to draw from people who have survived.
People who have lasted. He’s not really of this planet.
He is filled with deep emotions that create an unearthly, special, innocent, childlike, wise man that is Michael Jackson. I think Michael appeals to the child in all of us, and I think he has the quality of innocence that we would all like to obtain or to have kept.
He has one of the sharpest wits, he’s intelligent and he’s cunning – that is a strange word to use about him, because it implies deviousness and he is one o the least devious people I have ever met in my life – he is honesty personified – painfully honest – and vulnerable to the point of pain.
He is so giving of himself that, at times, he leaves very little to protect the beautiful inner core that is the essence of him. That is the thing that I love so much about him and that makes the world identify with him in the way it does.
Michael Jackson is, indeed, an international favourite for all ages, an incredible force of incredible energy. In the art of music, he is a pacesetter for quality of production, in the vanguard for high standards of entertainment. What is a genius? what is a living legend? What is a megastar? Michael Jackson, that’s all.
And just when you think you know him, he gives you more. . .
I think he is one of the finest people to this planet, and, in my estimation, he’s the true King of Pop, Rock and Soul.”
Glenda Transcript 2:1, Sometime 1992
MJ: To tell you honestly what Elizabeth and I talked about…She got so effed up (I)[behind?] hurt and about being a child star…and I was so screwed up and whatever you want to call it [behind me?]… I swear to you (I) ’cause I do hide.
Daily Express, June 13th 1992
Glamous gran Liz Taylor kept a late night TV audience in stiches with her saucy hints on an active sex life for the over 60s.
La Liz flirted outrageuusly with chat show host Arsenio Hall, giving risque replies to questions about her life with hunky hubby Larry Fortensky.
“Now you have everything?” Arsenio queried. “A girl can always have more,” Liz purred.
Asked what was so special about the 39 year old trucker, Liz answered with a twinkle inher eye: “That’s for me to know and you to find out.”
Liz, wearing a huge diamond ring, a gift from Richard Burton, described Larry as her “best friend” and said he was never jealous of her close friendship with Michael Jackson because he often spent time with them both. She loved to ride on the back of Larry’s Harley Davidson motorcycle, her Christmas gift to him.
Bodyguard for Dangerous World Tour (Bravo Magazine 1993), in Belgium, DWT 22 July 1992,
He was always very excited when there were some of his friends in the audience. In Brussels, Liz Taylor showed up. He passed the crowd and came right in front of her on the stage. After the show in the hotel they talked together untill midnite.
Celebrates Christmas with Elizabeth, Early January, 1993
Back from Japan, Michael celebrates his first Christmas at Neverland with Elizabeth Taylor & her husband Larry Fortensky.
MICHAEL’S FIRST CHRISTMAS
MJ: I’ve met a lot of people in my life and very few are real, real, real friends. You could probably count them on one hand. And Elizabeth is one of the most loyal, loving, caring people that I know.
(Clip of the Neverland gardens and house plays to Christmas music)
MJ: She decided to transform Neverland into its first Christmas because I, I don’t celebrate Christmas.
Elizabeth: It is 1993 and this will be Michael Jackson’s very first Christmas. It has taken me, I would think, about five years of talking him into celebrating Christmas at Neverland because I understood that if you were raised a Jehovah’s Witness, they don’t celebrate Christmas.
(Scene of Elizabeth decorating the house)
Elizabeth: When he quit being a Jehovah’s Witness, I said to Michael, I think Christmas is a wonderful way of celebrating love. It’s a celebration of love. And I can’t see Christmas without Michael and Michael without Christmas.
(to cameraman) Its pretty isn’t it?
MJ: I had no idea she was planning this. This was, er, a real surprise.
Elizabeth: (approaching room) Michael?
MJ: That’s my bedroom that she’s coming to now.
Elizabeth: Michael? It’s the spirit of Christmas, come to haunt you!
MJ: I’m not usually awake up.
Elizabeth: …by the sight of my little dog.
MJ: She know I don’t like that dog cos, because I’m afraid of dogs. They’re little, but they bite.
Elizabeth: Morning, sweetie (kissing him). Come on. Welcome to your first Christmas.
(Elizabeth walks Michael out into the room)
Michael: (gasps) Oh my God. Its incredible heh… (laughs). I can’t believe this hahaha… (laughing). This is the first time!
Elizabeth: I know!
MJ: Heh… (laughs), she decorated the entire house.
(Michael looks at the room and touches the tree, approaching the presents)
Elizabeth: That’s yours!
Michael: Santa came?
Elizabeth: Santa from Bel Air! (cackles).
Michael: Santa from Bel Air! Heh… (laughs). Can I open it?
MJ: At the same time, it was exciting, I felt guilty too at the same time. I remember going to the bathroom crying, later…
(Michael touches the presents and looks at the small dog)
MJ: …because I felt I’d done something wrong, cos I was raised not to ever celebrate it.
(Michael opens a present, which turns out to be a red sweater)
Michael: Oooh! I love it!
Cameraman: Are you gonna put it on?
Michael: Yes! I’m putting it on right now! (pulling it on).
Elizabeth: (to cameraman) Are you realizing you’re photographing me without any makeup on? (smiles).
Michael: (opening present) Love it! Supersoaker! (holds it up, making a fist at the camera). Now I know how to wake up Elizabeth tomorrow!
(Michael and the cameraman start laughing)
Elizabeth: Oh! God!
Michael: You’re gonna like it, don’t worry!
Elizabeth: You’re gonna shoot me!
Michael: (opening another present) This is a supersoaker. I can feel it and tell! Hahaha! (laughs).
(Both laugh madly, while Elizabeth starts playfully hitting Michael)
Michael: (laughing) Ouch! Ouch! Hahaha!
(Michael stands up and Elizabeth grabs a present off him)
Elizabeth: I want a squirt gun! I want a squirt machine gun!
Michael: (taking present back) She’s snatching presents!
(to Elizabeth) May I have this one? It’s for you, but can I have it?
Elizabeth: (smiling) Yes.
Michael: Thank you.
Elizabeth: What it is?
Michael: It’s a water gun (laughing).
Michael: A water gun!
Cameraman: How do you know it’s a water gun?
Michael: Cos I see it… (laughing) right… (points to top of box).
Michael: (laughing) Water gun!
Elizabeth: That’s not fair!
Michael: This is a supersoaker! (holds up another present).
Cameraman: Thank you.
Michael: Thank you! You’re too kind! (laughs).
(Elizabeth opens a present)
Elizabeth: Hahhhhhhhhh! (screaming madly).
Michael: Ohhhhhhh! (laughing). Look at her!
Elizabeth: Supersoaker! Yeah!
MJ: If you’re wondering why I love supersoakers so much, it’s because if you come to Neverland, it’s a rule that you are bound to get wet. Either be thrown in the pool, or you have a water balloon fight or a supersoaker fight. And… (smiles) I love all of the above.
AMA Awards, January 25, 1993
Michael opens the American Music Awards ceremony held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles with a performance of Dangerous. He also receives three awards including the first ever International Artist Award presented by Elizabeth Taylor & Eddie Murphy.
Elizabeth Taylor, Oprah Pre Show Interview, 10th February 1993
O: First up is the living legend who just happens to be one of Michael’s closest friends. She even got married at his estate. Elizabeth Taylor joins us on the phone. Hi Liz.
ET: Hi Oprah.
O: Great to have you talk to us about Michael. You probably know him I think, better than anybody, would you say?
ET: Well, we’re so close we’re like, uh, soul brother and sister. We’re like, joined at the hip. I could tell Michael anything and know that it would be private and confidential and stay with him forever and I know he feels the same way about me.
ET: Oh by the way Oprah…
ET: … I would love to be there when you’re filming, to hold Michael’s hand and hold your hand. And I want to see you do the Michael Jackson thang.
O: (laugh) Well, I look forward to you being there, I look forward to seeing you there tonight. ‘Cause Michael Jackson has said from the beginning that he wanted you to be there, not necessarily to be interviewed, but just to be there for support for him. Do you think this is good that he’s doing this tonight?
ET: Well, I do, and I’m one of the people who talked him into doing this.
O: Yeah, he told me.
ET: I trust you and I know that there’s such a vulnerability and sensitivity about Michael that people don’t understand that… he can be very hurt by the press.
O: Why do you think that he is so misunderstood?
ET: Because he doesn’t try and explain himself. He just lets things ride, he doesn’t fight it.
O: Do you think Elizabeth, that you are such close friends because you have had similar missed childhoods growing up in the eyes of the public?
ET: Oh I think that has a great deal to do with it. Being child stars, missing out on all the normal things that people growing up go through.
O: What is it that you want the world to know most about him?
ET: What a good man he is. How generous he is, how real and dear he is… all the garbage written about that makes me so angry. But I did think that it was time for him to set some things straight, on the record.
O: Well that’s what we intend to do tonight, is to set some things straight. And I’ll see you tonight.
ET: Okay, that’s great, looking forward to seeing you.
Oprah Interview, February 10, 1993
Oprah: Liz Taylor said you were king of pop, rock and soul. Where did this notion that you proclaimed yourself king of pop come from?
Michael: Well I didn’t proclaim myself to be anything, I’m happy to be alive, I’m happy to be who I am. King of pop was first said by Elizabeth Taylor on one of the award shows. (the clip of Elizabeth from 1989 saying this is shown)
Oprah: And that’s where this all started?
Michael: Yes…and the fans…all the stadiums that we played at they’d bring banners saying king of pop and they chanted outside my hotel king of…so it became something that just happened all over the world.
Oprah: I heard too, this was another one of those rumors, that you had proposed to Elizabeth Taylor at some point.
Michael: Elizabeth Taylor is gorgeous, beautiful, and she still is today, I’m crazy about her.
Oprah: Yeah, but did you propose to her?
Michael: I would like to have.
Oprah: Well, Elizabeth Taylor is here. Liz? Can we bring Liz out now? Liz had said she wanted to be here and hold your hand through this. You don’t look like you need your hand held. Elizabeth Taylor!
Michael: Hi Elizabeth.
Oprah: Have a seat.
Elizabeth: Thank you.
Oprah: Did Michael ever propose to you?
Elizabeth: No! And I never proposed to him.
Oprah: Never did! What do you think is most misunderstood about Michael Jackson?
Elizabeth: All the things you mentioned. He is the least weird man I have ever known. He is highly intelligent, shrewd, intuitive, understanding, sympathetic, generous – to almost a fault, of himself.
Oprah: Uh huh.
Elizabeth: Uh, and he just, if, if he has any eccentricities it’s that he is like larger than life and some people just cannot accept that or face it or understand it. His talent on stage, why I call him the king of pop, rock, soul, music, enetertainment, whatever…
Elizabeth: …there’s nobody that can come near him. Nobody can dance like that, write the lyrics like that, the music, uh, cause the kind of excitement he does.
Oprah: And why do you think you all are such good friends? What has brought about this kind of bond? Because people try to make this weird.
Elizabeth: Well it’s not. I mean our childhoods are very similiar, and we had that from the very beginning in common. Um, I was a child star at nine, had an abusive father, um, and that kind of brought us together in the very beginning.
Oprah: And what is it, I am going to ask Michael this question later on, but what is it you most want the world to know about him?
Elizabeth: What a wonderful, giving, caring, generous man he is, and how good he is.
Oprah: And he’s funny too.
Elizabeth: Oh, he’s wildly funny.
Oprah: He can crack some jokes, I tell you.
Elizabeth: Yes, but he is a good man.
Oprah: When we come back – Thank you for joining us too –
Elizabeth: That’s fine.
Oprah: Cause I know you did not want to be on camera at first, but thank you
February 26, 1993
Michael is on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. He talks about Elizabeth Taylor in a video for the Arts & Entertainment Network.
Toledo Blade, 1 March 1993
A motto for the Michael Jackson/Elizabeth Taylor friendship is “one good turns deserves another.” Recently, Miss Liz, though still suffering the effects of a long illness, appeared on TV twice for Jackson. At the American Music Awards, handing him a prize, and on Oprah Winfrey’s live interview, as a sort of “character witness.” Taylor performed these favors though she wasn’t at her best. (Three months in bed is no beauty treatment!) So now it’s payback time – though I’m sure neither Michael nor Elizabeth would put it so crassly.
Friday, Jackson was to tape an interview for the Arts and Entertainment network’s coming documentary about Elizabeth, part of its acclaimed biography series. This is quite a spectacular coup – Michael doesn’t go around giving testimonials to just anyone. He’s more used to accepting such tributes (He probably said ET is “the least weird woman I’ve ever known” – or praise to that effect.
March 11, 1993
Walking on churches, Michael attends an American Film Industry dinner in honour of Elizabeth Taylor at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles .
Michael and Elizabeth meet with Nelson Mandela, July 9th 1993
Nelsona Mandela, during a visit to LA, lights a candle on his birthday cake at a surprise 75th birthday part celebration sponsored by Sony Pictures in Culver City. The South African anti apartheid leader had a busy day Friday. In the afternoon, he met with pop superstar Michael Jackson, who brought along another Hollywood icon, Elizabeth Taylor.
Michael visits Elizabeth on the set of the Flintstones, July 1993,
A: There was no pressure on her. She didn’t have to carry the film. She had a really good time. She made an enduring friendship with Rosie O’Donnell (who portrayed Betty Rubble). One day Michael Jackson showed up on set. The Henson puppeteers brought lot of the characters to life for him. He really dug that. He and Elizabeth went on the Universal Studio Tour and went on a couple of the rides.
August 25, 1993
Michael’s second concert in Bangkok is rescheduled to august 26 because Michael is suffering from acute dehydration
Elizabeth Taylor flies to to be with Michael.
Variety, Aug 30, 1993
Actress Taylor became the first Jackson confidant to publicly support the singer. A Newsweek magazine interview in this week’s issue quoted Taylor as saying: “I totally believe 100% in Michael’s integrity. He’d rather cut his own wrist than harm a child. He worships children.”
Daily News, 30 August 1993
Taylor expressed concern about the allegations against Jackson. “Michael is one of my best friends in the whole world and I can’t think of any worse thing that a human being could go through than what he’s going through now,” she said. “You can imagine how he feels. How would you feel if you had these allegations against you. He’s a very sensitive, very vulnerable, very shy person.”
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 31 Aug 1993
“You can imagine how he feels,” said actress Elizabeth Taylor. “How would you feel if you had these allegations against you?” The actress arrived in Singapore during the weekend to comfort Jackson and help him during his 35th birthday on Sunday.
“He’s a very sensitive, very vulnerable, very shy person,” she said on the syndicated TV show, A Current Affair. “I believe totally that Michael will be vindicated.”
Gadsden Times – 1 Sep 1993
Considering Elizabeth Taylor’s precarious health, her insistence on joining Michael Jackson in Singapore was a bit foolhardy, but so typical of her 100 percent devotion to those she loves. Her doctors looked askance at the 20 hour flight to Asia, but Miz Liz would have thad to be physically restrained from going to her friend’s side.
September 3, 1993
Michael arrives in Taipei with Elizabeth Taylor.
The Spokesman Review, Taiwan Concert, September 4, 1993
Actress Elizabeth Taylor and her husband, Larry Fortensky, also attended Saturday’s concert.
September 27-October 6, 1993
At Elizabeth's Chalet
Following the cancellation of the South African concerts due to continued violence there, Michael takes a break and goes to Switzeland with the Cascio family.
They stay at Elizabeth Taylor’s chalet in Gstaad for several days and then visit Geneva.
Baltimore Afro American, 9 Oct 1993
Michael resumed his worldwide “Dangerous” tour Friday in South America after a respite in the Swiss chalet of his friend Elizabeth Taylor. “He’s having a wonderful time,” said Lee Solters, Jackson’s publicist in LA.
November 9, 1993
Elizabeth Taylor & Larry Fortensky fly to to join Michael.
Michael Jackson’s Stay in Rehab, By Robert McGibbon, November 12, 1993
It was nearly 1am on a cold November night and the runway at Luton airport was deserted. A private Jet just landed and taxied to a secluded spot near the perimeter fence. Two rented minibuses, their windows blocked out with white sheets, drove to the tail section where a narrow stairway was being lowered. Driving the first van was bodygaurd Steve Tarling with one thing on his mind- to get Michael Jackson off the jet as quickly and as secretly as possible. Custom and Immigration officers boared the plane to check documents and Steve moved in. Nothing could have prepared him for the shock of seeing Michael Jackson.
He says: He was sitting alone and appeared to be asleep, a red tartan blanket was wrapped over his legs and a Black Trilby was tilted over his eyes. He was wearing a Black shirt with a big Red collar and a big Black cardigan with a belt around the waist. He had on Black Loafers which were really scruffy.
Elizabeth Taylor, her husband Larry Fortensky and Jackson personal Doctor David forcast were trying to tell him to get up. Taylor shook him awake and said: “Michael, you have to get off now.” He was completely out of it, he was so drugged up he looked like a zombie. He just looked like a lost soul.
I wanted to get him off immediately, because the longer we stayed the more vulnerable we were. It was pandemonium on the plane, security men and and airport ground staff were unloading baggage but Jackson was oblivious to it all.
Taylor had two dogs she wanted to take with her. It was impossible because of quarantine laws but she still asked me to smuggle them off. I said no way, so she told Larry to stay on the plane with them. He looked fed-up that he was being told what to do, while Jackson was getting all the attention.
The original plan was for Larry and Liz to stay on the plane and fly to Switzerland to throw the media off the scent. But Liz insisted on staying with Jackson until he got to the clinic. But when Jackson tried to get up his legs collapsed and I had to hold him up. It was like he had druck two bottles og scotch and was so paralytic he couldn’t co-ordinate. It was a sad sight. I held on to him and someone pulled the blanket up over his shoulders and covered his face with his hat.
As Steve laid Jackson in the first bus, another security gaurd pulled off an amazing decoy stunt, hidden in the second bus was a look-a-like wearing exactly the same clothes.
As the singer was carried off, the lookalike was smuggled on to the plane and curled up on his seat pretending to be asleep. The decoy worked and as far as the passport control were concerned, Jackson had never left the plane.
The lookalike and Fortensky were to wait for Elizabeth to return then fly to switzeland as if the stop to Luton had only been to refuel.
Steve says: Beechy was laying down the rules of which Jackson would have to follow, he told him he would have to make his own bed, wash his clothes, and generally do everything for himself. Jackson was mumbling his answers and kept saying he wanted to use the phone, Beechy said this was not allowed. He told Jackson he would have to earn his phonecalls.
Suddenly Jackson said very calmly and coherently, “excuse me, can you turn this bus around and take me back? If I can’t use the phone, I’m calling the whole thing off.”
It made everyone realize that he wasn’t such a spaced out idiot at all. Beechy had to comprimise and said he would allow him to make two calls. Taylor was in the bus and got angry when she realised Steve had changed the plan. Earlier in the day he had checked out the Charter Nightingale Clinic in Marylebone, Central London, only to find photogaraphers staking it out. He felt it was too risky to go there and had fixed up a stay at the 2million home of Joh Reid, Elton John’s manager in Hertfordshire. Steve says: Taylor wasn’t happy. She said, “This is bullshit,” and started asking about my credentials. As I drove around a round-about she screamed out hysterically, appaently the move had hurt her back.
Within an hour, Taylor insisted Jackson was taken to the clinic. She felt he would react better to treatment in a hospital environment and the Doctors agreed.Taylor returned to the plane which flew to Switzerland as other decoy stories to confuse the press were released in Europe and the U.S. Some papers reported Michael had been in a clinic in the French Alps.
Steve found it easy to smuggle Jackson into the clinic. He arrived at around 5am and the few photographers still there were asleep in their cars. He drive through the rear entrance and took Jackson to the top floor which was sealed off; But the singer locked himself in his room and refused to come out. Steve say: He turned up his radio, the whole building seemed bare and uncomfortable, I knew he wouldn’t put up with it for long and I was right. I left one of Elizabeth Taylor’s bodygaurds in charge while me and one of my ground men checked the ground floor. We went down stairs when the receptionist rang up saying “Quick, Michael Jackson’s trying to escape!”
Near the end of Jackson’s first week his business advisors made a panic-riden call to the star. They were scared stiff that public opinion was turning against him and that everyone thought he was hiding out to avoid charges brought by Jordy Chandler. They insisted that Jackson should be filmed at the house undergoing therapy to prove that he was sick and need treatment.
“They were really uptight and paranoid. They called the house and started bullying everyone around….but the deal was for me and Elizabeth Taylor’s security man to to look after him, Liz wanted Jackson totally away from his people to give him a chance of recovering. Things started getting very confused when his people flew over on the tenth day and wanted to take him to another house. Liz’s bodyguard didn’t want them to take him and started talking about hiding Jackson in a cupboard when they arrived. It was farcical trying to hide him from his own people, in the end I was told they were taking over.
Michael Jackson’s statement, Sarasota Herald Tribune, 13 Nov, 1993
He credited actress Elizabeth Taylor with giving him the advice he needed to cancel the tour.
Taylor says she helped Jackson get treatment, Tuscaloosa News, 19 November, 1993
Breaking a week’s silence on her role in the mystery flight of singing star Michael Jackson from Mexico to an undisclosed European location, Elizabeth Tayor said Friday she had helped her friend find private treatment for prescription drug addiction because “Michael was in desperate need of specialized medical attention.”
The actress, dedicated a medical building named in her honor at the Washington AIDs clinic, cited “respect for his privacy” and “my concern for his health” in maintaining her refusal to disclose where Jackson has been secluded since they left Mexico City together on a chartered jet Nov 12.
Taylor Friday backed Jackson’s story of drug addiction. At the request of Jackson’s doctor, she said, “I travelled to Mexico City, where I saw for myself that Michael was in desperate need of specialized medical attention. Because of my own experience with addiction to prescription medicines, I was able to make a number of calls in search of the best and most appropriate treatment for Michael, and he is now undergoing such treatment in Europe.”
She declined to comment on Jackson’s legal troubles beyond declaring, “I am a friend of Michael Jackson’s… I love him like a son and I support him with all my heart.”
The Dispatcher, 20 Nov, 1993
Elizabeth Taylor says her former addiction to prescription drugs was useful in getting pop star Michael Jackson into the best treatment for his problem.
Jackson is recovering from addiction to painkillers in a treatment program in Europe, Taylor said.
“I have suffered and dealt with the same kind of medical problems now afflicting my friend Michael Jackson,” the actress said during a dedication ceremony for a new AIDs clinic. “Because of that and because of our friendship, when Michael’s doctor called to ask if I would help, I was glad to intervene.”
Tucaloosa News, 20 Nov, 1993
Taylor said she wouldn’t reveal Jackson’s exact whereabouts out of respect for his privacy.
“Because of my regard for him and my concern for his health, I will continue to be silent on these matters,” she said.
Liz Smith, Sarasota Herald Tribune, 22 November 1993
There has been some question of Elizabeth’s reputation being harmed by her steadfast loyalty to Michael. But this movie queen-turned-AIDS-crusador-and-perfume mogul occupies an untouchable position in the celebrity pantheon. Her strenuous efforts on behalf of Jackson – putting her own fragile health in peril – have only solidified her current, very positive, loyal public image.
21 December, 1993
With most of Michael Jackson’s friends silent and his career at a standstill, the crisis surrounding the pop superstar took an unexpected turn today with the disclosure that his longtime lawyer and private investigator had quit.
Except for Elizabeth Taylor, a friend of Mr. Jackson’s, most of his business and personal associates have remained publicly silent about the accusations he faces.
It was the tension, turmoil and divisions within the Jackson camp that led Mr. Fields to resign, associates said. His tasks are expected to be taken over by two well-known lawyers who have worked with Mr. Jackson, Howard Weitzman and Johnnie Cochran Jr. Moreover, Ms. Taylor’s lawyer, Neil Papiano, has also been brought in to monitor the case.
Liz Taylor Vows Support For Jackson, New Straights Times, 29th January 1994
Elizabeth Taylor, a long time friend of Michal Jackson, said yesterday she remained convinced of the pop star’s innocence after his settlement of a lawsuit filed be a boy accusing him of sexual molestation.
The movie star, who once called Jackson, “one of the least weird people I know,” welcomed the resolution of the case, saying continuation of it “would have been one of the most tragic public spectacles ever, with everyone losing.”
“Thank God this case is being dismissed,” Taylor said in a written statement. “As one of Michael’s closest friends, who is convinced of his innocence, I agonized over the daily avalanche of lies, innuendos and slurs.”
“Michael’s love of children is one of the purest things I have ever seen,” she said. “It shines like an extra sun and I know he would no sooner harm a child in any way than take his own life.”
February 7, 1994
They did not even know if Garcetti was issuing an arrest warrant for Jackson. The savviest legal and personal adviser was actress Elizabeth Taylor, whose own lawyer told her, “Cochran is the only man for the job.”
February 19, 1994
The whole Jackson family (except LaToya) is reunited at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas to rehearse & tape The Jackson Family Honors TV Special which os broadcast a few days later in the whole world. Michael does not perform but he present two lifetime achievement awards to Berry Gordy & Elizabeth Taylor.
Where’s Michael Jackson’s bride?, USA TODAY, Jul 14, 1994
“The whole world is calling me” says, Chen Sam Elizabeth Taylor’s publicist. “I dont know why they think I know about Michael Jackson’s marriage. Taylor has mentioned nothing about a marriage,” Sam says.
News of his marriage to LMP, People, July 25 1994
In New York City, Liz Taylor’s publicist Chen Sam read the headlines and phoned her boss to ask, in jest, if Liz had served as the maid of honor. (Taylor said she hadn’t heard a word from her very close friend in three weeks.)
Brett Livingstone Strong, National Enquirer 1994
“Michael talked about killing himself but Lisa Marie and his dear friend Elizabeth Taylor talked him out of it,” said Strong.
“They spent days at his Neverland Valley ranch, trying to boost his spirits. Later Michael admitted, ‘I don’t think I’d be here now if it weren’t for Lisa Marie and Elizabeth. They saved my life.’”
Diane Sawyer Prime Time Interview, June 14, 1995
Diane Sawyer: When we come back Elizabeth Taylor talked to us a little bit about what she saw when she went over… and talked to you in the middle of this, and helped you get treatment for…
Michael: Oh wow…
Diane: …addiction to painkillers.
Michael: … Elizabeth is on the show.
Diane: When we come back.
Diane: As we said Elizabeth Taylor is going to talk a bit about when she came over to see you in the middle of this, what she called agony. And one of the things she was so… I think she was so angry with us, was that she said that people always talk about… one side of a person, they never give them credit for their accomplishments.
Michael: That’s right.
Diane: Particularly what they give to children and the money you give to children… that’s how it starts.
Elizabeth: When he’s on tour he goes to hospitals without the press following him. Without anyone knowing. He’ll get up in a disguise and do it. Take his disguise off when he’s there and kids know, “Wow! It’s Michael Jackson.”
Diane: Was there no point at which you said to yourself… reading everything everybody had been reading… “maybe this is true, maybe I completely didn’t understand who he was.”
Elizabeth: No way. Absolutely not.
Elizabeth: Never. I know Michael’s heart. I know his mind and his soul. I’m… not that insensitive. Especially to him, or people I love.
Diane: How did you decide to go to Singapore?
Elizabeth: He was my friend. He was alone. He was totally alone. And he just… he needed help. Nothing in the world could have hurt him more. If it had been calculated. If they’d planned an assassination, they couldn’t have done it better. It almost… it almost broke his heart.
Diane: (voice over) She said she recognzied a friend turning to painkillers for escape.
Elizabeth: He wasn’t aware of what was happening. He was dulling his pain. But, it really frightened me because I have been there and I know how easy it is to get there when you’re in mental or physical pain.
Diane: And… he knew right away he had to… deal with it, to…
Elizabeth: Not right away. Not right away… but he knew.
Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Walters, 1997
In a 1997 interview with Walters, Taylor said, “One of the reasons I think Michael Jackson and I are so close [is] because neither one of us had a childhood, and we can relate to that and wonder at how we got by.”
Michael performs “Elizbeth I Love You,” Elizabeth’s 65th birthday, February 16, 1997
Michael attends a gala to celebrate Elizabeth Taylor’s 65th birthday in Los Angeles . For the occasion he performs a song that he just recorded in Montreux called Elizabeth I Love You and gets a standing ovation by the galaxy of stars attending the event.
MJ, The Mirror, 12 April 1999
How does Michael Jackson unwind I wondered? His answer was astonishing.
“Well, I’ve stopped being such a recluse now. My friend Elizabeth Taylor has got me out,” he says.
“Every Thursday we go to the movies together. She is Godmother to my son Prince and we get on so well. I said I could get Warner Brothers to put aside a studio just for us every week to watch films in private, but she forces me out. She’s the only person who can get me out in public.
“We walk in, sit down, watch our film and walk out. And every time we leave the audience all stand up and applaud us. It’s funny. The last one we saw was Patch Adams which we loved. It was so touching, it made me cry.
“It’s a true story about a man who takes the time to make children happy. That’s what I’d like to be considered as.”
Visitor To Neverland, Talk Magazine, April 26, 1999
“I am a woman who enjoys herself very much; sometimes I lose, sometimes I win.” So said Mata Hari in front of the firing squad.
“WHO WAS that beauty with the shock of white hair, wandering around Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, communing with nature and petting baby tigers, giraffes and other animals?
But, of course, it was our friend, Miss Elizabeth Taylor, posing for photographer Michel Compte. It’s been a long time since “National Velvet” and Lassie Come Home,” but Elizabeth still has a way with creatures. These shots of Taylor a la Dr. Dolittle will be used to accompany an interview she’s done for Tina Brown’s much anticipated Talk Magazine. Elizabeth reportedly looked soft and natural – dressed in flowing linens and khaki pants and Eastern caftan type things. In keeping with the bucolic setting, her maquillage was also natural. [But that’s been her way for a while. When one meets Elizabeth these days, her freckles are most charmingly visible.]”
Michael and Elizabeth Taylor speak about their close friendship in Talk magazine, Paul Theroux, September 9, 1999 (an addendum to the original, posted 2009)
The house at Neverland was filled with images, many of them depicting Michael life-sized, elaborately costumed, in heroic poses with cape, sword, ruffed collar, crown. The rest were an example of a sort of obsessive iconography: images of Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross, Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin – and for that matter of Mickey Mouse and Peter Pan, all of whom, over the years, in what is less a life than a metamorphosis, he had come physically to resemble.
“So you’re Wendy and Michael is Peter?” I had asked Elizabeth Taylor afterwards.
“Yeah. Yeah. There’s a kind of magic between us.”
“Do you see much of Michael?”
“More of him than people realise – more than I realise,” she said. They went in disguise to movies in Los Angeles cinemas, sitting in the back, holding hands. Before I could frame a more particular question, she said: “I love him. There’s a vulnerability inside him which makes him the more dear. We have such fun together. Just playing.”
Or role-playing – her Wendy to his Peter. In the hallway of her house, a large Michael Jackson portrait was inscribed “To my True Love Elizabeth. I’ll love you Forever, Michael”.
She gave him a live elephant. Dr Arnie Klein, his dermatologist, showed me a birthday snapshot taken in Las Vegas, Michael looking distinctly chalky as he presented Elizabeth with a birthday present, an elephant-shaped bauble, football-sized, covered in jewels.
What began as a friendship with Michael Jackson developed into a kind of cause in which Elizabeth Taylor became almost his only defender.
“What about his” – and I fished for a word – “eccentricity? Does that bother you?”
“He is magic. And I think all truly magical people have to have that genuine eccentricity.” There is not an atom in her consciousness that allows her the slightest negativity on the subject of Jacko. “He is one of the most loving, sweet, true people I have ever loved. He is part of my heart. And we would do anything for each other.”
This Wendy with a vengeance, who was a wealthy and world-famous pre-adolescent, supporting her parents from the age of nine, said she easily related to Michael, who was also a child star, and denied a childhood, as well as viciously abused by his father. There was a “Katherine” steam engine, and a “Katherine Street” at Neverland; there was no “Joseph Street”, nor anything bearing his father’s name.
‘He’ll talk to you if I ask him to,” Elizabeth had told me. And at a prearranged signal, Michael called me, at four one morning. There was no secretarial intervention of “Mr Jackson on the line”. The week’s supermarket tabloids’ headlines were “Jacko on suicide watch” and “Jacko in loony bin”, and one with a South Africa dateline, “Wacko Jacko King of Pop Parasails with 13-year-old”. In fact, he was in New York City, where he was recording a new album. This was 10 years ago.
At some point Michael’s use of the phrase “lost childhood” prompted me to quote the line from George William Russell, “In the lost boyhood of Judas / Christ was betrayed”, and I heard “Wow” at the other end of the line. He asked me to explain what that meant, and when I did, he urged me to elaborate. What sort of a childhood did Judas have? What had happened to him? Where had he lived? Who had he known?
I told him that Judas had red hair, that he was the treasurer of the Apostles, that he might have been Sicarii – a member of a radical Jewish group, that he might not have died by hanging himself but somehow exploded, all his guts flying.
Twenty more minutes of Biblical apocrypha with Michael Jackson, on the lost childhood of Judas, and then the whisper again.
Elizabeth Taylor, Talk magazine; October 1999
It says something for Elizabeth Taylor’s much-criticized voice that I could hear it clearly
over the loud hack-hack-hack of the helicopter during our ascent at sunset over
Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch. Girlish, imploring, screamy, piercing the titanium rotor
blades, she was clutching her dog, a Maltese named Sugar, and saying, “Paul, tell the
pilot to go around in a circle, so we can see the whole ranch!”
It says something for Elizabeth Taylor’s much-criticized voice that I could hear it clearly over the loud hack-hack-hack of the helicopter during our ascent at sunset over Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch. Girlish, imploring, screamy, piercing the titanium rotor blades, she was clutching her dog, a Maltese named Sugar, and saying, “Paul, tell the pilot to go around in a circle, so we can see the whole ranch!”
NEVERLAND, THE TOYTOWN wilderness of carnival rides and dollhouses and zoo animals and pleasure gardens, was dropping beneath us, as Elizabeth, characteristically, asked for more.
Even with his ears muffled by headphones, the pilot heard. He lifted us high enough into the pinky-gold glow that Neverland seemed even more toylike – lots of twinkling lights looking futile because, apart from the security staff, there were no humans in sight, only skittish giraffes; and Frisbee-shaped frogs and fat pythons in the reptile house, where both a cobra and a rattlesnake had smashed their fangs against the glass cage trying to bite me; “A.J.,” the big, bristly, shovel-mouthed chimp in the ape sanctuary who spat in my face, and Patrick, the orangutan who tried to twist my hand; the expectorating llamas and the aggressive swans on the lake; Gypsy, the moody five- ton elephant Elizabeth had given to Michael; the empty fairground rides – the Sea Dragon, the Neverland Dodgems, the carousel playing Michael’s song “Childhood” (“Have you seen my childhood…?”); the large, brightly lit railway station, the lawns and flower beds where loudspeakers disguised as big gray rocks played show tunes, drowning out the chirping of wild birds. In the middle of it, a JumboTron showed a cartoon, two crazy-faced creatures quacking miserably at each other – all of this very bright in the cloudless dusk.
“That’s the gazebo, where Larry and I tied the knot,” Elizabeth said, moving her head in an ironizing wobble. Sugar blinked through prettily combed white bangs that somewhat resembled Elizabeth’s own lovely white hair. “Isn’t the railway station darling? Michael and I have picnics over there,” she said, indicating a clump of woods on a cliff. “Can we go around one more time?”
Elizabeth is at her most Elizabethan asking for more. Once again, the long scoop of the Neverland Valley, all 2,700 acres of it, revolved slowly beneath us, the shadows lengthening.
“The Neverland movie theater… flowers… Michael loves flowers,” Elizabeth said. “Look at the swans on the lake! Whee!”
With swans like that you hardly need rottweilers, I was thinking. The acres of lawn watered by underground sprinklers were deep green. Here and there, like toy soldiers, were the uniformed security people, some on foot, others riding golf carts, some standing sentry duty – for Neverland is also a fortress.
“Please can we go around just one more time?” Elizabeth implored.
“What’s that railway station for?” I asked.
“The sick children.”
“And all those rides?”
“The sick children.”
“Look at all those tents.” It was my first glimpse of the collection of tall tepees hidden in the woods.
“The Indian village. The sick children love that place.”
Even from this height I was reminded that this valley of laboriously recaptured childhood is crammed with statuary, which lines the gravel roads and the golf-cart paths: little winsome flute players, rows of grateful, grinning kiddies, clusters of hand-holding tots, some with banjos, some with fishing rods. There are large bronze statues, too, like the centerpiece of the circular drive in front of Neverland’s main house, with its dark shingles and mullioned windows, a statue of Mercury (god of merchandise and merchants), rising some 30 feet, winged helmet and caduceus and all, balanced on one tippytoe, his bum like a buttered muffin in the last of the syrupy sunset.
“Tell the pilot we want to go low! Lower!” It was a different voice again, even younger, with the more, please! pitched as a small girl’s squeak. The pilot had heard. He brought us over the next valley, scattered with cows, then past downtown Santa Barbara and over the shoreline and almost down to the level of the breaking waves.
Elizabeth began to cry out in a shrill little voice, “Whee! What a rush! Whee!”
Surf was breaking in fat white bolsters, releasing feathers of foam two feet below the helicopter’s runners. Not far away at the famous Rincon break surfers lollygagging in the lineup of boards waved to us. Startled pelicans flew up as we approached, and they seemed as cinematic and outrageous as Neverland and its JumboTron cartoons, its statues and swans, and its contending music.
Our nearness to the ocean amplified the rotor noise, but Elizabeth was still chatty. She leaned forward and shouted into my ear, “Have you ever done this before?”. “In Vietnam!” I yelled. “No, here!”She seemed annoyed, as if I had deliberately contradicted her. “Some-times we go so low we get wet! Whee!”
The helicopter corkscrewed inland over the strawberry fields and fruit trees, and then flew east under a dark sky, toward the Van Nuys airport and a waiting limousine. But Elizabeth was looking back at the western sky and its lingering light. “It’s like a Whistler Nocturne,” she said quietly. The girl’s voice was gone. This was a different tone: thoughtful, adult, a little sad, with the characteristic Elizabethan semi- quaver from a lifetime of lotus eating. And what struck me was her precise characterization of the sky; perfectly Whistlerish, with blobby light and ambiguous shadows hovering over the place where Neverland lay.
“SO YOU’RE WENDY and Michael is Peter?” I had asked a month before, at her house in Bel-Air.
“Yeah. Yeah. There’s a kind of magic between us.”
“Magic” had an odd sound in this setting. Sitting upright, her large, impressive head and smooth face on a small, much frailer body, she looked like a fugitive chess piece. She is only a few inches taller than five feet. A bad back, three hip operations, a brain tumor, a broken ankle (“I fell 17 times. I was like the Flying Nun!”), have given her a straggling sideways gait. In mid-August she was in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles with an impacted tooth. A week later, back home, she stumbled, suffered a compression fracture of a thoracic vertebra, and was shuttled back to Cedars-Sinai for a month of recuperation. (Her public relations man reported her in “great spirits.”)
Elizabeth was sipping water while propped against cushions to favor her back. Her feet in thin slippers were braced against a coffee table on which there was a mass of meteorite pieces – or were they geodes? – 40 or more of them, purple crystals glittering in their interior. Behind her was a wall of masterpieces cheek by jowl: Van Gogh jammed against Monet, Rouault against Cassatt, Matisse on top of Modigliani, three Utrillos side by side – and, past the Tiffany lamp and the table of cut glass and crystal, what looked like a diamond the size of a coconut. “From Michael,” Elizabeth explained later. “He said he wanted to get me the biggest diamond in the world. It’s a crystal – isn’t it fun? Go on, lift it.” It must have weighed 20 pounds, and its sparkle reached the Frans Hals hung over the fireplace. There were shelves of bronze horses sculpted by her daughter Liza Todd, one of her four children. The Picasso was over the fish tank. The carpet was white, of the same whiteness as Sugar’s fur, Elizabeth’s hair, her slippers, most of the furniture. The trophy room was next door, the Michael Jackson portrait in the hall (“To my True Love Elizabeth, I’ll love you Forever, Michael”), a Hockney and three Warhols (one a silkscreen icon of Elizabeth) in the library, and four works by Augustus John in, pedantically enough, the john.
It was late afternoon. Elizabeth, a night owl and a notoriously bad sleeper, had not long before risen from her bed, where she had been listening to the Italian singer Andrea Bocelli’s album Romanza. It would be a normal day-rising in mid-afternoon or so, lots of music, some TV; a turn around the house. A date was planned for later, but nothing special. Rod Steiger was expected. For the past year and a half he has been picking Elizabeth up in his little Honda and taking her out for burgers and fried chicken.
“I was agoraphobic for about two years, she said. Medical terms trip off her tongue. “Didn’t leave the house, hardly got out of bed. Rod Steiger got me out of here. He said I was depressed. Then we dated.”
“Dated” is a maddeningly opaque word. In addition to Steiger, who denies that there is any romance involved, she is also dating another man, Cary Schwartz, a Beverly Hills dentist in his mid-fifties who accompanied her on her birthday to the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas (to hear Bocelli) with his grown sons; José Eber, her hairdresser; Dr. Arnie Klein, Michael Jackson’s dermatologist; and Jackson himself.
Both Klein and Eber had shown me the commemorative birthday snapshot – all of them beaming at a restaurant table, Michael looking distinctly chalky as he presented Elizabeth with a birthday present: a football-size elephant handbag covered in jewels, inspired by Gypsy.
“I’ve had some things happen in my life that people wouldn’t believe,” Elizabeth said, apropos of telling me that she could not bear looking back on her life and would never contemplate a serious autobiography. “Because some of it has been so painful, I couldn’t relive it. Which is one of the reasons I’ve avoided psychiatry. I couldn’t go back to some of those places and totally relive them. I think I’d go out of my mind.”
But Elizabeth Taylor, imagination made flesh, has lived out her desires, a series of overlapping lives with a cast of thousands. She claimed she has even died.
“I went through that tunnel,” she said, speaking of her tracheotomy operation in 1961, during which she said she was pronounced dead. “I saw the white light and it said, ‘You have to go back.’ It actually happened. I didn’t talk about it because I thought, This is Looney Tunes!”
She admitted she is the opposite of reflective. Perhaps it is this unwillingness to look at the past that accounts for her optimism.
She conceded that, as Mrs. Larry Fortensky; she had had to grit her teeth to go to a marriage counselor. “But I thought, Why not? I’ll try anything.”
Because Larry had seen the counselor before in the course of one or both of his previous marriages, Elizabeth said, “They had a conversation which had become a sort of code. I felt left out. But we did it. Got into the car. Did it. Then we wouldn’t speak until the next appointment.”
And she laughed, with a peculiar sort of self-mocking mirth that makes her likable. This fatalistic laugh at her own expense comes after a mention of anything absurdly catastrophic – marital disaster or hospitalization or accident, or coming back from the dead. It puts you at ease – its subtext is “I must be mad’.” It is also a displacement activity, for the prospect of someone’s pity or regret, she says, can reduce her to helpless tears.
WHAT BEGAN AS A FRIENDSHIP with Michael Jackson has developed into a kind of cause in which she has become almost his only defender.
“What about his… ” – I fished for the word – “eccentricity? Does that bother you?” “He is magic. And I think all truly magical people have to have that genuine eccentricity.” There is not an atom in her consciousness that allows her the slightest negativity on the subject of Jacko. “He is one of the most loving, sweet, true people I have ever loved. He is part of my heart. And we would do anything for each other.”
This Wendy-with-a-vengeance, once a world-famous preadolescent, said she easi-ly relates to Michael, who was also a child star and was also denied a childhood.
And Michael, who indulges in iconography, had for years collected images of Elizabeth Taylor, as he had of Diana Ross – and, for that matter, of Mickey Mouse and Peter Pan – most of whom, over the years in what is less a life than a metamorphosis, he has come at some point to resemble physically. Elizabeth, in the almost 60 years of her stardom, has similarly altered: The winsome child has morphed from Velvet Brown to Pearl Slaghoople (and most recently God’s girlfriend Sarah in a new NBC cartoon series), via Cleopatra and Maggie the Cat. Each movie (there are 55, plus nine TV films), each marriage (eight), each romance (about 17 on record) has produced a different face and figure, a new image – while the woman herself remains unchanged: straightforward, funny, truthful, impulsively outward-looking, and somehow still hungry for more.
When out of the blue Michael offered her 14 tickets to one of his Dodgers Stadium concerts in the early ’80s, she seized them. The day was auspicious, February 27, her birthday and also her son Christopher Wilding’s. But the seats were in the glass-enclosed VIP box, far from the stage. “You might as well have been watching it on TV;” she said.
She led her large party home. “Michael called the next day in tears and said, ‘I’m so sorry. I feel so awful.” They talked for two hours. “And then we talked every day.” Months passed; the calls continued. “Really,” she said, “we got to know each other on the telephone, over three months.”
One day Michael suggested that he might drop by. Elizabeth said fine. He said, “May I bring my chimpanzee?” Michael showed up holding hands with the chimp, Bubbles.
“We have been steadfast ever since,” Elizabeth said. “I was supposed to go with him on that trip to South Africa.”
“To meet President Mandela?” “I call him Nelson,” Elizabeth said. Because he told me to. Nelson called me and asked me to come with Michael. We chat on the phone. “Hi, Nelson!’ Ha-ha!
“Do you see much of Michael?” “More of him than people realize – more than I realize,” she said. They go in disguise to movies in Westwood and elsewhere, sitting in the back, holding hands. Before I could frame a more particular question, she said, “Everything about Michael is truthful. And there is something in him that is so dear and childlike – not childish, but childlike- that we both have and identify with.” She said this in the most adoring Wendy-like way, but there is in such an apparently sweet manner something of the child taking charge – something defiant, almost despotic. “We have such fun together,” Elizabeth said. “Just playing.”
“YEAH, WE TRY TO ESCAPE and fantasize,” Michael Jackson told me. “We have great picnics…. I can really relax with her; because we’ve lived the same life and experienced the same thing.”
“The great tragedy of childhood stars. And we like the same things. Circuses. Amusement parks. Animals.”
He had called me, with no secretarial introduction. My phone rang and I heard, “This is Michael Jackson.” The voice was breathy, unbroken, boyish. Tentative, tremulously eager and helpful, but denser in substance, like a blind child giving you explicit directions in darkness.
“How would you describe Elizabeth?” I asked.
“She’s a warm, cuddly blanket that I love to snuggle up to and cover myself with. I confide in her and trust her. In my business you can’t trust anyone.”
“Why is that?”
“Because you don’t know who’s your friend. Because you’re so popular; and there’s many people around you. You’re isolated, too. Becoming successful means that you become a prisoner. You can’t go out and do normal things. People are always looking.”
“Have you had that experience?” “Oh, lots of times. They try to see what you’re reading and all the things you’re buying. They want to know everything. There are always paparazzi downstairs. They invade my privacy. They twist reality. They’re my nightmare. Elizabeth is someone who loves me – really loves me.”
“I suggested to her that she was Wendy and you’re Peter.”
“But Elizabeth is also like a mother – and more than that. She’s a friend. She’s Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, the queen of England, and Wendy.”
He returned to the subject of fame and isolation. “A lot of our famous luminaries become intoxicated because of it – they can’t handle it. And your adrenaline is at the zenith of the universe after a concert – you can’t sleep. It’s maybe two in the morning and you’re wide awake. After coming offstage you’re floating.”
“How do you handle that?”
“I watch cartoons. I love cartoons. I play video games. Sometimes I read. I love to read short stories and everything.”
“Any in particular?”
“Somerset Maugham,” he said quickly, and then, pausing at each name, “Whitman. Hemingway. Twain.”
“What about those video games?”
“I love X-Men. Pinball. Jurassic Park. The martial arts ones – Mortal Kombat. I usually take some with me on tour.” “How do you manage that? The video game machines are pretty big, aren’t they?”
“Oh, we travel with two cargo planes.”
“Have you written any songs with Elizabeth in mind?
“Is that the one with the line ‘Have you seen my childhood?”‘
“Yes. It goes… ” – he sang to me – “Before you judge me, try to…”
“Didn’t I hear that playing on your merry-go-round at Neverland?”
Delightedly he said, “Yes! Yes!”
We talked about the famous Neverland wedding, about Larry Fortensky, whom Michael said he liked. About Elizabeth as an inspiration, and about how she supported her family from the age of nine.
“I did that too. My father took the money.” There is a “Katherine” steam engine and a “Katherine Street” in Neverland. Katherine is Michael’s mother; there appears to be nothing there bearing his father’s name. “Some of the money was put aside for me, but a lot of the money was put back into the entire family. I was just working the whole time.”
“If you had it to do again, how would you change things?”
“Even though I missed out on a lot I wouldn’t change anything.”
“I can hear your little kids in the background.” Their gurgling had become insistent, like the last of the bathwater sucking through the drain. “If they wanted to be performers and lead the life you led, what would you say?”
“They can do whatever they want to do. If they want to do that it’s okay.”
“How will you raise them differently from the way you were raised?”
“With more fun. More love. Not so isolated.”
“Elizabeth says she finds it painful to look back on her life. Do you find it hard to do that?”
“No, not when it’s pertaining to an overview of your life rather than any particular moment.”
Another Michael Jackson surprise; he had made me pause with “intoxicated” and “zenith of the universe,” too. I said, “I’m not too sure what you mean by ‘overview.”‘
“Like childhood. I can look at that. The arc of my childhood.”
“But there’s some moment in childhood when one feels particularly vulnerable. Did you feel that? Elizabeth said that she felt she was owned by the studio.”
“Sometimes really late at night we’d have to go out – it might be three in the morning – to do a show. My father made us. I was seven or eight. Some of these were clubs or private parties at people’s houses. We’d have to perform.” This was in Chicago, New York, Indiana, Philadelphia, all over the country. “I’d be sleeping and I’d hear my father. ‘Get up! There’s a show!”‘
“But when you were onstage, didn’t you get a kind of thrill?”
“Yes. I loved being onstage. I loved doing the shows,” Michael said, but he added, “I’ve never liked people-contact. Even to this day, after a show I hate it, meeting people. It makes me shy. I don’t know what to say. “
“But you did that Oprah interview, right?”
“With Oprah it was tough. Because it was on TV, it’s out of my realm. I know that everyone is looking and judging. It’s so hard.”
“Is this a recent feeling, that you’re under scrutiny?”
“No,” he said firmly. “I have always felt that way.
“Which, I suppose, is why talking to Elizabeth over a period of two or three months on the phone would be the perfect way to get acquainted.”
GIVEN ELIZABETH’s PAST, her having insisted to Oprah Winfrey that “Michael is the least weird man I have ever known” is not the hyperbolic statement it seems. She was put down as credulous at the time, but it is a fact that she has known – been married to, had affairs with, been mixed up with -some of the weirdest, most abusive, addictive, profligate, polymorphously perverse men imaginable – brutes, even.
She was slapped around by Nicky Hilton, cheated on by Richard Burton. She said she sold a 69 karat diamond and her purple Rolls to help get John Warner into the Senate (a great sacrifice that Warner didn’t call me back to confirm or deny). And then there was Larry Fortensky – poor, beer-swilling Larry, whom Elizabeth treated to his first ride in a plane. And there were the lovers, who have reputedly ranged from Max Lerner to Carl Bernstein to a former Iranian ambassador, too.
Next to this bunch, Michael – who doesn’t smoke, drink, or take drugs – must truly seem to her like Peter Pan. He is famous for his whisper. Whee! is one of his trademark expressions, too. His generosity toward this woman, who adores receiving presents, makes him her patron and her playmate.
It seems to me that every relationship of hers has involved her in a sort of role-playing; looking over the decades of photographs there is a startling dissimilarity in the Elizabeths, as though an inventive art director had had a hand in their design: the fresh young all-American Mrs. Hilton, the English Mrs. Wilding, the Jewish Mrs. Todd, the stage-wife Mrs. Fisher, the much louder and somewhat Welsh Mrs. Burton, the full-figured political campaigner Mrs. Warner, and finally the svelte Mrs. Fortensky in a leather jacket and jeans, famous for showing up, looking terrific, at Larry’s construction sites.
Some of the marriages were melodramas; a few were tragedies. Nicky Hilton-young, rich, drunken, wasteful – was straight out of F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Michael Wilding effort – transplanted English actor wilting in Los Angeles – was an Anglo-American culture clash. The short intense marriage to Mike Todd, tragically ending in a plane wreck, had a sequel, with music: the marriage to Todd’s friend Eddie Fisher, which turned into a farcical and faltering lounge-act movie about failure and pills. The Burton business was a two-parter, with serious drinking and spending; highly emotional, complex, and passionate, it proved Freud’s dictum that in all love affairs four people are involved. One of Elizabeth’s Utrillos depicts a château in Switzerland near the place where she says she secretly met Burton after the filming of Cleopatra; she values the painting less as a masterpiece than as the scene of what she said was one of the most romantic moments in one of her two great love affairs (the other was with Todd). The last pair of marriages – to rising politician John Warner, to construction worker Larry – amounted to comedies, involving all the excruciating pain true comedy requires.
One night, just before going out to meet Elizabeth, I saw Warner on television, talking about the war in Kosovo. He may be the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, but his close set eyes and narrow skull give him the ingratiating face of a spaniel.
Speaking about the Warner marriage, Elizabeth said, “It seemed to me that if I didn’t get out of it soon I’d go crazy – out of that situation where you have no opinion of your own, just as the candidate’s wife.”
“That’s like a movie title, The Candidate': wife,” I said. I asked her whether her own marriages had seemed that way, so specific and so unreal at the same time.
Elizabeth considered this, then said, “You don’t start a movie expecting it to crash. You get married expecting it to be forever. That’s why you get married.”
Elizabeth was of course the wrong person to ask about this, and yet everything she told me made it seem as though her marriage The Candidate': wife (1976-82) was infinitely more watchable than the movies she made around this period: A Little Night Music (1977), Return Engagement (1978), Winter Kills (1979), and The Mirror Crack’d (1980).
“I had to go along with the party line,” Elizabeth said. “I was told not to wear purple. The Republican Women’s Committee said, ‘It denotes royalty.’
“I said, ‘So?’
“‘And it denotes passion.
“I said, ‘What’s the matter with that?’
“They said, ‘You’re the candidate’s wife!”‘
Elizabeth bought herself a conservative suit – “I hate suits!” – and campaigned for the next two months, five or six places a day, no time to eat, the candidate frenetically stumping for votes, the candidate’s wife smiling bravely. One day hurrying on their way to a Republican function, Candidate Warner – whose pet name for his wife was “Pooters” – said, “There’s some fried chicken right there, Pooters. Grab some fried chicken, and get a breast or something down into your stomach. This is the last chance for us to eat for the rest of the day!”
“So I grabbed a breast,” Elizabeth said, “and all of a sudden – aargh! You know these two- and-a-half-inch bones? One of them got stuck in my throat. John Belushi did a whole sketch on it on Saturday Night Live, the bastard! Choking on a chicken bone in Big Stone Gap, Virginia!”
Warming to her theme as she told the story, she described how the doctor at the hospital took a long rubber hose and stuck it down her throat. “To get the bone into my stomach – with no anesthetic, not so much as an aspirin. But the jokes! I was teased for a year!”
After Warner was elected, a luncheon was given for Elizabeth by the Republican ladies to thank her for her contribution to Warner’s victory.
For the occasion, I took my purple Halston pantsuit out of mothballs – had it all spruced up – and wore it in all my glory.
“I said, ‘Judy…’ – she was the office manager of the campaign – ‘I’m wearing this in your honor!”‘
With Warner in the Senate, Elizabeth was redundant. “Washington is the cruelest city for a woman in the world,” she said. She was idle; he was, she said, obsessed with showing up for the roll call vote – he wanted to record his perfect attendance. From this exertion in the Senate he returned home exhausted.
“And he’d say, ‘Why don’t you pour yourself a Jack Daniel’s, Pooters, and go on upstairs and watch TV.’ So Pooters would pour herself a large Jack Daniel’s and go upstairs and watch TV and wait for another day,” Elizabeth said.
“And on and on, and I thought, My Jack Daniel’s are getting larger and larger, and if I don’t get my finger out I’m going to drink myself either to death or into such a stupor that there is going to be no life for me.”
Against the advice of nearly everyone she knew, she accepted the lead role in the Broadway play The Little Foxes. “I went to a fat farm, to lose weight and get some energy back – stop drinking, feel good about myself. Took the script with me.”
Tennessee Williams showed up for her road-test of the play in Fort Lauderdale; he told Elizabeth he had always thought of her as “a Tennessee Williams heroine,” and she proved it, playing his heroines in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Suddenly Last Summer, and Sweet Bird of Youth. She says that she felt liberated by The Little Foxes: She liked the theater people and the applause and the family atmosphere of a show. The play went on the road, and so did Elizabeth – in every sense. She was soon divorced from Warner but continued with the London run of the play;
It is the perfect ending to The Candidate’s Wife: The star who has forsaken acting to assume the real-life role of the wife of a rising politician finds that she is superfluous after he gets elected. Seeing that she is dying as a Washington wife, she chooses freedom by getting herself a part in a play, another role-within-a-role. She can only be herself and “feel freedom and joy” when acting.
And then the actress who is liberated by the play falls for Tony Geary, a soap opera star, and she makes a number of guest appearances on the TV series General Hospital.
Life to life, role to role. Ten years pass, and the next movie is The Construction Worker’s Wife (1991-96). The jewels are gone and Elizabeth is in jeans, the adoring spouse of a monosyllabic blue-collar worker named Larry’. “I got such a kick out of taking him to places that I had never gone to, so that I wouldn’t have an advantage over him and we could share the newness together.” She takes him for his airplane rides – to Morocco, to Thailand. Because they are the guests of the Thai royal family, they have a motorcycle escort. There are never any other cars in view when they are on the road; the roads are cleared of all traffic for them. Larry, in his innocence, assumes that all foreign travel involves being saluted by policemen. But he hates foreign food. He is bored. “He wanted to go to McDonald’s, wherever we were.”
Back home in Bel-Air, “I used to get up at four in the morning and have breakfast with him. After Larry went to work, I went back to bed. Then he would come home and it was wonderful – he was sweaty; he had dirty hands, he was beautiful, and he played with his [homing] pigeons.
“I was so proud of him for working. I was kind of hurt when he stopped.” And when Larry the construction worker stopped working and began drinking, it could only end with his departure from Bel-Air. End of movie.
I felt Elizabeth deserved praise for putting her heart and soul into these doomed love affairs, for throwing herself into the role of spouse with such gusto. By changing characters she has kept her vitality, though one of her biographers, Sheridan Morley, told me she was like a certain sort of character in a Henry James novel, ”innocent, yet at the center of death and destruction.”
With the exception of Eddie Fisher (“Let’s say we’re not exactlv intimate buds”), she has remained fairly close to her surviving ex-husbands. And while she pokes fun at them, she is never unkind; she simply lets the facts speak for themselves.
“It’s a mixed blessing, discovering boys,” she said after a long, pleasurable recollection of riding her horses as a girl. In the beginning there were two or three strictly chaperoned romances and then, after a short courtship, she married Hilton. “I was a virgin – I was halfhearted. That was a foolish thing, let me tell you.”
Her voice became drier, and she quailed slightly, crouching on the sofa, seeming almost physically to contract, as she continued. “He started drinking two weeks after we got married – I thought he was a nice, pure, all-American boy. Two weeks later, wham! Bam! All the physical abuse started. I left him after nine months of marriage…after” – she paused and looked into the middle distance- “having a baby kicked out of my stomach.”
“That’s terrible,” I said.
“He was drunk. I thought, ‘This is not why I was put on earth. God did not put me here to have a baby kicked out of my stomach.’ I had terrible pains. I saw the baby in the toilet. I didn’t know that I was pregnant, so it wasn’t a malicious or on-purpose kind of act. It just happened.”
Without another word Elizabeth got up, holding herself, and left the room. Some minutes passed before she returned, saying that the memory had given her physical pains in her abdomen. She added, “I have never spoken about this before,” and changed the subject – to Montgomery Clift, how she found him his first lover.
How had she known that Monty was gay?
“No one had explained it to me, but I knew it. Monty was in the closet, and I think I knew what he was fighting. He was tormented his whole life. I tried to explain to him that it wasn’t awful. It was the way that nature had made him.”
If there is a constant in her endlessly altering life, it is the friendship of gay men. Husbands and lovers have come and gone, but there has always been a gay man-and usually more than one – acting as escort, confidant, friend – almost sister. Roddy McDowall was one such friend, from 1943 when they appeared in Lassie Come Home until his death in 1998. So were Rock Hudson, Tennessee Williams, Halston, Malcolm Forbes, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote. Actors, directors, fashion designers, hairdressers, writers, nearly all of them adoring and – even she admits – among the closest friends she has had in her life. Some of her lovers have been abusive, but there is not a recorded instance of even a spat with one of her gay friends.
When AIDS began to claim the lives of some of them, she distinguished herself by calling attention to the disease and by being possibly the first person in Hollywood to raise money for AIDS research with the American Foundation for AIDS Research and then also with the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
“If you’re famous there’s so many good things you can do,” she told me. “If you do something worthwhile you feel better. I spent my whole last 50 years protecting my privacy. I resented my fame until I realized I could use it.”
She hosted the landmark AIDS fund-raiser in Hollywood in 1985 that was a $1 million success. Many more have followed.
“I am this dreaded famous person. I can get under their skin,” Elizabeth said. She has always rather liked the idea that she has been rebellious, and this has been a way to make rebellion work. Her efforts have earned more than $100 million for AIDS research, and she is still at it.
“That’s why I do photo shoots – to keep my fame alive. So people won’t say, ‘Who’s that broad?”‘ Elizabeth could be said to be the last true Hollywood star. There is something missing in Hollywood today. It’s not the decline of the studios and the rise of independent filmmakers. Nor the scandals and the crazy marriages and the murders – there are still enough of those.
“There’s no tits anymore,” Elizabeth said. “And if they are, they’re fake balloons. I mean, you can spot them a mile off. It’s not very sexy”
“So Hollywood’s titless these days – that’s the message?” I said. “But I don’t want to put words in your mouth.” Laughing, she said, “Didn’t I say that?”
AS WAS HIS HABIT, Rod Steiger showed up one evening driving a little Honda. Shaven- headed, square-shouldered, wearing black (with sneakers), he could have been Mussolini on a day off, paying a call on Clara Petacci. Sunk in depression, Steiger had not been able to work for eight years when, with medication and doctoring, he was able to begin acting again. A year and a half ago he visited Elizabeth, whom he hardly knew, to propose that she appear with him in Somewhere, a script he cowrote about Oz revisited, with all the characters grown older. In this version Elizabeth would play the aged Dorothy. But Steiger was shocked when he saw her – she seemed blue and housebound, and because he had been through some of the same things himself he decided to make her his mission. He told me, “She’ll go anywhere for fresh air.”
Michael Jackson is fresh air. Perhaps her ultimate film is the one she is enacting with him now – truer to the spirit of her life than Steiger’s Wizard of Oz update. There are two books on the coffee table in the library of Michael’s house at Neverland: Peter Pan and a picture book, Michael’s own HIStory. The house is full of Peter Pan piconography. Almost consciously, Elizabeth and Michael are role-playing in their sequel to J.M. Bar-rie’s book, but this version, about Wendy grown older and the reclusive Peter refusing to age, is stranger, more highly colored, more complete than any of Elizabeth’s marriage movies that I have animadverted upon. There is no conflict nor any likelihood of it, no sex, no struggle, no deprivation. If they crave an elephant or a concert or a game or a jet plane to take them away, they have it immediately. For their purposes, the Neverland Valley Ranch is perfect: the girlish mother, the boyishly patronlike son, the frisson of sex existing in the pulses of the air – the touching, holding, teasing, hugging – life as play plenty of money, even pirates! Already Peter and Wendy has shown that it has legs: This friendship has lasted longer than any of Elizabeth’s actual marriages.
Elizabeth has an appetite for life, and appetite was the word that kept occurring to me when I thought of her. It was zest, and also a hunger, which was some-how never satisfied. In this hunger she is at her most Elizabethan. Of course it is a metaphor, but she is not a metaphorical person – her feet are squarely on the ground, she is literal-minded, and her appetite is literally that, a desire to devour. She has said many times that when she was fat it was not as a result of unhappiness – it was that she loved to eat. And she adored the most fattening foods: ice cream, burgers, fried chicken. Sometimes Steiger brings her hot dogs from a joint in Malibu; the dentist takes her out for burgers.
Everyone who has known her has a theory about the way she has lived her life. Most are stories about her being fabulous, her excess, her nine lives, her accidents, her ailments; many others are about the oddity of her having been at the center of so much catastrophe. Alike Nichols, who directed her in his first film – and one of Elizabeth’s best – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, has been the most succinct: “I never saw her be unkind, be untruthful, or be on time.”
Though Elizabeth says she examines nothing in her life or behavior, her unpunctuality is the richest of the many aspects that would repay scrutiny. Her lateness amounts almost to a title, Her Serene Lateness. There is a lateness story associated with everything she has ever done. Her film career began when she was nine, but that is the sole example of her ever having been early.
Lateness is an important theme in her life, as is illness, and yet the themes are not related. Illness does not explain her unpunctuality – unpunctuality is a lame word for her chronic and incurable condition of reluctance and delay, which verges on the pathological.
In Elizabeth’s case the awaiting might be me sitting in her living room, or many hundreds of people in a theater wondering when the curtain is going to rise on The Little Foxes, or a thousand people stranded on the set of Cleopatra, or John Warner tapping his foot on his wedding day – for she was late to that event, too.
In the theater, the curtain has been held. Directors have raged in vain. Heads of state, Queen Elizabeth II, the pope, her closest friends – none were privileged to see her on time. She is impartially unpunctual. What about airplanes? I asked a person who sometimes travels with her. Many times commercial flights have been held for her. Was your plane unaccountably late in taking off from LAX? Chances are Elizabeth had a seat in first class.
That lateness reveals a neurotic sense of entitlement and a bid for power is obvious. It is a consistent feature in courtship and sexuality – the aroused person is made to wait, the act is delayed until the loved one appears, – and the Seventh Veil is dropped. Lateness is a diva’s trait, one that allows her to make an entrance. It is also classically passive-aggressive. “I’m always late,” Elizabeth says to Montgomery Clift in A Place in the Sun. “It’s part of my charm.”
A late person obviously places a high value on punctuality: Everything must commence the moment the latecomer arrives. The latecomer is never made to wait – this is one of the demands of lateness. I was once privy to Elizabeth’s saying, “If he is not here in 15 minutes, then I’m not seeing him again.”
No one has ever said that of her. She expects to be taken on her own terms, so her lateness functions as a sort of test. If you are not willing to wait for her she isn’t interested in you. It is characteristic of the ball-breaker, the manipulator, the control freak, someone deeply insecure. It is the trait of the bullying man, the coquette, and the cocktease, the person needing reassurance, anyone who wishes to assert control. What puzzled me was – given the facts that she is not in films much anymore, that her workload is light, that she doesn’t seem to read, that she has little more to occupy her mind than her dates and her dog – what on earth is she doing when she is not where she is supposed to be?
Like a little girl, Elizabeth disingenuously apologized for being late when we met, and I always made a point of asking her what she had been doing. “I was upstairs – singing and dancing,” carried away by the music of Andrea Bocelli, she told me once. But she also fusses endlessly, changes her clothes – whole out-fits – adjusts her makeup, kicks off her shoes and tries on others, dithers over her jewelry, cuddles Sugar, talks on the phone.
This deeply dislikable quality ends friendships, but of course another effect is that it tests friendships. In Elizabeth it is an accepted mode of behavior, on par with a handicap, as though she is a figure worthy of sympathy, like a limper or a twitcher, or, in her case, someone seriously time-challenged. But I saw it as another detail in the ongoing drama of Peter and Wendy, for most of all it is a trait of the troubled child, who is often a foot-dragger without really knowing the deeper reason – and in the case of the foot-dragging child there is always a deeper reason.
PLEASE, GOD, SUPERSIZE MY LIFE, has always been Elizabeth’s prayer, as eating has always been an Elizabethan theme. There is a story of Elizabeth looking into her refrigerator and speaking fondly to the food she saw on the shelves, saying, “I would love to bite you…and you…and you…”
At Neverland, in Michael’s dining room, she was tucking into a big cheese omelet, with ketchup, when she saw someone else with a plate of french fries -the twiggy, frozen Mickey D. Kind – and she said, with real gusto in a hungry voice, “Hey! Where did you get those?” In minutes she too had a big plate of fries.
One day she was telling me, very slowly, with real feeling, about a photo shoot she had done for her new line of sparkling White Diamonds perfume – an enterprise that has assured her a substantial income and eliminated the necessity of ever acting again.
“I had on a 101 karat diamond,” she said, pausing alter each word. She licked her lips, and there was a chuckle of pleasure in her throat. “No flaws!” and, again pausing between the words, “Talk about a rush!”
She clutched the finger on which the imaginary emerald-cut diamond ring had been fitted, and a shudder of hunger shook her small, brittle body as she lifted the finger to her mouth and said with a shout that barely concealed a shriek: “I wanted to swallow it!”
Another day she was listening to a Bocelli ballad and singing along, then interrupted herself and said, “Più’! Più’! I love più’! What does più’ mean?”
“It means ‘more,” I said.
After a particularly good session of talk at her house, I went away. Soon after, speaking with a mutual friend, Elizabeth asked, “Is Paul married?”
“The Once and Future King” TV Guide Interview, December 1999
TV Guide: Who are your closest friends?
Michael: Elizabeth [Taylor], for sure. We go to the movies every Thursday.
TV Guide: You go to a regular theater?
Michael: I want to go to the Warner Bros. Studio, and she refuses. She says, “No, I’m getting you out.” So we go right into this area – which I can’t say – and walk right in. And it’s usually empty, because [most] people are working at the time. [The theater employees] go, “Wow, come on in,” and we never really pay. And we’re the ones who can afford it. [Laughs]
Conversations With Rabbi Schmuley, 2000/1
MJ: Brooke is a nice girl but she’s not Elizabeth Taylor. That’s the kind of lady I want to be seen with.
SB: I saw that you made an overture to Jay Leno. You went to a charity benefit with Elizabeth Taylor and you were wearing a red suit.
MJ: Brown suit.
SB: So you saw Jay Leno and…?
MJ: He was sitting at my table with President Ford, Sylvester Stallone, Elizabeth Taylor, Sydney Poitier. When he came to sit down I just walked over to him and started like playfully choking him [because he always makes negative jokes about Michael] and he was like, “Urgghh. Urgghhhh.” And then Elizabeth said, “Have you been saying mean things about Michael?” And he went, “Huh?”
SB: What is it about Elizabeth Taylor that is so endearing to you? She is like your closest friend for many years. What is it about her, in the context of these childlike qualities?
MJ: We are both from the same place…
SB: She’s loyal, right.
MJ: She’s loyal. We are from the same place. She can relate to the world I have come from. She’s curious. You can can just look her eyes and you know. It’s like speaking telepathetically. You can feel it, it’s true, without saying a word and I felt that seeing her the very first time. It’s like that with Shirely Temple Black. We are from the same world.
SB: Someone you can unburden yourself to emotionally in a way that Prince couldn’t understand or Paris couldn’t understand.
MJ: Mmmm. Friends and certain people you can trust. Elizabeth [Taylor], or whoever…
MJ: I loved being on stage and I loved performing, but there are those like Judy Garland who were pushed out there, who didn’t want to do it, and that got really tough. Elizabeth made it through. She has been to hell and back and she was a child star and that’s why we understand each other so much. We really do.
SB: So you feel confident being around her? You said you felt baptized. Do you feel redeemed being in her presence?
MJ: Mmmmmm, yeah. (He starts crying) I don’t know if you understand.
SB: To be honest I don’t completely, but I want to.
MJ: You really don’t, do you?
SB: I have been trying. Just explain to me where does the pain come from? Can you explain it, or when you are around Shirley you don’t have to. She just understands?
MJ: It’s like telepathy. You can feel each other speak and look into one another’s eyes and I feel her and she feels me that way. You pick it up and you detect it so fast. It is like communicating silently. It really is and I knew I would feel that way when I saw her, I knew it. It’s the same with Elizabeth [Taylor].
SB: Are you going to see [Shirley] again?
MJ: Oh yes. I’m going to invite her to Neverland. She told me to make sure to say hello to Elizabeth. She kept asking about her.
SB: Do they know each other?
MJ: They have seen each other and spent some time together. But I told Elizabeth today and she said, “Ohhh. You must say Hi from me.” I told Elizabeth I spent the weekend with her, and she says, “You did?” I said, “Yes.” And she was shocked that I went up there. It was great.
Elizabeth Taylor: A Special Bond
“Elizabeth Taylor is very childlike. There’s nothing that you can do when she’ll say, “I don’t want to do that.” When Bug’s Life came out, she bugged me over and over to fix my schedule so we could see the cartoon. So we had to go to a public theater at about 1:00 o’clock. She makes me go out every Thursday because she says I’m too reclusive. Everybody’s at work, so there’s no one there and we never pay… we come with nothing and they always say, “Oh, my God, Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson.” We get free popcorn, everything. She loved Bug’s Life and loves Neverland. She’ll go on the carousel and the Ferris wheel, but not the scary rides.
There are other childlike qualities of Elizabeth Taylor. She was in Jane Eyre around eight or nine. Our fathers were very much alike, tough, hard, brutal. She’s playful and youthful and happy and finds a way to laugh and giggle even when she’s in pain. She’s ready to play any game, go swimming. She’s very good with children. She loves toys and cartoons. I get to learn so much from her. She’ll tell me about James Dean and Clark Gable and Spencer Tracey and Montgomery Clift, because she did movies with all these people. She tells me what they were really like, the ones who were nice people and the ones that weren’t.
We were in Singapore—she came on most of the Dangerous tour with me—and we decided we wanted to go to the zoo. And we hung out and had our own private tour and we had fun. She’s Prince and Paris’s godmother and Macaulay’s their godfather. She’s just retained that little girl quality. That little child you see in Jane Eyre and Lassie Come Home, that’s still in there. It’s in her eyes. She has this glow like a child. It’s so sweet.”
[Elizabeth Taylor and I] we’re like brother and sister, mother and son, lovers… it’s a potpourri…it’s something special. We go through this whining thing on the phone… “I need you….” “Oh, I need you, too.” We can talk about anything. She’s been my most loyal friend. She says she adores me and would do anything for me. She says Hollywood has to write a movie for the two of us. We just have to do something together.
SB: Do you get jealous when she dates other men? She got married in your backyard.
MJ: Do I get jealous? Yes and no. I know that if we ever did anything romantically the press would be so mean and nasty and call us, “The Odd Couple.” It would turn into a circus and that’s the pain of it all. You know I push her in a wheelchair sometimes, when she can’t walk. It’s none of their business what we have together. I have to be with people who like me. Some rappers will say to me, “Let’s hang out. Let’s go down to a club.” And I’ll say, “What? Let’s hang? I don’t think so.” That kind of thing’s not a party for me.
On that tour [Dangerous], she fed me because I wouldn’t eat. When I get upset, I stop eating, sometimes until I’m unconscious. She took the spoon and opened my mouth and made me eat. She said she wouldn’t let me go ithout her, and her doctors advised her not to go. She went to Thailand and followed the tour all the way to London.
May 26, 2000
Michael escorts Dame Elizabeth Taylor to a tribute concert honouring her at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
October 28, 2000
Michael & Elizabeth Taylor attend the Carousel Of Hope charity gala at the Hilton Hotel of Beverly Hills.
Elizabeth Taylor Discusses Her Life and Career, Larry King Live:, January 15, 2001
KING: The friendship with Michael Jackson.
KING: What? How did that begin? You mean you seem on different planes.
TAYLOR: No! Why do you say that?
KING: You just seem on different planes. He’s a very shy…
TAYLOR: No. We were both child stars.
TAYLOR: We had no childhood, either one of us. We were brought up by tutors. We had no children of our own age to play with or relate to. We were performing the whole time. He was on the stage; I was on the…
KING: The screen.
TAYLOR: … the soundstage. We would go home. I, in my case, I would learn my lines, learn my homework, get up early in the morning. I would go out to the polo field, where they had 40 jumps set up, and to get some of my steam off as a little girl I would take 40 jumps before I would go into work.
KING: And he had the same kind of life, in a sense. He had to get up and take the bus to wherever they went to the next concert or…
TAYLOR: Yes and get his steam off dancing.
KING: But we don’t — we know you. Look at you. We don’t know Michael, do we?
KING: What don’t we know about him we should know?
TAYLOR: He’s so tender. He is so compassionate. He hurts, literally pains for other people’s suffering. If there is — like — the starvation of children in this country, in India, in Africa…
KING: He feels it. It’s not just a…
TAYLOR: He reaches out. I’ve been to the Orient with him. And he says: “Roll down the window! Roll down the window!” He reaches his hands out and just touches a baby’s face. Oh, you beautiful thing, and he just wants to give that baby everything, his life. He’d give him all his money if he could, and the car keeps on moving. And he’ll turn back: Oh, look at that baby.
September 7, 2001
It’s Michael’s day in New York City ! All the biggest stars of music, films& sport gather to attend his concert at the Madison Square Garden . Michael arrives late with Elizabeth Taylor and during the first part of the show he watches tributes perfomances of his songs
Michael, TV Guide, 2001
TVG: Who else do you spend time with?
MJ: Elizabeth [Taylor], Brando, Gregory Peck, these are very close friends of mine. Either they’re much older than me or much younger.
TVG: Liza Minnelli also sang at your tribute concerts. You two seem very close.
MJ: I speak to Liza every week. We come from the same planet. Like Elizabeth does.
TVG: What planet is that?
MJ: It’s called Capricious Anomaly in the Sea of Space. [laughs]. Gee, I can’t name it. Just beyond our solar system, I think. But this is true, and this is not to be taken lightly: People who grew up as child stars have the same thing in common. You’re cute, they love you; you go through the awkward stage, they don’t accept you anymore. Very few make the transition to adult star. And most of them become self-destructive. And it’s very sad.
MJ, By Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY, December 14, 2001
Q: Critics refer to you as the self-proclaimed King of Pop. Did you choose that title?
MJ: I never self-proclaimed myself to be anything. If I called up Elizabeth Taylor right now, she would tell you that she coined the phrase. She was introducing me, I think at the American Music Awards, and said in her own words – it wasn’t in the script – “I’m a personal fan, and in my opinion he is the king of pop, rock and soul.” Then the press started saying “King of Pop” and the fans started. This self-proclaimed garbage, I don’t know who said that.
Q: Your inner circle seems to consist of very young friends or much older ones. What connects you to people like Marlon Brando or Elizabeth Taylor?
MJ: We’ve had the same lives. They grew up in show business. We look at each other, and it’s like looking in a mirror. Elizabeth has this little girl inside of her who never had a childhood. She was on the set every day. She loves playing with a new gadget or toy, and she’s totally awe-inspired by it. She’s a wonderful human being. So is Brando.
Shopping in a supermarket, Private Home Movies, 2002
MJ narrating: Eventually, I started recognizing people. Like the woman in the blond wig is my nanny hehe! (laughs). Even Elizabeth Taylor was there. She was on a cover of er, this magazine.
Michael: That’s what I’m talking about (holds up the magazine with a thumbs up).
February 9, 2002
Michael & Elizabeth Taylor attend the fund-raiser Art For Aids : A Tribute To Rock Hudson at the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach .
February 24, 2002
Michael, Elizabeth Taylor & Brett Ratner attend a private party at Mark Damon’s house to announce that Neverland Entertainment and Raju Sharad Patel have signed with Damon’s independant film company MDP Worldwide Entertainment to create a new division called Neverland Pictures.
Michael talks to VIBE, Vibe – March 2002
VIBE: What was your experience on September 11?
MJ: I was in New York (after performing at the Madison Square Garden on Sept. 7 and 10), and I got a call from friends in Saudi Arabia that America was being attacked. I turned on the news and saw the Twin Towers coming down, and I said, Oh my God. I screamed down the hotel hallway to all our people. Everybody get out, let’s leave now! Marlon Brando was on one end, our security was on the other end. We were all up there, Elizabeth Taylor was at another hotel. We jumped in the car, but there were these girls who had been at the show the night before, and they were banging on the windows, running down the street screaming. Fans are so loyal. We hid in New Jersey. It was unbelievable-I was scared to death.
Liza Minnelli’s wedding, March 16, 2002
Michael is best man at the wedding of David Gest & Liza Minnelli celebrated in New York City with a galaxy of stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross and Michael’s brothers Randy & Tit
Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Walters, 2002
“He has been hurt by so many people,” she told ABC News’ Barbara Walters in 2002. “I think I’m the only person in his life that has not betrayed him.”
Elizabeth, New York Times, September 29, 2002
It is that incessant public scrutiny, she said, that has bonded her, like a mother, to Mr. Jackson.
”People have made a fool of him, and they have called him ludicrous,” she said. ”I’ve got to defend him because he’s my best friend.”
In July, Mr. Jackson began battling Thomas D. Mottola, the chairman of the Sony Music Group, whose Epic label released Mr. Jackson’s lackluster ”Invincible” album. Mr. Jackson accused Mr. Mottola of sabotaging the album, said he was a racist and at protests waved a caricature of Mr. Mottola as the devil. Music industry executives said at the time that the bizarre attack was meant to pressure Sony to release Mr. Jackson from his recording contract.
To complicate matters, Mr. Jackson and Sony are partners in a venture that began in 1995, when Mr. Jackson combined his catalog of copyrighted music with Sony’s, including songs by the Beatles.
To hear Ms. Taylor tell it, Mr. Mottola and Sony’s management are trying to railroad Mr. Jackson.
”Look, he bought the Beatles catalog when he was so young,” she said. ”O.K., so now Paul McCartney and the world want to kill him. And now he’s getting this awful backlash because Sony sabotaged his album. They want the Beatles catalog, too. But it’s Michael’s. He owns every piece of his own music, and Sony wants to keep him from his music. So there are a lot of names going back and forth.”
A spokesman for Sony, which spent $50 million to make and market ”Invincible” and has recouped only a fraction, declined to comment, as did Paul Freundlich, a spokesman for Mr. McCartney.
Mike Nichols, who directed Ms. Taylor in ”Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” said her loyalty to other former child stars — who are often seen as bizarre, even freakish — probably goes back to her hatred of MGM, which held her to a rigid contract as a young actress. It steeled her against management types forever.
”I think hating the studio and knowing they weren’t human kept her simple and true,” Mr. Nichols said.
Ms. Taylor said that she and Mr. Jackson share more than just the experience of child stardom.
”I can tell him things that I wouldn’t tell anybody else,” she said. ”He had one of the worst childhoods. I think I had the second.”
She had no playmates and was isolated, she said, educated by tutors. Her father, increasingly irrelevant in the shadow of her fame, was abusive, she said. ”That’s why I married so early,” she said. ”To get out of the house.”
That first marriage, to the hotel heir Nicky Hilton when she was 18, ended in months. He beat her so violently, she said, that she had a miscarriage.
”I couldn’t take his physical abuse or his mental abuse longer,” she said. (Ms. Taylor testified during her divorce proceedings from Hilton that he had been physically violent. It is not clear if Hilton, who died at 42, ever refuted her testimony.)
Elizabeth Taylor, Book: My Love Affair With Jewellery, printed Sept 30th 2002
“Over the years Michael has given me some truly incredibly jewelry. Once he gave me a huge diamond ring and kept saying, ‘Put it on, put it on. Look at the way it sparkles. I bet it’s bigger than the Krupp.’ So I asked innocently, ‘Really? How many carats is it, Michael?’ ‘Seventeen,’ he answered. I embraced him and whispered in his ear, “My honey darling, you missed.’
‘Another time we were at an auction together and I was getting excited about bidding on a pair of long shaggy Marina B diamond earrings, so I told him that he had to buy something, too. I showed him this delightful monkey necklace made up of diamonds, emeralds, and rubies with matching earrings. He probably thought I had something like ‘auction fever’ when I pointed out that the two monkeys symbolized us, bonded in friendship. In hindsight, I must have made some sense, because these little monkeys are perfectly at home with all my other beloved jewelry.’
‘A year or two ago, Michael and I and a couple other friends decided to go to Las Vegas for my birthday. We stayed at the incredibly beautiful Bellagio, where we had dinner and watched the fountains. The whole thing was just perfect for me because I’ve grown tired of big-deal birthdays. At one point, I turned to Michael and said, ‘All right, where’s my present?’ Well he looked at the ground, he looked around the room, he looked at our friend Arnie Klein, but he didn’t really say anything. So I said, ‘Michael, I know they have great jewelry shops in the lobby. I can’t believe you haven’t noticed.’ Michael and Arnie start giggling. I continued, ‘This is really breaking my heart, Michael. I’m not sure I can go on.’ You know, I was really hamming it up. Finally, Michael and Arnie excused themselves and returned to the table some time later with a perfectly interesting-sized book., Any box can be interesting to me! I opened it and inside was some weird padded black wrapping, protecting the most exquisite titanium elephant evening bag. A saddle of rubies and pearls was dangling from its backside, and the dear little creature had huge diamond eyes.
‘Michael! Michael! I was just kidding around!” I mean, this was the most unusual thing I’d ever seen. I was playing with the long dangling pearls, in part because I was so happy and because I was a little embarassed that he had actually gone and gotten me something this amazing. But Michael and I do kid around a lot, and I knew I hadn’t really overstepped my place in our relationship.’
‘When I got home, there in my front hall was a huge box, tied with a red ribbon., It was my real birthday present from Michael, the one had planned to give me all along – one of those superflat TV sets. Truly, the biggest one I’ve ever seen. I was in innocent in all of this, the most happy innocent. And Michael played it totally straight.’
‘Years before, soon after Larry Fortensky and I got married at Michael’s Neverland Valley Ranch, I couldn’t think of what to give Michael to show my undying thanks. He rarely invites anyone to Neverland, and this was the first time, which was so generous, such a glamorous compliment to our friendship. I had been trying to think of a truly meaningful way to thank him. Then I got an idea: Michael has a zoo. I’ll get him an elephant! That clinched it. I got him a great big Asian elephant named Gypsy. I guess you could say we exchanged elephants.”
Elizabeth Taylor, A Letter to Globe Magazine, December 19 2002
“My beloved Michael,
I saw all of the news on TV of you showing the baby — I also saw the tight grip that you had under his armpits. The baby loves to be swung around, and I know you could see through the sheer part of the curtain. It’s a game for him and I know why you covered his face. All celebrity kids are shielded from being recognized for an obvious reason — they’re under constant threat from would-be kidnappers. I went through it as a child actress, Michael, and I know you did, too.
Michael, I have never seen a better or more loving parent. You are bringing your children up with single-minded love and manage to gently discipline them, as well. I have never seen two better behaved or lovable children, (including my own).
You are an exemplary father. You would no more take a chance with your children’s safety than fly to the moon. If people could only see you with the children, and the time you spend with them, and the love. Not just pretty clothes & gifts, but pure unconditional love. And they respond so completely in kind.
If only you would let people see the real you more, but I understand how shy you are and you understand also how I shy I am, but we are both professionals. I did my best to keep my kids away from the public eye, and they have grown up so beautifully. I am so proud of them, and yours are kids I’m proud to know. They are beautiful inside and out, like you.
Don’t ever let them get you down, Michael. You’re loved by too many, especially this kid. I love you just as much as I always have and understand you just as much as I always have. Don’t hide. You haven’t done anything to be ashamed of. Be proud of how you are bringing up children. God knows I am.
I love you with all my heart, and because I know you so well, I will always understand where others may not. But you know something: Screw the others!
All my love, signed Elizabeth Taylor”
Shopping in the Bashir Documentary, 2003
Bashir: Do you like to buy jewellery?
MJ: No. For my mother, Elizabeth Taylor, yes. Elizabeth loves jewellery. My mother loves jewellery. And uh, (smiles) if there’s a girl I like at the moment, I’ll buy her jewellery.
Bashir: Who’s that?
MJ: If there is one I like at the moment.
Bashir: Is there?
MJ: At the moment, no. Not right now. I still haven’t found one yet.
November 22, 2003
Elizabeth Taylor (actress/friend of Michael): “I believe Michael is absolutely innocent and that he’ll be vindicated. The press has behaved so abominably towards Michael. Their whole reaction is that he is guilty. I thought the law was innocent until proven guilty. I know he’s innocent. I hope they all eat crow.” Taylor is refusing to comment on camera as a protest of media treatment of Jackson.
Geraldo Riviera Interview, January 19 2005
Rivera: Do you want to mention the names of the true blue?
Jackson: Faithful, you wouldn’t know them.
Rivera: Elizabeth Taylor.
Jackson: She is very loyal. I was just at her house. We have wonderful talks on the phone at night, several times a week sometimes.
Rivera: How long have you two been friends?
Jackson: I’ve known Elizabeth closely since 1984.
After His Acquittal, June 15 2005,
“Thank God Michael is vindicated for all time,” said one of his most loyal famous pals, Elizabeth Taylor. “Now, maybe people will leave him alone.”
Jackson Weighing Getaway Destinations, Roger Friedman, June 16, 2005
Their destination is supposed to be secret, but the choices have been winnowed down to two locales: Switzerland and South Africa. In the case of the former, Jackson has carte blanche to use Elizabeth Taylor’s home in Gstaad. But I’m told it’s more likely he will take up occupancy at a home he owns in Geneva. This little known asset is held in brother Jermaine’s name, but the real owner is said to be Michael.
Elizabeth on Larry King, May 30th 2006
KING: Michael Jackson. The story of your friendship with him, how did that begin?
TAYLOR: I went to a concert, and I couldn’t see a thing. I was way up in the — well, it was a stadium. And I couldn’t see a thing. And I brought 30 people, and we couldn’t even hear. So we went home to watch it on television by disc. And Michael heard that I had left halfway through, and called me the next day, and was like in tears because he had heard that I’d walked out. I hadn’t walked out. I just couldn’t see anything.
And then we talked on the phone for about three hours, and from there on in, we talked more and more on the phone. Then we met, and spent more and more time with each other, and just became really good friends. Told each other everything.
KING: Why did you like him so much?
TAYLOR: We’re very much alike.
KING: Are you?
TAYLOR: Yes. We both had horrible childhoods. Well, working at the age of 9 is not a childhood. He started at 3, and that certainly isn’t a childhood.
KING: Have you spoken to him recently?
TAYLOR: Yes, I have.
KING: How’s he doing? He’s in where?
TAYLOR: He sounds very happy.
KING: Where is he?
TAYLOR: At the moment, I think he was in London.
KING: But he was in Tokyo recently, and then London.
KING: But he lives in Bahrain?
KING: What did you think of the charges against him?
TAYLOR: I’ve never been so angry in my life.
KING: But didn’t you think, Elizabeth, Dame Elizabeth, I’m sorry, that it would look strange to people to have someone who is in his 40s spending a night with children? I mean, just on the face of it.
TAYLOR: All right. I’ll answer that, because I’ve been there, when his nephews were there, and we all were in the bed, watching television. There was nothing abnormal about it. There was no touchy-feely going on. We laughed like children, and we watched a lot of Walt Disney. There was nothing odd about it.
KING: So you think they were out after him?
TAYLOR: I do.
KING: The authorities and the like?
TAYLOR: I think the paparazzi started — not the paparazzi, the press. Excuse me.
KING: Is he going to come back to working?
TAYLOR: I don’t think so. Except maybe in Europe.
KING: You don’t think he’ll ever live in the United States again?
TAYLOR: Well, really, why should he? He’s been treated like dirt here.
Michael can’t attend Elizabeth Taylor’s Birthday Due to Lawsuit, 27th February 2007,
He had to give a deposition for the Ayscough & Marar lawsuit on this same date.
Elizabeth Taylor’s 75th Birthday, Entertainment News, Yahoo, Feb 27th 2007,
Among Taylor’s closest friends are pop star Michael Jackson, whose spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday in a news release that he is now living in Las Vegas.
Taylor said she spoke with Jackson earlier in the day but didn’t expect him to attend her party.
Elizabeth Taylor’s 75th Birthday, Vegaspopular.com, Feb 27th 2007,
Michael Jackson had been expected to attend because he was the Vegas catalyst for the party, we were told by Elizabeth herself that he wasn’t able to make it. However, there were still rumors that he slipped in privately for the strictly-closed event.
Asked about Michael Jackson’s no-show, Elizabeth commented, “I’ve spoken to him, but he can’t come.”
Elizabeth Taylor’s 75th Birthday, TMZ, Feb 27th 2007
Taylor’s friend Michael Jackson was unable to make it to the bash, because he had, per Liz, “business things going on.”
Rocking Horse From Elizabeth, Julien’s Auction of Neverland Items, 2007
Michael visiting Elizabeth Taylor, 2008
Bill Whitfield on fbook, Bodyguard from 2007-2009
Q: Hi Bill, did you know Elizabeth Taylor? You and your team will talk about her, mention her in the book?
A: – We don’t expect to mention her in the book, however that may change. she was one of MJs close friends, we never met but we did speak via telephone.
Michael and his children stay with her over Easter, Roger Friedman, (reported: March 23 2011), 12th April 2009
Her other best pal, Michael Jackson, sadly preceded her in death. And what people don’t know is that two years ago, on Easter, Jackson and his kids were with Taylor even as he was rehearsing for his London shows. Their friendship endured just about everything.
Elizabeth Taylor on twitter (speculated to be about MJ), June 23 2009
Somebody I care for very much sent the following note to me with flowers and I wanted to share it with you.
Dearest Elizabeth, You make the sun shine, the clouds move and the world spin. So many people love you and so do I. Love Always,______
Carole Bayer Sager tribute to Michael, June 25 2009
He was one of, if not THE greatest entertainer of all time, and was without question the ‘King of Pop.’ He was also my friend. He recorded a song of mine on his 1979 Off The Wall album and in 1981 we sang a duet together. We spent a considerable amount of time together in 2001 at my home music studio and I saw him in a totally different light – as a nurturing and caring father. I was so honored that he dedicated that album to me. My heart and prayers are with his family, his three children, my friend Elizabeth Taylor, and all us who are mourning the premature loss of his very precious life.”
Elizabeth Taylor’s publicist, June 25 2009
From the publicist of Jackson’s friend Dame Elizabeth Taylor:
“Dame Elizabeth Taylor is too devastated by the passing of her dear friend Michael Jackson to issue a statement at this time. We will direct her words to you once we receive them.”
Elizabeth Taylor, twitter, June 26th 2009
My heart…my mind…are broken. I loved Michael with all my soul and I can’t imagine life without him.
We had so much in common and we had such loving fun together.
I was packing up my clothes to go to London for his opening when I heard the news. I still can’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it.
It can’t be so. He will live in my heart forever but it’s not enough. My life feels so empty.
I don’t think anyone knew how much we loved each other. The purest most giving love I’ve ever known. Oh god! I’m going to miss him.
I can’t imagine life without him. But I guess with God’s help I’ll learn.
I keep looking at the photo he gave me of himself which says, “To my true love Elizabeth, I love you forever.” And I will love HIM forever.
Elizabeth Taylor, Twitter, July 6th 2009
I wanted you my friends to know that I’m going into the hospital Wednesday or Thursday to complete a test I was in the middle of.
Although my grief over Michael could not be any deeper, I am not on suicide watch as some of the cheaper “rags” would have you believe.
I am a survivor not only for myself, but for my family and for Michael too.
I will always love Michael from the depth of my being and nothing can separate us.
I’ve been asked to speak at the Staples Center. I cannot be part of the public whoopla.
And I cannot guarantee that I would be coherent to say a word.
I just don’t believe that Michael would want me to share my grief with millions of others. How I feel is between us. Not a public event.
I said I wouldn’t go to the Staples Center and I certainly don’t want to become a part of it. I love him too much.
My love goes out to Katherine and Michael’s beloved children.
Elizabeth Taylor, Twitter, July 18 2009
I’m home from the hospital sore, but intact. Of course I’m still grieving for Michael…I always will.
But as I said before I went into the hospital, “I am a survivor.”
I’ve had many tragedies in my life, but I guess they have all taught me something. I have to look at it that way.
I have to be stronger and more appreciative of what I do have.
I give love and I’m surrounded by love…and I thank God for that.
Michael Jackson’s funeral, September 3rd, 2009
Elizabeth Taylor Wants to be Buried Alongside Michael Jackson, National Enquirer,Thursday September 24, 2009
Elizabeth Taylor wants to be buried next to Michael Jackson.
The 77-year-old actress was close friends with the late pop icon and wants her final resting place to be alongside Michael at Los Angeles’ Forest Lawn cemetery.
A source told America’s National Enquirer magazine, “After sitting through Michael’s funeral service at the Great Mausoleum, with its magnificent stained-glass windows and replicas of Michelangelo’s artworks, she later told friends, ‘I felt a sense of peace there that I’ve never experienced before.’ ”
Elizabeth is said to be searching for a plot next to Michael — who died on June 25 of acute Propofol intoxication
Michael’s children visit Elizaebth, 11th October 2009
Taj Jackson on twitter: It was actually on Sunday that we went to visit Elizabeth T.
Elizabeth and Michael’s kids visit Universal Studios, Oct 16 2009
Paris hugging Elizabeth
Prince & Paris go to Universal Studios with Elizabeth Taylor, Grace, Omer, Miko Bando, Taj, TJ, Royal, Jaafar & Jermajesty.
Elizabeth Taylor gets her own private viewing of This Is It at Sony
She brings with her several family members, Miko Brando, Evvy Tavasci and Jose Eber.
Elizabeth Taylor, Twitter, October 26 2009
I was honored with the great privilege of seeing “This Is It” last week. I was sworn to secrecy, but now I can let you know about it.
It is the single most brilliant piece of filmmaking I have ever seen. It cements forever Michael’s genius in every aspect of creativity.
To say the man is a genius is an understatement. He cradles each note, coaxes the music to depths beyond reality.
I wept from pure joy at his God given gift. There will never, ever be the likes of him again.
And we have this piece of film to remind us forever and ever that once there was such a man. God kissed him.
God blessed him and squandered nothing, but loved it all. Michael knew how to put together every tone, every nuance to make magic.
To say he was a genius seems so little. I wish my vocabulary encompassed what I feel.
You owe it to yourselves and your loved ones to see this again and again. Memorize it and say to yourselves, “I saw genius in my lifetime”
I loved genius in my lifetime. God was so good to me. I will love Michael forever and so will you, if you don’t already.
I hope I don’t sound condescending. I’m sure you already know what I’m talking about, but go to see it again and again.
I meant to repeat myself. I love you. I remember Michael loved you. He was totally up to now and the message of today in all his songs
If you listen to his lyrics they are those of a modern day prophet and it beseeches us to listen to him and what he sang.
I won’t use words like preaching because that is off-putting, but listen. Listen to his messages.
From “Black And White”, “Man In The Mirror”. The inspiration behind “We Are The World”. We must take his words of responsibility seriously.
We cannot let his life be in vain / and always done with love. Remember that. Remember him and thank God for him and his genius.
Kenny Ortega did a masterful job of directing the process that goes into making a complete show before hitting the stage.
From A to Z you get Michael’s input on every level. Michael’s genius at work with the dancers. Mr. Ortega catches Michael in his every mood.
You see in front of your eyes Michael’s genius blossoming on this piece of film thanks to Kenny Ortega and his crews.
I truly believe this film should be nominated in every category conceivable.
Elizabeth Declines To Have Her Photo Used on the “Michael” cover, 14th December 2010
Nelson painted a host of Jackson’s famous friends into the piece, but audiences will never see Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, Oprah Winfrey and Debbie Rowe in reproductions. Nelson and Jackie say those famous folks withheld copyright permission and will be left out of released artwork. The most surprising refusal, Jackie says, was Taylor’s. “All the things he’s done for Liz Taylor,” he murmurs, shaking his head. Who can be spotted in posters? Friends such as Naomi Campbell, Tatum O’Neal and ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley.
Elizabeth Taylor in response to Klein’s allegations about MJ being in a relationship with Jason Pfeiffer, Twitter, 13th May 2010
Dr. Arnie Klein declared on May 2 that he did not betray Michael Jackson by saying publicly that he had a homosexual relationship with someone in “Arnie’s” office. It seems he supplies not only women (Debbie Rowe), but men too…how convenient.
Just what we want in our doctors. And then to say he did not betray Michael’s confidence. No wonder he has death threats.
I thought doctors, like priests took an oath of confidentiality. May God have mercy on his soul.
Elizabeth Taylor passes away, 23rd March 2011
Tito Jackson: Elizabeth Taylor was an impactful person in this industry and on society as a whole,” Tito said in a statement. “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,” he added. “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.”
Jackie Jackson: “Rest in peace Elizabeth thank you for all the wonderful memories I know you’ve only left the physical world and that you live on forever ~ J”
La Toya Jackson: “Today we lost another legend, Elizabeth Taylor. She was an amazing actress! She will be missed greatly! My heart goes out to her family. Liz Taylor was an incredible friend to my brother at his side through some of his most difficult times…”
TJ Jackson: “RIP, Elizabeth, I’ll never forget the love and support you gave my Uncle and our family. Your heart was gold. God Bless you and your family.”
Karen Faye: “She was such a beautiful light in this world…especially in Michael’s world. I will never forget how much she made him laugh. They were such a joy to be around. Elizabeth was a person Michael could always rely on for support, honesty and being annoyed by her little white dog.”
Elizabeth Taylor never put fame ahead of friendship, BILL ZWECKER, March 23 2011
Back when most Americans were either ignorant about AIDS — or even aware of the disease — Elizabeth Taylor not only took up the cause, but continued to be an active and very visible spokeswoman for the fight to find a cure.
“I believe that is the most important thing I have ever done,” Taylor told me at the Academy Awards, when she returned a few years ago, joined by Michael Jackson.
Also, not only was Taylor an amazing philanthropist, but she had the reputation as being one of very few Hollywood stars to never let her fame get in the way of friendship.
If Elizabeth was your friend — she was loyal forever. When I mentioned her reputation for great friendship at that Oscars’ Governors Ball, Michael Jackson interrupted her to say, “Elizabeth’s friendship is like the perfect jewels she owns — indestructible and eternal.”
Larry King on Elizabeth Taylor, March 23 2011
“When Hannity asked what made Taylor special, King replied ‘She didn’t have a line cut between brain and mouth. You asked her a question; she answered it. She was not fearful of what public opinion thought of her. She fought the battle for AIDS before Rock Hudson had AIDS… She stood up for Michael Jackson in his worst days. It didn’t matter if you agreed with her or not, it was her ability to be so forceful for so many things and loyalty… If she was your friend Sean, she was your friend, you can’t buy loyalty.”
Elizabeth Taylor To Be Buried Today, Stephen M. Silverman, March 24, 2011
Elizabeth Taylor, who converted to Judaism for her marriages to Mike Todd and Eddie Fisher, is following the rules of the religion by being buried soon after her death Wednesday.
The funeral for the star, who succumbed to congestive heart failure at age 79, is taking place at Forest Lawn, Glendale, on Thursday, say reports. It will be strictly for family members, including her 10 grandchildren.
The cemetery is also where Taylor’s friend, Michael Jackson is buried.
It is expected that a public memorial for Taylor will take place at a later date.
Carrie Fisher on Piers Morgan, 24th March 2011
Carrie Fisher: “One night we went on a double date, it was Elizabeth and Michael Jackson and Shirley Mclaine and myself. And it was like (laughing) nobody noticed Shirely and I. Michael had given her that day, Michael gave her jewellery, and she loved presents and he had given her these earrings and necklace that night and I remember how happy she was.”
Carole Bayer Sager on Elizabeth, March 24 2011
Sager has heaped praise on Taylor for her longstanding friendship and revealed how the actress supported many of her employees and showbiz pals, including Michael Jackson and actor Roddy McDowall.
She adds, “She was an extraordinary friend – and not just for the good times. She showed up in my life when my marriage broke up many years ago, to Burt Bacharach. She was there for her friends, for her family, her assistant Tim. (Before) his mother died this year she insisted she come and stay at her home and made a hospice for Tim’s mum and she made a hospice for her longtime publicist, who died in Elizabeth’s home.
“She was there for Roddy McDowall who she loved dearly, they were child actors together. She knew how to show up. She showed up for Michael Jackson. When he needed support she flew around the world to be with him. She was an extraordinary, loving, generous friend.”
Michael Jackson considered Dame Elizabeth Taylor as “royalty”, March 25, 2011
The late singer – who was known as the ‘King of Pop’ – was a close friend of the Hollywood beauty, who passed away on Wednesday (23.03.11) aged 79, and believed they understood each other because they had both been child stars.
Their mutual friend David Gest said: “I recall the time we were having dinner at La Scala restaurant in Beverly Hills. People flocked around her – it was funny because for once Michael wasn’t the centre of attention.
“I remember he leaned over and whispered to me, ‘Now that’s what you call royalty.’
“To Americans she was royalty, she was the closest thing they have to a queen and everywhere she went people fawned over her. Michael once told me that the reason they got along so well was that she was a child star herself, so understood him completely.”
Concert promoter David also revealed ‘Thriller’ singer – who died in June 2009 – would often shower the ‘Cleopatra’ star with gifts, and felt he could be “human” when he was with her.
David added to The Sun newspaper: “They would take trips together to New York or London. And Elizabeth loved lavish gifts. Michael would shower her with presents of jewellery and said she was like an excited little kid when he presented her with something new.
“She loved this specific violet rose which you could only get in this one Beverly Hills florist.”
Elizabeth started her career aged 10 in the film ‘There’s One Born Every Minute’ in 1942, and went on to become one of the biggest stars of the ‘Golden Age of Hollywood’ in the 1950s. She continued acting until 2001 appearing in the TV film ‘These Old Broads’.
Michael shot to fame as a member of The Jackson Five, which he starred in from the age of six with his brothers, before going on to become one of the biggest pop stars of all-time.
The group had their first hit with lead vocals from Michael in 1969 with ‘I Want You Back’.
Los Angeles (CNN) – Even in death, legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor set her own style, 2011
A private service was held Thursday at Forest Lawn memorial park for Taylor, her publicist said. But although the funeral was scheduled to start at 2 p.m., Taylor had left specific instructions that it not begin until 15 minutes later.
“She even wanted to be late for her own funeral,” Sally Morrison said in a news release.
Taylor died Wednesday at the age of 79. She had been hospitalized six weeks ago with congestive heart failure, a condition she had suffered from “for some years.”
The multi-denominational service Thursday was open only to close friends and immediate family, and included poetry readings.
Actor and close friend Colin Farrell recited “The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo,” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Her grandson Rhys Tivey performed “Amazing Grace” on the trumpet.
Taylor’s final resting place at Forest Lawn — the same place of burial for her longtime friend Michael Jackson — is in the memorial park’s Great Mausoleum “sheltered beneath a soaring marble Michelangelo angel,” Morrison said.Jackson is buried in another area of Forest Lawn, Glendale police Sgt. Thomas Lorenz said.
Taylor converted to Judaism in 1959. Jewish custom teaches that burial should take place as soon as possible after death, preferably within 24 hours.
In addition to Thursday’s private service, fans will also get their chance to pay respects to Taylor. Details of a memorial service are expected to be announced at a later date. The family has asked that instead of flowers, contributions be made to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS foundation.