Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit and Glamour of an Icon

HarperAudio Dec. 2022. 14:40 hrs. ISBN 9780063067684. $27.99. BIOG
Elizabeth Taylor may well be the last great star of the classic Hollywood era. In the days before social media and the internet, Taylor stopped the presses with her larger-than-life persona and extravagant lifestyle. In writing this biography, journalist Brower (Team of Five: The Presidents Club in the Age of Trump) was supported by Taylor’s family, who granted interviews and provided access to Taylor’s unpublished letters and diaries. The resulting work contains little detail about her films or professional accomplishments, but there is a plethora of juicy details about the events that kept her in the spotlight—her eight marriages, adulterous affairs, numerous illnesses, and near-death episodes, not to mention her vast jewelry collection, which warrants its own chapter. Much attention is given to her passionate and volatile relationship with Richard Burton, which began during the filming of Cleopatra and would continue through two marriages. Beneath her hard-edged exterior, Taylor treated people with respect and was passionate about rooting for the underdog and for those who were discriminated against, as evidenced by her stalwart activism around AIDS.
VERDICT Eleanor Caudill’s perspicuous narration will compel listeners forward and gives Taylor’s frequent ballsy quotes appropriate rendering. An engrossing, gossipy listen.
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