Hollywood loses a diamond

Elizabeth Taylor is said to be one of the most beautiful women who ever lived, and has left a long legacy behind her. For SMC students, a generation born after Elizabeth's last movie, she is more likely seen as Michael Jackson's loyal best friend, or the presenter who acted drunk at 2000's Golden Globe awards rather than the legendary actress she was. Elizabeth Taylor recently died on March 23 at Cedars-Sinai Hospital from congestive heart failure after being hospitalized for six weeks.  Taylor has had a long and fruitful career, starring in over 50 movie roles, as well as TV shows during the later years of her  career. Her works included Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Father of the Bride, Cleopatra, Butterfield 8, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Taylor was delicious tabloid fodder during the 1950's and 1960's.  Her string of eight different marriages to seven different men constantly kept her in the news as well as her glamorous jet setting lifestyle.  Taylor was a huge fan of diamonds and was bestowed with many gifts, including a famed 33.19-carat Krupp diamond, from her plethora of suitors.

Later in life she wrote a book on her love affair with precious stones and jewelry.  At her death it was estimated that she owned approximately $150 million worth in jewelry.

In the 1980's Taylor became heavily involved with charity work.  Close friend Rock Hudson, who died of AIDS, was one of her influences to become more involved.  In 1985 she became the cofounder and chair of the American Foundation for AIDS Research and later the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

She became a huge influence towards AIDS education because she was one of the first celebrities to acknowledge and talk about the disease. Taylor was involved with AIDS related charities for the rest of her life and donated large sums of money and time to the cause.

The 1990's saw Taylor's branch into entrepreneurship with her launch of her White Diamonds perfume which paved the way for current celebrities endorsing perfumes and cosmetic products with their name attached.  She realized the importance of branding early on.

Elizabeth Taylor is an influence of what celebrity is today and she did it before everyone else.  She craved publicity and was photographed as much as Paris Hilton, had marriages and divorces like Larry King, was the sexpot marriage breaker like Angelina Jolie, and had the acting talent garnering her two academy awards for best actress like Hilary Swank.  She was the package deal and very influential during her flourishing movie career of the 1950's and 1960's.

She will be remembered as a Hollywood pioneer, living the glamorous life.