Elizabeth Taylor(1930’s) and her dog Monty
Elizabeth Taylor, father Francis, brother Howard, horse Betty and dog Monty
“My happiest moments as a child were riding my Newfoundland pony, Betty, in the woods on 3,000 acres of my godfather’s(Victor Cazalet) estate near the village of Crambrook, in Kent(England),” recalled Elizabeth. “Our family lived in the hunting lodge. I was given the pony when I was three. The very first time I got on her back, she threw me into a patch of stinging nettles.”(dameelizabethtaylor.com)
“The most vivid memories of my youth-when I was allowed to be young before I was in films-are of riding my horse in the country. There is nothing as beautiful as the English countryside.”(POZ 1997)
“I sometimes think I prefer animals to people,” Elizabeth once said. “And I was lucky. My first leading men were dogs and horses.”
Elizabeth and Sugar
The above interview with Paolo Limiti took place after Elizabeth’s brain tumor
was successfully removed in 1997 and before Sugar’s death in 2005
Elizabeth’s love for her beloved white maltese named Sugar, a constant companion from a puppy of three months of age until her death at 12 years old in 2005. “I’ve never loved a dog like this in my life,” said Elizabeth in 2004. “It’s amazing. Sometimes I think there’s a person in there.” Continuing, Elizabeth said, “There’s something to say for this kind of love—it’s unconditional.” Sugar went everywhere Elizabeth went, from press tours for her perfumes, to shopping excursions and she became a star in her own right.
Elizabeth and Daisy
After Sugar’s death, Elizabeth fell in love with Daisy, another white Maltese that is actually a descendant of Sugar
ELIZABETH TAYLOR AND DAISY LARRY KING LIVE MAY 30/2006When Elizabeth Taylor was in the hospital Oct 2009 to have a leaky heart valve repaired, she tweeted her friend Kathy Ireland :
“Thanks Darling for the beautiful flowers and all the prayers.” “Now can you just get my puppy past hospital security. Love.”
Elizabeth’s affinity for animals is obvious in the Lassie movies and National Velvet.
Elizabeth Taylor’s first film at MGM was in the 1943 classic Lassie Come Home
This 15 minute clip of Elizabeth and Lassie were stitched together.
The film that made Elizabeth a star was National Velvet, which became an overwhelming success upon its release in December 1944 grossing $4 million and
Elizabeth was signed to a new long-term contract that raised her salary from $100 a week(Lassie Come Home) to $30,000 per year. Also upon completion of National Velvet M.G.M. gifted Elizabeth “The Pi”.
Each morning Elizabeth would ride her horse before going to the studio and she felt it was one of the few times while under contract to MGM that she had absolute freedom.
Elizabeth did most of her own riding and stunts in National Velvet. Her back problems go back to an injury she suffered in the movie.
“I felt NATIONAL VELVET was an extension of myself. I got my first horse when I was three- It was the only sport that I really excelled in”
ELIZABETH TAYLOR DISCUSSES NATIONAL VELVET
NATIONAL VELVET – ELIZABETH TAYLOR’S RIDING SCENES
COURAGE OF LASSIE TRAILER (1946)
Elizabeth’s love for animals includes a pet chipmunk she named Nibbles
Genesis of Nibbles and Me
Excerpt from Interview Magazine, Interview Loves Elizabeth Taylor by Ingrid Sischy
“When I was young(13), I caught 26 chipmunks–wait, I think it was 28–26 or 28. One let himself be captured. He had the mange, poor little mite, and I didn’t want to put him in with the other ones because I didn’t want them all to get the mange, so he’d come up and crawl all over me and I’d give him a little kiss and shush him off and he’d go a couple of feet away from me, sit up on his little haunches, and just look at me through the tattered fur. It broke my heart! Then finally I found one that was almost as friendly that I brought back to [live with me]. I let the [others] all loose and said bye with tears.
I brought Nibbles back home to California with me and I had him for five years and he was one of the most unusual pets I’ve ever had. I even took him to the White House with me.
I caught all these chipmunks myself. I trapped them with a cardboard box, pulled the string when they were inside, put on leather gloves that were dipped in turpentine so that when they bit into me they wouldn’t like the taste–a trainer told me that–and I got up to 28 and built this very intricate cage. I wrote a book about us, illustrated it.
You’ll see the cage that I made by hand, with hammer and nails. It was really sad letting those critters go. And, it was really sad when Nibbles died. I had left him loose in my room. I always did. And it was Easter. I had left a big chocolate Easter egg, opened, way up on top of a wardrobe at a house we were renting on the beach. I came charging into my room to get some dry clothes. The minute I came into the room, I’d always hear a clatter from wherever he was swinging, and he’d come running up my leg. But there was no sound, there was nothing. I called and I called. I looked up at the wardrobe and there was the chocolate Easter egg, half gone, and there was Nibbles, dead, lying beside it with his little feet up in the air. I almost died myself.
Just like chocolate is deathly bad for dogs, it is awful for all kinds of animals.” To read the complete interview by Ingrid Sischy: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1285/is_1_37/ai_n24250457/?tag=content;col1
NIBBLES AND ME
In 1946, Elizabeth Taylor published a book about her pet chipmunk, Nibbles. Nibbles was written when she was just 14, Elizabeth Taylor’s Nibbles and Me is about Elizabeth’s experiences and her adventures with her pet chipmunk. The memoir first issued in 1946 contains Taylor’s original b&w sketches as well as photographs of the two friends together.
Elizabeth and Nibbles were virtually inseparable during the shooting of National Velvet and other films; Recounted here are such stories as the happiest birthday of her life, when she was given King Charles, the horse who was called The Pi in National Velvet, because only Elizabeth could ride him.
Elizabeth walking Nibbles was a common occurrence on the MGM lot. Elizabeth even took Nibbles along to interviews with columnists Hedda Hopper and Sheila Graham.
Elizabeth’s most exotic pet was a baby lion. Elizabeth’s interview with Kevin Sessums(POZ November 1997):
“Then during my childhood here in Hollywood, I remember going to a party at a man’s house-his name was Atwater Kent, of all things. It was a huge house somewhere around here in Bel Air. He had a circus party. In one of the cages was a baby lion. I was about 12. I remember that I took that baby lion out of the cage because it was so hot. I got it some water. Atwater was in his 70s. A very rich man. He owned something called Kent radioes, or something like that. He had this cultivated English kind of accent. He saw me with the lion cub and said, “Oh, take it home with you, darling.” So I did. I took it home with me. It was chewing on my dress and leaving slobber all over me.My father said, “Elizabeth, you cannot bring up a lion in Beverly Hills. You have to take it back.” I said, “I can’t take it back. How will I find the people? They’ve all gone home.” I kept it for a couple of days. My mother took my little silk dress to the clearners.A few days later she went to pick up the dress, and the cleaner said, “We can’t get this stain out, Mrs. Taylor. What in the world is it? And my mother, who was kind of like Billie Burke, shrugged and said, “Oh, it’s just lion drool.”
When Landon Y. Jones of People Magazine interviewed Elizabeth Taylor in 1990
He found her surrounded by: a collie, a baby parrot named Max that she was hand feeding; his predecessor Alvin lived with Elizabeth for 10 years until he died that fall and a miniature goat named Marina a gift from Larry Fortensky. “She’s named after the first hospital I was in, at Marina del Rey,” Elizabeth recalls. “She was just a baby, and Larry smuggled her in in a little cardboard box. I thought it was a cake, but it was a tiny goat.”
ELIZABETH TAYLOR GIFTS MICHAEL JACKSON AN ELEPHANT NAMED GYPSY CHRISTMAS 1991
MICHAEL JACKSON – “WHAT ELIZABETH DIDN’T KNOW I WAS PLANNING A SURPRISE FOR HER ALSO”
AS OF 1991 MICHAEL JACKSON HAD SEEN ONLY ONE OF ELIZABETH TAYLOR’S FILMS WHICH WAS THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER
Elizabeth returns to the White Cliffs of Dover
Elizabeth Taylor returned from the United States to her early childhood stomping grounds when she made the movie the White Cliffs of Dover in 1944. The cliffs spread east and west from the town of Dover in the county of Kent, an ancient and still important English port.
Elizabeth Taylor was born in Hampstead, a wealthy district of north-west London. Little Swallows was the Taylors weekend and summer country home near Cranbrook, Kent.
The home was named Little Swallows after the family of swallows that lived outside Elizabeth’s bedroom window, but previously it was known locally as the “haunted house” as immortalized by Jeffrey Farnol in his novel, The Broad Highway.
The home was described as a place where birds perpetually sang. “It was so beautiful,” Elizabeth once wrote, “like a little house out of a Walt Disney film nestled against a lovely woods that was almost like a bird sanctuary.” “There were hundreds of acres to roam over and a farm of sorts. My brother and I made pets of all the animals—pet rabbits, pet turtles, pet lambs, pet goats, pet chickens. One of her pet chickens was named Strawberry. It was my idea of real bliss.” On the weekends Elizabeth would ride her pony, Betty, a gift from her godfather Victor Cazalet.
ELIZABETH TAYLOR’S 1993 PRESS CONFERENCE REGARDING MICHAEL JACKSON’S HOSPITALIZATION FOR HIS ADDICTION TO PRESCRIPTION DRUGS – ” I have suffered and dealt with the same kind of medical problems now affecting my friend Michael Jackson” – Elizabeth Taylor
“I am a friend of Michael Jackson and I love him like a son”
ELIZABETH TAYLOR HUMANITARIAN
“I hope with all of my heart that in some way I have made a difference in the lives of people with AIDS. I want that to be my legacy. Better that than for the mole on my cheek.”
Elizabeth Taylor on Larry King Live July 22/1996 – Elizabeth discusses AIDS and Rock Hudson
POZ MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 1997
“I haven’t been back(to Britain) for five years because of the quarantine law with Sugar. They don’t allow dogs in. It is so ridiculous, because of that tunnel they’ve built. Rats can now hail a taxi and go back and forth to the Continent” Elizabeth Taylor (and Sugar) POZ 1997.
POZ magazine and poz.com are the nation’s leading publication and website about HIV/AIDS. Offering unparalleled editorial excellence, POZ and poz.com are identified by their readers as their most trusted sources of information about the disease. Serving the community of people living with and those affected by HIV/AIDS since 1994, POZ chronicles the AIDS pandemic domestically-and around the world.
“When I first started doing the work I did for AIDS,” she says, “it was very unpopular. A lot of people told me I’d be badly burned by it, that it was very undignified. And I didn’t give a hoot what people thought about it then, and I don’t now. It’s just that there has to be something done about it. I want to do all I can because I have to live with me.” People Dec. 10/1990
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton on March 24/1970 , just after their sixth wedding anniversary, invited Charles Collingwood and “60 Minutes” to the home of Taylor’s mother in Bel Air, Calif., where the couple discussed their relationship.Elizabeth Taylor “I think having a fight. An outright, ridiculous fight is one of the greatest exercise in martial togetherness.”
Film Legend Dame Elizabeth Taylor Dies at 79
On line Bidding Begins for Elizabeth Taylor’s Gowns and Gems today,December 3/2011 at Christie’s Auction House. Part of the proceeds from the Christie’s auction will go to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. Taylor’s entire estate has been valued up to $1 billion when she died of congestive heart failure at the age of 79 on March 23, 2011.
Elizabeth Taylor Richard Burton Wedding 1974
Elizabeth Taylor was and is a fearless advocate in the fight against AIDS from the very beginning when it was still thought of as a “gay man’s disease”. AIDS was so feared and stigmatized that Elizabeth Taylor’s advocacy could have cost her her fan base, friends and colleagues. When approached to help with a fundraiser(AIDS PROJECT LOS ANGELES); she didn’t want to be just an honorary; Elizabeth and her publicist, Chen Sam planned the dinner from a small office they rented and she started making phone calls herself. Her own industry was hit hard by this disease but when asked to participate in this fundraiser many were very resistant and even hung up on her. During the planning of this dinner her dear friend and twice co-star Rock Hudson became ill with AIDS and she became even more determined to educate people about AIDS and eradicate the fear, stigma and ignorance associated with this disease and of course help find a cure.
The effects of Hudson’s illness were new and horrifying . Elizabeth took Hudson’s hand when they appeared in public, and she took up his cause with Congress.
She called for a massive research effort to extinguish this modern plague, and she reminded her listeners that blunt talk would be a necessary part of any program to teach people about how to avoid contracting this sexually-transmitted disease. “It’s bad enough that people are dying of AIDS,” she declared, “but no one should die of ignorance.”
No legislation was signed-not that day, or that year, or that decade. Ronald Reagan made no public reference whatsoever to the epidemic during his first term as President.
On September 19, 1985, the inaugural Commitment to Life dinner was finally held. 2,500 people filled the Bonaventure Hotel and although it initially proved difficult, Elizabeth’s peers in the entertainment industry did lend their support. Elizabeth’s dear friend Sammy Davis Jr., was among the first to agree, and Burt Reynolds emceed. Other celebrities such as Abigail Van Buren, Cyndi Lauper, Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder and Cher all appeared. The evening was a success and one million dollars were raised that evening. Rock Hudson died two weeks later.
In 1985, Elizabeth Taylor joined with Dr. Mathilde Krim and a small group of physicians and scientists to form the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). As amfAR’s Founding National Chairman, she became the new organization’s principal spokesperson and head.
In 1986, she starred in a series of amfAR-produced television spots and made countless public appearances on the Foundation’s behalf. She later testified before Congress, most notably to ensure Senate support for the Ryan White CARE Act of 1990, which remains a primary source of federal funding for HIV/AIDS programs nationwide.
In October, 1991, Elizabeth established The Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation (ETHAF). With a focus on direct patient care, ETHAF provides funding to AIDS service organizations throughout the world to assist those living with HIV and AIDS.
Patient care is largely what led Elizabeth to establish The Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation in 1991. Elizabeth has always covered the overhead, making sure that all the money raised goes towards the individuals who need it most. According to Elizabeth, ETAF “researches all the requests. We weed them out, and find out about their overhead. If their overhead is exorbitant, I don’t give them money because I know it’s going into somebody’s pocket. My foundation is for the individual. I want the money to get to the sick who can’t get out of bed,” said Elizabeth. These organizations that ETAF have supported include Caring For Babies With AIDS, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, LIFE, and Mother Saradadevi Social Service Society. The Elizabeth Taylor HIV/AIDS Foundation has also given funds to support education, condom giveaways, and needle exchange programs. Elizabeth still remains deeply committed to amfAR.
PETS ARE WONDERFUL SUPPORT (PAWS) Los Angeles, Calafornia receives a grant from ETAF.
The healing powers of a companion animal are well documented, and Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) is an organization dedicated to preserving the loving bond between people with HIV/AIDS and their pets. Founded in 1989 in response to the companion animal-related crises faced by residents of Los Angeles County who were financially and physically debilitated by HIV/AIDS, PAWS has continued to serve the community and meet the financial, physical and emotional challenges of caring for a pet, both in and outside of the home.
PAWS/LA provides a comprehensive package of essential animal support services to those in need, including veterinary care, spay/neuter services, pet food, grooming assistance, temporary foster care and dog walking.
ETAF’s grant funds will be used for the provision of veterinary services to pets of people with HIV/AIDS.
Since its inception, the Foundation has raised funds for HIV/AIDS service organizations throughout the world, providing critically-needed support services and prevention education. A current major effort is providing mobile medical van units, bringing doctors and medicines directly to those most in need, whether in cities in the United States or in villages throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Recognition for her advocacy:
Simon Wiesenthal Distinguished Service Award
The Legion d’Honneur for her work with amfAR – France
The Prince of Asturias Award for her work with amfAR – Spain
AFI Life Achievement Award
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
Screen Actors Guild – Life Achievement Award
Dame of the British Empire – United Kingdom
GLAAD Vanguard Award (The Vanguard Award is presented annually at the Los Angeles GLAAD Media Awards to honor a member of the entertainment community who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for LGBT(lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community)
Presidential Citizens Medal
Kennedy Center Honor