CHICAGO (CBS) – She was the Queen of the Nile, a southern belle and an American icon. On Wednesday, the world was remembering the great Elizabeth Taylor for her many roles.
Her work on-screen was just as riveting and tumultuous as her life off-screen, but everyone seemed to love Liz Taylor.
CBS NEWS Coverage: Taylor died Wednesday at the age of 79.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot has more on Taylor’s life and her connections to Chicago, including a local HIV/AIDS charity.
“She stood up and spoke up at a time when there was such a strong stigma,” Chicago House CEO Stan Sloan said.
Taylor raised millions of dollars for organizations devoted to helping those with HIV and AIDS. Chicago House was one of them.
“Today we serve over 1,000 people a year and so, if you multiply that over the years, just all of the lives she’s touched here locally, as well as nationally. … It’s fantastic,” Sloan said.
Taylor’s goodwill didn’t stop with charitable organizations. She helped the Goodman Theatre move to its current location.
“The Goodman Theatres were the Todd and the Cinestage Theaters owned by Elizabeth Taylor and her husband Michael Todd,” said Roche Schulfer, Executive Director of Goodman Theatre. “Through an arrangement with the city, the buildings were donated so that it could become the new home of the Goodman Theatre.”
Taylor was also known for her exquisite taste in jewelry. She even wrote a book about it.
“It symbolizes glamour. It symbolizes a personal history that she had with her jewels,” said Tobina Kahn of House of Kahn Estate Jewelers.
Kahn acquired a necklace that was made to look just like Taylor’s ruby and diamond necklace, given to her by her husband, actor Michael Todd.
“A lot of her jewels, she took, you know, symbolizing nature; flowers, certain flowers — anything that had a great style to it,” Kahn said. “She was probably one of the best Hollywood actresses that really understood jewelry and what it meant wearing it.”
Another little known fact, Taylor lived in Chicago during her marriage to Nicky Hilton.
Her residence was the penthouse at The Hilton Chicago. It’s now called the Imperial Suite.
You can experience what Taylor did, for a mere $5,000 a night.
Taylor was one of the few remaining iconic Hollywood stars who hark back to a classic era, Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips said. The handful of surviving greats includes Lauren Bacall and Sophia Loren, he said.
“She really grew up very quickly on camera and became one of the most extraordinarily beautiful young adult faces that the movies have ever known,” Phillips told CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman.