I fell in love with Elizabeth Taylor the first time I saw the movie Cleopatra. I was in 5th grade and the movie came on TV. Why we watched it, I don't remember. I think it was one of my moms favorite movies and for whatever reason I watched it with her. All I remember was how beautiful she was and how cool the naval battle was. I've been a sucker for that movie ever since.
Once I was in college I saw Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and I fell in love with her all over again. This time it was for her amazing ability to bring a character to life and make her audience forget the actress. She was brilliant in that movie and just about everything else I have ever seen her in, including The Flintstones movie. If you have never seen Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? watch this clip and you will understand what made me respect her so much.
What I really respect her for though is her activism on behalf of HIV/AIDS awareness and research. When most of this country was running away out of fear, she was one of the few outspoken public figures trying to give a voice to those who were being stricken down by the disease. She helped to found amfAR, the American Foundation for AIDS Research and started her own foundation. She testified against the ban of allowing HIV/AIDS positive people from even entering the United States and she never stopped speaking out on a cause she felt so passionately about.
She was a brilliant actress and an even stronger voice for those who were deprived of one. She will be missed by millions, and I am one of them.