I'm doing a poetry/story HTML project right now for a class on Digital Literature and I needed to beef up on the subject of Elizabeth Taylor for it. I was never a huge fan because (a) this was my mother's era and (b) Taylor was on somewhat of downward slide when I first learned about her in the late 1970s. But I've gained a lot of respect for both Taylor and Richard Burton since reading more about them.
So it's come as a bit of surprise to see some natural parallels between Cher and Elizabeth Taylor, especially considering Cher doesn't call out Taylor as a major inspiration like she does Audrey Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn, aside from the obvious references to the movie Cleopatra: Cher's eyeliner methods and Sonny & Cher first calling themselves Caesar and Cleo.
But there are a few other connections I:
- Elizabeth Taylor loved to make big entrances in shows and in life. Many times in books, people mention her "big entrances." This might go back to the biggest entrance of all in Cleopatra.
- She pushed some fashion envelopes. See above. The big headdress screamed Cher when I saw it in one book. The second book I picked up even calls it out. 2.b Costume Changes: apparently Taylor broke a record for most costume changes in a movie with Cleopatra, a record eventually broken by Julie Andrews.
- Elizabeth Taylor embraced the good and the bad about being famous and was able to cope with it. Cher often expresses the same kind of ambivalence but not bitterness about having to deal with mobs and the wheels of show biz.
I didn't find a lot of Cher-Taylor mashups online but Cher did appear at Taylor's televised 68th birthday bash. See the photo below of Taylor and Michael Jackson clapping to Cher's comments.
And here's a link to a 60s-era photo of Sonny, Cher and Taylor.
Interestingly, the tabloids were also trying to get rumors going about an affair between Cher and Richard Burton, which seems funny in retrospect.
And in 1969: