I'm way off the usual Dilettante territory this evening.
Elizabeth Taylor was so ubiquitous a fixture in the culture that I don't think it ever occurred to me that she would someday, just as real people do, die. I always admired her as an actress, but never having been a 'fan' type, I failed to take the interest in her personal life that many did. That changed many years ago, when she became one of the first major celebrities to put her fame and her heart, as well as her own money and time, into the fight against AIDS, and by doing so literally helped change public perception and attitude about the disease and those suffering from it. Guts and heart and courage---she clearly had them all in spades.
Elizabeth Taylor at an AIDS benefit, Nov 01, 1990
Photo: Kevin Winter/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images