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Elizabeth Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Ordinarily, readers might question the logic of a new tome on a celebrity who already has at least six full-length biographies (and four self-penned books) devoted to her life, but Elizabeth Taylor has never been ordinary. Readers will easily understand why tabloids have chronicled her escapades for six decades: her roller-coaster life could easily read like a high-sheen soap opera (the eight marriages, two Oscars, suicide attempts and innumerable life-threatening illnesses that led to years of alcohol and prescription drug addiction before she became the first celebrity to check into the Betty Ford Clinic). But Taraborrelli, a sympathetic biographer, rescues the subject by looking for psychological and emotional motives behind her actions. Taraborrelli can be overprotective of Taylor (he notes her reviews for Cleopatra were "so vicious that they are not even worth memorializing here") but more often, he's a superb storyteller who is also an enthusiastic fan. The book is a fitting tribute to a woman who has lived and loved with abandon but who found real passion and purpose when she embraced AIDS activism in 1985, helping to destigmatize the disease and creating her own AIDS foundation. Taraborrelli's chatty prose (and bite-size chapters) perfectly complement Taylor's glamorous life of highs and lows to create an irresistible and inspiring tale. Photos not seen by PW. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The breathtaking photograph on this book's cover makes it clear why no one will ever forget Elizabeth Taylor. And if her sheer beauty isn't enough, there are the details of her wild, flamboyant, and excruciatingly painful life. Taraborrelli, known for his unauthorized biographies of such celebrities as Diana Ross and Princess Grace, has done his research (or from his acknowledgments, his researchers have done their research). Certainly, there are what seem like fresh tibits of information here from a wide variety of surprising sources--family friends, guests at the Taylor-Nicky Hilton wedding (her first), and even Debbie Reynolds, from whom Elizabeth stole Eddie Fisher. But the saga of Elizabeth Taylor is practically myth at this point, so it's hard to add anything new except around the edges. Moreover, Taylor has written two autobiographies of her own, and without the cooperation of so many key figures--Taylor herself, her children, Sybil Burton--Taraborrelli isn't able to generate any insider feel to his account. (He does thank Taylor for not actively deterring people from speaking to him.) Still, despite all those built-in shortcomings, it's hard not to keep turning pages when the story you're reading is so filled with larger-than-life loves, scandals, tragedies, and, of course, stars, stars, stars. As with Lee Server's recent Ava Gardner (2006), Taraborrelli's take on Liz reminds us what movie stardom is all about. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (July 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044640036X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446400367
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J. RANDY TARABORRELLI is the author of 18 biographies, 14 of which went on to become New York Times' best sellers, including: "Call Her Miss Ross," "Sinatra - Behind the Legend," "Madonna - An Intimate Biography," "Jackie, Ethel, Joan - Women of Camelot," "Elizabeth,"(a biography of Elizabeth Taylor); "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe" and "After Camelot - A Personal History of the Kennedy Family 1968 to the Present."

Taraborrelli's best seller, "After Camelot," is presently in production as a miniseries for the ReelzChannel (2016), starring Katie Holmes as Jackie Kennedy Onassis. His previous book about the Kennedys - "Jackie, Ethel, Joan - Women of Camelot" was a highly-rated miniseries for NBC, starring Jill Hennesey as Jackie and Lauren Holly and Ethel. It is available for purchase here on Amazon.

His national best seller, "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe" is the basis of a miniseries of the same name for Lifetime, starring Susan Sarandon, Kelli Garner, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Emily Watson. It airs on May 30 and 31, 2015.

J. Randy's next two books are: an update of his classic Sinatra biography, "Sinatra - Behind the Legend," which will be published in August 2015; and "Becoming Beyonce - The Untold Story" which is the first-ever in-depth biography of the pop star, publishing in October of 2015.

J. Randy Taraborrelli has also worked as a CBS News analyst and is a popular guest on talk and entertainment programs.

The author holds a black belt in the martial art of American Tang Soo Do and a blue belt in Gracie Jiu Jitsu. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M. Alther on September 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have been a fan of Elizabeth Taylor's since I was 8 years old, and still learned more details about her life that I had not known. [...] This book is highly entertaining, well written, and excellent reading for any Elizabeth Taylor fan.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By IssVictorian on January 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
.....this is a wonderful book to begin. I picked up this book not knowing much at all Elizabeth Taylor. After I finished, I felt I knew not about what was written about her in the tabloids but about the real woman that she was/is. The book is written from an objective standpoint and tells the "good and the bad" about a woman who's career spans 5 decades plus. Whether the reader likes her initially or not (based on previous thoughts/beliefs), I recommend this reading to anyone who has any interest in her at all or who just wants to read about a good book about a woman who's seeminly made an inpact on pop culture from decades past to present.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tim Newland on November 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was not a Elizabeth Taylor fan before I read this fascinating book. I was a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the book itself, being rather thick. I wondered if it would hold my attention very long. To my surprise, I was so fascinated by the life of Elizabeth Taylor. She truly has had an amazing life! I was spellbound from the first chapter of this book. I hated to put it down.

This version of her life story really makes you feel as though you actually know Elizabeth Taylor personally. I am now a HUGE fan, and I admire this classy woman so much as a person, void of the Elizabeth Taylor persona she seems to turn on at will. This book brilliantly points out the extremely generous side of one of Hollywood's Living Legends.

Definitely a MUST READ for any Elizabeth Taylor fan, or just a fan of Hollywood reading. You WILL be a fan after reading it!
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Lois Lane on March 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Washington Post got this book right: This is a shallow, gushy, cut-and-paste puff piece posing as biography.

Author J. Randy Taraborrelli seems unable, even with a team of researchers, to quote accurately from the books from which he cribs his material ("Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair With Jewelry," in particular, from which he lifts many anecdotes without attribution).

Taraborrelli's insight, if you can call it that, on Taylor is that she is not too introspective (no!) and that fame corrupts (how deep!).

He gives a superficial account of early Taylor's life. Her childhood and first four marriages whiz by like the unspooling of an outdated filmstrip. Given Taylor's assertion that her father "batted me around a bit," the book's omission of this aspect of her childhood is glaring. As Taylor's life progresses, Taraborrelli adds more detail as source material becomes easier to find. The reader then is treated to all kinds of meaningless vignettes about Taylor's last three marriages, and torturous detail about her recurring addictions and multiplying health problems (though details seem to conflict with other sources).

Taraborrelli gushes over Taylor's beauty, the (questionable) talents of her many spouses, and how miraculously well-adjusted and normal her children are. Some of these descriptions are obsequious enough to induce a cringe. Other descriptions make one wonder just how much research he did for this book. For instance, he never explored references to one of Taylor's sons having joined a cult in his youth, and descriptions elsewhere of her children being dirty and neglected while she drank and partied.

The book makes clear that Taraborrelli or his staff did interview people, probably a lot of people.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If J. Randy Taraborrelli wanted to write a book about Liz and Dick, he should have just cut to the chase and done it. Because that is the only real information of substance in "Elizabeth," a patchy and rehashed biography of the screen legend. In the end, the only people who get any attention are Liz and Dick.

Elizabeth Taylor was born to the quintessential stage mom, who kept her apart from her father and brother, and turned her into a winsome child star. She was America's sultry, sweet young girl, who married a millionaire playboy -- and divorced him after he abused her.

A string of high-profile husbands immediately followed, and Taylor's image changed from widow to lusty black widow, from international glamour star to a gracious politician's wife. But she had more than marriages in her life -- she also had numerous health problems, overdoses, an addiction to painkillers that led to a stint at the Betty Ford, and finally work as an AIDS rights activist.

Taraborrelli obviously has a lot of enthusiasm for Taylor, but there aren't many facts that haven't beem covered by other books. So he settles for focusing on the lives of certain peripheral characters (such as Francis, Taylor's downtrodden father), and trying to understand Taylor's emotions and motivations throughout the worst times of her life.

Unfortunately, there's still nothing here that is new, and Taraborrelli can't quite keep himself from including items that are of sketchy origin -- they read like he was writing a novel. Her movies are pretty much footnotes, and he tends to skim over the scandals, overdoses and the reasons for some of her divorces -- namely, Taylor's own capriciousness.

Even worse, Taylor's first four husbands are faceless footnotes, even her vibrant soulmate Mike Todd.
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