Famed Italian director Franco Zeffirelli worked with Elizabeth Taylor, and was also a longtime friend. Here are his reflections on the death of the legendary American actress at the age of 79.
People like Liz no longer exist. With her passing, the sun has set on that image of the unforgettable diva. Today, we are witnessing a vertiginous descent in the quality of public personalities, in every field: you just don't find people like her anymore in an age where breaking through is so much harder, where certain kinds of films no longer get made, and fairy tales don't come true.
Liz was born a star, a major league star, on screen, but also in life. When she appeared, she immediately captured the attention of everyone, a unique woman who left a deep mark over many years in the history of global show business.
I was lucky enough to know her well. We worked together on two films (Taming of the Shrew, 1967; Toscanini, 1988), and we became very good friends. She possessed a winning mix of rare qualities -- beauty, intelligence, talent – that made her the diva she was and could provoke a certain kind of embarrassment in those who met her.
She also had a great sense of freedom, so she could allow herself, in times very different from those of today, seven husbands and eight marriages. As a friend, she was formidable, witty, cheerful; we loved the same things, had great fun together, and shared the same taste in making fun of others. If someone fell down in our web, we were capable of tormenting them for days on end. Between us, there was a great understanding, we would call each other often, exchanging confessions and allowing each others' outbursts.
On the set, she paid incredibly close attention in what she did and said, always with the desire that everything was absolutely perfect. Among her best films there is definitely "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." She was also very careful with the press and the manner in which news of her was communicated. The last time I saw her was in Los Angeles last year, and had talked to her by phone since then. I am deeply saddened, and sorry to hear how much she suffered. All of us are destined to disappear from the scene, but she was inimitable, and her passing will leave a huge void.
Read the original article in Italian